Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

April 3, 2013

Cicada “Crowdsourcing”

Filed under: Brood II | Community Science | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 5:40 am

What is crowdsourcing? Here is what the Wikipedia says:

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. Often used to subdivide tedious work or to fund-raise startup companies and charities, this process can occur both online and offline.

There are two prominent cicada crowdsourcing efforts you can take part in!

First, there is the Cicada Tracker project:

The group Radiolab is hoping you’ll build what they call a cicada tracker. A cicada tracker will measure the temperature of the soil and report that back to Radiolab, to help estimate the arrival of the cicadas. Here is a short video about the project:

The Cicadas Are Coming! from Radiolab on Vimeo.

Throughout April there will be events where you can get to together with other cicada enthusiasts, and build cicada trackers. See their website for more details.

Second, there is Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org).

Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) is a website where you can report and map cicada emergences in your area. I strongly suggest that everyone visits that site to report their cicada sightings. Your reports will be used to build new and better maps of the periodical cicada populations in the U.S.A.

When you visit their site, look for this icon, click it and enter your report:

Report Icon

Information needed for the report include the location (GPS coordinates, or simple street address), and what you observed: was it a nymph or adult, how many were there, etc. I think they’ll even have a Google maps interface to help you locate your sighting.

Periodical cicada Brood XIV (14) will emerge in 2025 in Thirteen States

Filed under: Brood XIV | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Periodical cicada Brood XIV (14) will emerge in the spring of 2025 in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia. The last time this brood emerged was in 2008.

What, when, where:

What:

  • Millions of these:
    Adult, Nymph Molting
  • Cicada insects with a 17-year life cycle.
  • Some people call them “locusts” but they’re really cicadas.
  • Which species: All three 17-year species, Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula. How to tell the difference between the species.
  • NOT the green ones that arrive annually.

When: Typically beginning in mid-May and ending in late June. These cicadas will begin to emerge approximately when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice, warm rain will often trigger an emergence.

Other tips: these cicadas will emerge after the trees have grown leaves, and, by my own observation, around the same time Iris flowers bloom.

Where:

  • Georgia counties: Fannin, Lumpkin, Rabun, Union
  • Indiana counties: Crawford, Harrison, Perry
  • Kentucky counties: Anderson, Barren, Bath, Bell, Bourbon, Boyd, Bracken, Campbell, Carter, Clinton, Edmonson, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Grant, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, LaRue, Laurel, Leslie, Madison, Montgomery, Nelson, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pulaski, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Whitley
  • Massachusetts counties: Barnstable, Plymouth
  • Maryland counties: Allegany, Washington
  • North Carolina counties: Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Henderson, McDowell, Mitchell, Wilkes
  • New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Camden, Ocean (NJ records are from older literature).
  • New York counties: Nassau, Suffolk
  • Ohio counties: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Gallia, Hamilton, Highland, Ross, Warren
  • Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Berks, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union
  • Tennessee counties: Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Cheatham, Claiborne, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, Grainger, Grundy, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Marion, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Sevier, Sumner, Williamson
  • Virginia counties: Botetourt, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Wise
  • West Virginia counties: Cabell, Kanawha, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, Wyoming

More Location Tips:

More facts and fun:

1907 Map Marlatt, C.L.. 1907. The periodical cicada. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology.

Marlatt 1907 14 Brood XIV

A more modern map made by Roy Troutman:

Brood XIV Map by Roy Troutman

Periodical cicada Brood XIX (19) will emerge in 2024 in Fifteen States

Filed under: Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Periodical cicada Brood XIX (19) will emerge in the spring of 2024 in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The last time Brood XIX emerged was in 2011.

Special note: Brood XIII will also emerge in 2024. While the two broods do not overlap, they come closest in the Springfield, Illinois area.

What, when, where, and why:

What:

Millions of these cicadas:
Adult, Nymph, Molting Cicada

  • Cicada insects with a 13-year life cycle.
  • Some people call them “locusts” but they are really cicadas. (Locusts are grasshoppers.)
  • Which species: All four 13-year species:
    • Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley, 2000. Range includes: AR, IL, IN, KY MO, & OK.
    • Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868). Range includes: AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN & VA
    • Magicicada tredecassini Alexander and Moore, 1962
    • Magicicada tredecula Alexander and Moore, 1962
  • NOT the green cicadas that arrive annually.

