Cicada Mania

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September 23, 2012

The New Forest Cicada Project

Filed under: Cicadetta | England — Dan @ 4:56 pm

I mentioned the New Forest Cicada a few weeks ago. It is the only cicada native to the United Kingdom, but no one has observed it since 2000, so it might be extinct. I hope it is not extinct.

Now there is a team of researchers called The New Forest Cicada Project who plan to use a smartphone app, for your Android or iOS device, to listen for and identify the cicada.

Do you live in England? Are you in the area of the New Forest National Park? If so, make sure you download the app when it’s ready and then next May-July, go listening for the New Forest cicada.

This story was also mentioned in a Guardian UK article.

August 27, 2012

New Forest cicada (Cicadetta montana)

Filed under: Cicadetta | England — Dan @ 4:17 pm

There is only one type of cicada in the United Kingdom, and it is called the New Forest cicada (Cicadetta montana). It is named for the New Forest National Park, where these cicadas can be found in the pasture woodlands. It is both rare and endangered, according to this FAQ, however, according to another website, it might be extinct. It sounds like a small gas motor (in my opinion).

The website ARKive has Five videos of the New Forest cicada, including one featuring cicada larvae still in a tree branch.

Cicadas belonging to the Genus Cicadetta are known as “small grass cicadas”. The New Forest cicada belongs to the same subfamily (Subfamily Cicadettinae) as the Magicicada periodical cicadas that live in the U.S.A.

August 21, 2012

Cicada Mania News

Filed under: Cicada Mania | Pop Culture — Dan @ 7:53 am

Saturday the BBC stopped by Cicada Mania headquarters to interview me for a Periodical Cicada episode of their show Nature’s Weirdest. The episode will also feature Dr. Gene Kristsky, and other cicada experts. The show will air in January, and hopefully end up on NetFlix, BBC America or YouTube sometime after that. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b019f6kv Here’s a photo of the amazing crew that interviewed me:

BBC film crew

Also, my friends David and Claire gave me this very nice cicada whistle from Peru:

Cicada Whistle

August 13, 2012

A Neotibicen tibicen (chloromera) singing

Filed under: Annual | Neotibicen | Tibicen | Video — Tags: — Dan @ 7:41 am

The trees near where I work are chocked full of Tibicen tibicen cicadas (formerly known as T. chloromera, also known as Swamp cicadas).

Here is a short video featuring the call of a Tibicen tibicen that I recorded this morning:

Here’s a sound file of the cicada’s song…

August 12, 2012

Neotibicen canicularis – Dog Star Rising

Filed under: Annual | Neotibicen — Tags: , , — Dan @ 9:34 am

Mid-August is approaching, and the “Dog Days” of summer are almost here. Sirius (the Dog Star) and the constellation Canis Major will soon begin to appear in the early morning sky. Now is also the time that Tibicen canicularis, the Dog Day Day cicada, is also making its presence known in the U.S.A.

Edit: Dog-day cicadas (Neotibicen) are named for the time of year when the Dog-start Sirius first appears in the sky. Depending on where you are in the U.S., latitudinally speaking, Sirius should enter the pre-dawn sky between July 29th (Key West, FL) and August 15th (Bangor Maine) give or take a day.

This is a photo of a N. canicularis (Dog Day cicada) next to a T. davisi (Southern Dog Day cicada) by by Paul Krombholz:
Neotibicen davisi & canicularis by Paul Krombholz

N. canicularis has a green pronotal collar, green markings on its pronotum, and at least some, if not all, orange colors on its mesonotum (where the M is on the cicada’s back). N. canicularis sounds like (to me at least) a circular saw buzzing through a plank in wood in a neighbor’s garage.

Imagine that you are a farmer waking just before dawn and seeing the first signs of Sirius, the Dog Star, and then later in the day, hearing N. canicularis singing away in the trees surrounding your fields. Those two signs signal that summer is reaching its peak, and harvest will start soon enough.

N. canicularis can be found in the following states and provinces: AR, CT, DC, IL, IN, IA, KS, ME, MB, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NB, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, NS, OH, ON, PA, PE, QC, RI, SC, SD, TN, VT, VA, WV, WI.

Here is a screen capture of the computer app Stellarium, with Canis Major and Sirius rising above the horizon before dawn.

Sirius rising

If you’re interested in stars, check out Stellarium. It is free.

Visit the Songs of Insects site for a nice photo and sound file of the Dog Day cicada. Also by their book Songs of Insects – it is inexpensive and comes with a CD.

August 5, 2012

Cicada Killer Wasps Are Busy Killing Cicadas

Filed under: Cicada Killer Wasps | Video — Dan @ 9:39 am

If you’re in North America in mid to late summer, you might notice an abundance of large black and yellow wasps flying around your yard or local park. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll spot one of these wasps with a chubby green, black & white Tibicen cicada in its grasp.

Cicada Killer Wasp on Elias' Finger

These wasps are appropriately named Cicada Killer Wasps. There are many species of Cicada Killer Wasps, but the most well known is the Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp (Sphecius speciosus). These wasps paralyze and bring the cicadas to their burrow, where the cicada is used as food for a Cicada Killer Wasp larvae. The best Cicada Killer Wasp resource on the web is Prof. Chuck Holliday’s Biology of cicada killer wasps. If you’re interested in these wasps, visit Prof. Holiday’s site now.