Brood XIX has a 13-year cycle. It is interesting because it features both Magicicada neotredecim and Magicicada tredecim. These cicadas are very similar in song and appearance, but in areas where they overlap, Magicicada neotredecim alters its song to a higher pitch, which allows female cicadas to determine the species of their prospective mates. Visit Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) for more info on this behavior.

M. tredecim also have more orange on their abdomen than M. neotredecim.
Compare 13 year decims

When: Typically beginning in mid-May and ending in late June. These cicadas will begin to emerge approximately when the soil 8 inches beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice, warm rain will often trigger an emergence.

Other tips: these cicadas will emerge after the trees have grown leaves, and, by my own observation, around the same time Iris flowers bloom.

Where:

Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) has the most up to date maps.

  1. Alabama counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Choctaw, Clarke, Crenshaw, Elmore, Etowah, Greene, Lawrence, Limestone, Lowndes, Monroe, Montgomery, Russell, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Wilcox
  2. Arkansas counties: Boone, Futon, Howard, Izard, Lawrence, Marion, Montgomery, Pike, Scott, Searcy, Sevier, Sharp, Washington, Yell
  3. Georgia counties: Bibb, Bleckley, Butts, Columbia, Elbert, Greene, Harris, Houston, Jasper, McDuffie, Monroe, Muscogee, Oconee, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Richmond, Stephens, Taliaferro, Troup, Waren, Wilkes
  4. Illinois counties: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Cumberland, De Witt, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hancock, Iroquois, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Moultrie, Pike, Pope, Saline, Shelby, Vermillion, Washington, Williamson
  5. Indiana counties: Posey
  6. Kentucky counties: Allen, Caldwell, Christian, Trigg
  7. Louisiana parishes: Caddo, Claiborne, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Washington, Webster. Parish information comes from older literature, and might not be as accurate as recent information.
  8. Maryland counties: St Marys
  9. Missouri counties: Adair, Boone, Callaway, Carter, Clark, Cooper, Dent, iron, Jackson, Knox, Louis, Lincoln, Macon, Maries, Marion, Montgomery, Morgan, Oregon, Osage, Pettis, Phelps, Ralls, Reynolds, St. Carles, St Francois, St Louis
  10. Mississippi counties: Kemper, Newton
  11. North Carolina counties: Buncombe, Cabarrus, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Randolph, Rowan, Stanly, Union
  12. Oklahoma counties: McCurtain
  13. South Carolina counties: Aiken, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Edgefield, Lancaster, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Union, York
  14. Tennessee counties: Blount, Cheatham, Clay, Davidson, Grundy, Hamilton, Jackson, Loudon, Macon, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Putnam, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Smith, Stewart, Summer
  15. Virginia counties: Caroline, Glouchester, Halifax, James City, King and Queen, King William, Middlesex, New Kent, York

More Location Tips:

Why: Why do they stay underground for 13-years? The prevailing research suggests they’ve evolved a long, 13-year lifecycle allowing them to avoid predators that would sync up with their lifecycle & emergence. Why are there so many?! Research suggests that their huge numbers allow them to overwhelm predators, so enough of them will live on to breed and perpetuate the brood.

More facts and fun:

1907 Map from Marlatt, C.L.. 1907. The periodical cicada. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology.

See a modern map, or the Live Map from the Cicada Safari app.
Marlatt 1907 19 Brood XIX

What happened in 2011? Here’s some old blog posts with comments:

What happened in 1998? Here’s our message board from then:

  1. Cicada Mail from June 1998
  2. Cicada Mail from May 1999

April 2, 2013

The most interesting 17 year cicada facts

The next major emergences are Brood XIII (17-year) and Brood XIX (13-year) in 2024. The last time these broods co-emerged was 1803.

If you have 18 minutes to spare, watch the video version of this article. Or save 18 minutes and just read it:

These are the 17 most interesting 17-year cicada facts (IMHO). All these facts apply to 13-year cicadas as well. Brood IX will emerge in 2020 in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Report 17-year cicada sightings using the Cicada Safari app available for Android and Apple devices.

  1. Names: People call these cicadas “locusts” but they are not true locusts — real locusts look like grasshoppers. The phrase “17 year cicada” indicates that they arrive every 17 years. The name “periodical cicadas” indicates that they arrive periodically and not each and every year. The scientific name for the Genus of these cicadas is Magicicada, and there are 3 types of 17 year Magicicadas: Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula. This is a true locust:
    Locust
  2. There are 13-year cicadas too: there are 13 year cicadas too! There are four species of 13-year cicadas: Magicicada tredecim, Magicicada neotredecim, Magicicada tredecassini, and Magicicada tredecula. Broods XIX, XXII and XXIII feature these cicadas.

    Here’s a video that will help you identify the various species.

  3. Eye Color: Most 17 Year Cicadas have red eyes, but they can also have white, gray, blue , or multi-colored eyes
    White Eyed Cicada
  4. Fungus: The Massospora fungus infects Magicicadas, filling their abdomens and destroying their ability to reproduce. Often, their entire abdomen will fall off. The cicadas actually spread the fungus throughout their local colony via mating — the Massospora fungus is a cicada STD!
    Fungus
  5. They’ll attack land on you if you’re using a power tool or lawn mower. Cicadas think the sounds made by power tools and lawn maintenance equipment are made by cicadas. They get confused and will land on the people using the equipment! Pro-tip: cut your lawn in the early morning or near dusk when the cicadas are less active.
    Cicadas on Man
  6. Cicadas have five eyes: Cicadas have two, obvious, large, compound eyes, and three ocelli. Ocelli are three jewel-like eyes situated between the two main, compound eyes of a cicada. We believe ocelli are used to detect light and darkness. Ocelli means little eyes in Latin.
    5 eyes.
  7. People eat them: People eat them. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There, uh, cicada kabobs, cicada creole, cicada gumbo, panfried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple cicada, lemon cicada, coconut cicada, pepper cicada, cicada soup, cicada stew, cicada salad, cicada and potatoes, cicada burger, cicada sandwich… that’s, that’s about it.
    Cicada Ice Cream
  8. Animals eat them: all wild animals and domestic pets will eat them. Dogs will gorge themselves until they choke. Squirrels will eat them like corn on the cob. Wild turkeys will grow fat and juicy on the cicada feast. Fish go crazy for them too — you can use them as bait, or use lures that mimic them.
  9. Cicadas “eat” tree fluids: Cicadas don’t eat solid foods — instead they use their slender, straw-like mouth parts to drink tree fluids.
  10. Cicadas pee: Yes cicadas pee, so wear a hat when walking under trees if that sort of thing bothers you. Cicadas drink tree fluids and then expel the excess fluid they do now need. People call it “honeydew” or “cicada rain”.
  11. That cicada sound: Only male cicadas make the sound they’re famous for. Males have organs on their abdomen called tymbals. Muscles pop the tymbals in and out, which creates the sound we hear. Males make different calls for different reasons, and each species has a unique sound. Females can make sound too — they flick their wings to respond to males. Read this article for more information.
    tymbals
  12. There are billions of them: there are literally billions of 17 year cicadas. Why? One theory suggests that a large number of cicadas overwhelms predators, so predators are never able to eat them all and cicadas, and many always survive to mate. This is a survival strategy called “predator satiation”.
  13. They damage wimpy trees: the biggest concern about 17-year cicadas is their potential to damage young trees. The truth is they will damage limbs on the wimpiest of trees, so if you have weak, pathetic, wimpy ornamental trees in your yard you should consider placing netting around the trees if the cicadas visit your yard. Also, you can try hosing them off with water, placing insect barrier tape around the trunk of the trees, or picking them off like grapes! Or, plant strong, beefy American trees — that’s what I would do. Cicadas actually benefit the health of trees by aerating the soil around the roots and trimming the weak or damaged limbs.
  14. Stragglers: Periodical cicadas that emerge in years before they are supposed to emerge are called stragglers.
    hipster cicada
  15. 17 and 13 are prime numbers. Scientist speculate that one reason why these cicadas emerge in 17 or 13 year cycles is because those are prime numbers. The fact that 13 & 17 are relatively large* prime numbers makes it difficult for predators to synchronize with them. (*Relative to the average lifespan of an animal.) Annual cicadas (cicadas that arrive every year) often have wasps specialized to prey on them; periodical cicadas have no such wasp because no wasp could evolve to synch with it.
  16. They use their color to warm up: Cicadas need to be warm to sing and fly around, but they’re cold-blooded. Their dark skin absorbs the heat of the sun, which helps to warm them up.
  17. 17 year and 13 year broods co-emerge every 221 years. Cicada Broods usually don’t overlap geographically, and it is very rare when they emerge in the same year. The next time Brood II (the brood emerging in 2013) will co-emerge with another brood will be in 2115 when it co-emerges with Brood XIX. You might need a time machine to see that happen.

Bonus: More information on the morphology of 17 and 13 year cicadas, so you can tell the difference…

Another bonus:

What is the taxonomy of the Magicicada genus?