People fear these wasps because they are large and we tend to fear stinging insects, but truthfully these wasps are not interested in stinging people — they are interested in stinging cicadas. Unlike more aggressive species of stinging insects, Cicada Killer Wasps will probably only sting you if you step on, harass or otherwise physically contact the creature. If you don’t want to be stung, don’t harass the wasps. Not need to panic. No need to bomb your local environment with pesticides.

Take a look at this stunning picture of a Cicada Killer Wasp holding a cicada while perched on Elias Bonaros’ finger. Neither Elias or the wasp was harmed. The cicada was harmed and likely eaten by a wasp larva.

Update:

Elias recorded this footage of a Cicada Killer “mating ball”. If you weren’t terrified by the image of the Cicada Killer clutching the Tibicen on Elias’ finger wasn’t scary enough, check this out:

Another video of a Cicada Killer Wasp

Cicada Killer from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Cicadas of Canada

Filed under: Annual | Canada — Dan @ 9:01 am

Someone recently asked which cicadas live in the Toronto area in Canada. Here are links to three such cicadas:

Okanagana canadensis (Canadian cicada)
http://bugguide.net/node/view/202488
http://www.musicofnature.org/songsofinsects/iframes/cicadas/popup_okancana.html

Okanagana rimosa (Say’s cicada)
http://bugguide.net/node/view/41209
http://www.musicofnature.org/songsofinsects/iframes/cicadas/popup_okanrimo.html

Tibicen canicularis (Dog-day cicada)
http://bugguide.net/node/view/12461
http://www.musicofnature.org/songsofinsects/iframes/cicadas/popup_tibicann.html

June 10, 2012

Various cicada species emerging in the United States

Filed under: Cacama | Neocicada | Neotibicen | Okanagana | Platypedia — Tags: , — Dan @ 8:11 am

Brood I Magicicada periodical cicadas continue to emerge in VA, WA and TN. Magicicada stragglers belonging to other broods, continue to emerge as well.

Neocicada hieroglyphica are around as well, particularly in Florida [link goes to image].

Neocicada hieroglyphica by Joe Green, 2007
Neocicada hieroglyphica by Joe Green, 2007.

Cicadas belonging to the genus Cacama (Cactus Dodgers), including the Cacama valvata are emerging in south-western states like New Mexico and Arizona [link goes to image].

Cacama valvata cicada photos by Adam Fleishman
Cacama valvata cicada photos by Adam Fleishman

Cicadas belonging to the genus Tibicen are emerging in warmer areas of the United States. Joe Green found a Tibicen tibicen (possibly Tibicen tibicen australis [see Insect Singers site for song and description]) in Florida. Tibicen superbus [image] are emerging in Southern states as well.

Neotibicen superbus from Texas photo by Roy Troutman
Neotibicen superbus from Texas photo by Roy Troutman.

Cicadas belonging to the genus Platypedia are emerging in Califorina [link goes to image]. See also Hello, my tree is clicking.

Cicadas belonging to the genus Okanagana are emerging in California [link goes to image].

May 25, 2012

Finally: a Working Lucky Cicada Keychain

Filed under: Lucky Cicada Key Chain | Video — Dan @ 3:28 pm

Folks who have followed this website for the past 16 years (there are a few who have) know about the Lucky Cicada Keychain, and how I’ve been looking for a working model for the past 16 or so years. I finally have one now. I had to pry it open and replace the batteries (should have used a 192, but I used a 392 instead), but it works. Here’s a video so you can see what it looks and sounds like.

Thee Legendary Lucky Cicada Keychain from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

May 20, 2012

Ways to enjoy a periodical cicada emergence

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 12:30 am

Amazing things people do to celebrate a cicada emergence

cicada ice cream

Cicada Snacking. Probably the most unexpected thing people do during a periodical cicada emergence is eat them. Ice cream parlors have made cicada ice cream, pizza parlors have advertised cicada pizza, and people have created cicada recipe books. People and pets enjoy eating them; so do fish, so if you’re a fisherman, you can use them as bait. Would you eat a cicada? Maybe with BBQ Sauce?

Songs about cicadas. Over the years many artists have recorded songs about cicadas. There’s a music compilation called 17-Year Itch featuring songs about periodical cicadas…

… recently a musician called Dr. Chordate wrote a song called Periodic Cicadas. Would you write a song about a periodical cicada emergence?

Make some cicada arts and crafts. There are an amazing array of cicada arts and crafts for sale on Etsy, including jewelry, clothes, paintings, sculptures, and stationary. Would you make some cicada artwork? Would you sell it online? A lot of people have written books about cicadas. Would you write a poem, story, or an entire book about cicadas?

Cicada Activities

Report your cicada sightings to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) so they can add your cicadas to their maps.

Don’t forget to photograph and video cicadas, and share them on Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo. Blog or Tweet about your cicada experiences, and don’t forget to let us know about your cicadas on Twitter @cicadamania or Facebook.

You can try one of these cicada experiments and projects including, searching for rare white or blue-eyed cicadas, documenting a cicada’s life cycle, or keeping a cicada in captivity.

You can color a cicada with crayons or markers (PDF), or just draw your own.

Don’t forget to collect some cicadas and cicada parts. You can preserve cicadas a number of ways. You can preserve them in Lucite for an interesting paper weight. You can pin and mount cicadas; here is a how to article for pinning cicadas. Cicada wings and nymph skins don’t need preservatives. I keep them in small, magnifying boxes:

cicada skins in a box


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