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Arthropoda (arthropods)
Subphylum: Hexapoda (hexapods)
Class: Insecta (insects)
Subclass: Pterygota (winged insects)
Infraclass: Neoptera (wing-folding insects)
Order: Hemiptera Linnaeus, 1758 (true bugs)
Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha (hoppers)
Infraorder: Cicadomorpha
Superfamily: Cicadoidea
Family: Cicadidae Latreille, 1802 (cicadas)
Subfamily: Cicadettinae Buckton, 1889
Tribe: Taphurini Distant, 1905
Subtribe: Tryellina Moulds, 2005
Genus: Magicicada Davis, 1925

April 1, 2013

Cicada Mania is not shutting down

Filed under: Cicada Mania — Dan @ 9:04 pm

I had my April Fool’s Day fun, except Cicada Mania fans are smart folks and figured it out immediately.

Frenzy of lies!

Also, Hipster Cicada made an appearance:

Hipster Cicada

March 28, 2013

Videos of cicadas molting

Filed under: Exuvia | Video — Dan @ 6:57 pm

When a cicada sheds its nymphal skin, revealing its adult form, we call it ecdysis. You probably call it molting, and that’s just fine.

Here are a bunch of videos of cicadas moulting:

Here is a Magicicada nymph molting (the 17-year variety) by Roy Troutman:

Magicicada nymph molting from Roy Troutman on Vimeo.

Annual cicada molting to an adult by Roy:

Annual cicada molting to an adult from Roy Troutman on Vimeo.

Here is Tibicen moulting by blackpawphoto (YouTube Link):

Here is a video of a Japanese cicada, the Terpnosia nigricosta, moulting by AntoSan09 (YouTube Link):

The 17-Year Itch

Filed under: Cicada Mania — Dan @ 6:29 pm

I’m in the April edition of Wired magazine. Go to your newsstand and buy a stack.

April Wired.

Drymopsalta hobsoni, a newly identified cicada in Australia

Filed under: Australia | News — Dan @ 6:19 pm

Drymopsalta hobsoni is a newly identified cicada found in Australia.

Drymopsalta hobsoni sp. nov. is one of three new species of cicada described this year by Tony Ewart and Lindsay Popple.* Tony and Lindsay had participated in a QPWS fauna survey at Bringalily State Forest, near Inglewood in southern inland Queensland. When returning to the site subsequently for a follow-up cicada search, Tony located the new cicada.

Learn more and see photos of this cicada in Robert Ashdown’s article New summer singers.

March 16, 2013

Tettigarcta tomentosa aka Tasmanian Hairy Cicada

Filed under: Australia | Tettigarcta — Dan @ 2:46 pm

There are two families of cicadas, Cicadidae (most cicadas) and Tettigarctidae (only two species). The two species in the Tettigarctidae family are Tettigarcta crinita, of southern Australia, and Tettigarcta tomentosa, of Tasmania. Cicadas of the family Tettigarctidae have ancestral morphology, similar to fossilized cicadas1. They are known for their hairy appearance.

Here are some morphological differences between the two cicada families:

family Tettigarcta Cicadidae
Tymbal (Makes the cicada’s noise) poorly developed in both sexes well developmed in males
Tympana (listening apparatus) no yes
Pronotum (covers the dorsal area of the thorax) expands over mesonotum ends at pronotal collar
Pronotal collar (separates pronotum from mesonotum) no yes
Cruciform elevation (a cross shaped structure on mesonotum) no yes

1See Allen F. Sanborn’s document Overview of Cicada Morphology for more information.

Here’s a photo of the Tettigarcta tomentosa from different angles (click the image for a closer view):

Tettigarctidae sp.

Tasmanian Hairy Cicada sightings on iNaturalist.

Cicada News for March 2013

Filed under: News — Dan @ 12:06 pm

There’s going to be a lot of cicada news this year, so I’m going to start publishing a regular cicada news feature. Here is a recap of news for March, so far.

Two articles that are getting a lot of buzz:

The 17-Year Cicadas Are Coming in the Business Insider.

The Cicadas Are Coming! Crowdsourcing An Underground Movement on NPR.

Flying salt shakers of death, written by Angie Macias, is an article about the Massospora fungus that attacks cicadas.

Cicadas’ antibacterial trick may help humans, written by Russell McLendon, is an article about how the structure of cicada wings help them defend themselves from bacteria. “Scientists have found tiny spikes on cicada wings that rupture and kill bacterial cells — a disease-fighting strategy that might also work in manmade materials”.

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