Cicada Mania

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August 15, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: F

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 8:43 am

F is for flagging. Flagging is the term for when leaves of a tree die as a result of oviposition (when the cicada lays eggs in the branches of trees).

Photo credit: Daniel Herms, The Ohio State University, (Forestry Images).

The Floury Baker, aka Aleeta curvicosta, is an Australian cicada. It has excellent camouflage, as you can see from the photo:

Floury Baker by Michelle Thompson
Photo credit: Michelle Thompson.

Fidicina is a Genus of cicadae. Here is a photo of a Fidicina mannifera from Brazil:
Fidicina mannifera from Brazil, Photo by Leonardo Milhomem.
Photo by Leonardo Milhomem.

Formotosena is a Genus of cicada. Here is a photo of a Formotosena montivaga from Thailand:
Formotosena montivaga (Distant, 1889)
Photo by Michel Chantraine.

August 11, 2010

Cool new cicada website: Insect Singers

Filed under: David Marshall | Kathy Hill | Sounds — Dan @ 3:29 pm


If you’re interested in North American cicada species, and you’re looking for sound files of those cicada’s songs, check out Insect Singers, a new website from cicada researchers David Marshall and Kathy Hill. It has dozens of audio samples. Awesome!

Insect Singers

August 8, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: E

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:38 pm
  • E is for exuvia. People call them shells, skins, cicada ghosts and a dozen other names, but the proper name for what is left behind when a cicada transforms from a nymph to an adult is an exuvia The plural is exuviae. Also known as Integument.
    Cicada skins
  • Egg slits, aka oviposition slits, are the grooves a female cicada makes in a branch in which she will lay her eggs. Here’s a photo of some egg slits and here’s a photo of eggs in a egg slit. Call them oviposition slits if you’re talking to a scientist.
  • Emergence can refer to:
    1. When the adult cicada emerges from its exuvia
    2. When the nymph emerges from the ground
    3. Best answer: When and where a particular group of cicadas will emerge, for example, “There will be an emergence of Periodical cicadas around May 15th in the Nashville Tennessee area in 2011.”
  • Euterpnosia chibensis is a cicada that exists in Japan. Here are some photos of Euterpnosia chibensis. These cicadas are well known in Japan, and there are 3 sub-species: E. chibensis chibensis, E. chibensis okinawana, and E. chibensis daitoensis. These cicadas look a lot like the North American species Neocicada hieroglyphica.

August 7, 2010

The keychain saga continues

Filed under: Lucky Cicada Key Chain | Toys and Amusements — Dan @ 7:05 am

Thanks for Suzanne M for the scan of the Archie McPhee catalog featuring the amazing cicada keychain.

Lucky Cicada Toy Advert

I actually finally found one of these thanks to a family member.

August 4, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: D

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:39 am

D is for Dog-Day Cicada. The Tibicen canicularis, aka Dog-Day Cicada, is thought to be known as the Dog-Day Cicada because they are most active during the “dog days of summer”, which are the days when the star Sirius is visible in the Northern Hemishphere (July 3-August 11)1. Canicularis is derived from the Latin word canis, which means dog. Tibicen davisi is known as the Southern Dog-Day Cicada. Folks use the term “Dog-Day Cicada” for other species of Tibicen as well, but the T. canicularis the true Dog-Day Cicada.

Image of a N. canicularis (on the left) and N. davisi by Paul Krombholz:
Neotibicen davisi & canicularis by Paul Krombholz

Diceroprocta is a genus of cicadas that exist in North America.

Diemeniana euronotiana is a pretty black, orange and red cicada that exists in south-eastern coastal area of Australia2. See a photo of a Diemeniana euronotiana.

The Double Drummer aka Thopha saccata is an Australian cicada. It exists on the east coast of Australia and prefers eucalyptus trees2. The Double Drummer is a large cicada, as you can see from this photo.

Dundubia is a genus of cicada that exists in Asia. See a photo of a disected Dundbia on Cicada Mania.

  1. Dog Days
  2. Australian Cicadas by M.S. Moulds.

August 1, 2010

What’s in a name?

Filed under: Tibicen — Dan @ 5:57 pm

We’ve discussed, in previous posts, issues with the naming of Tibicen cicadas; first there were gender agreement issues and then the naming of Tibicen tibicen cicadas (which most people still refer to as Tibicen chloromera).

The gender issue deals with agreement of the Genus and species name. Tibicen superba, for instance, should be called Tibicen superbus since the “en” in Tibicen is male, and the ending of suberbus needs to match that with “us”.

Quoting from Bug Guide1:

“All the —a endings in the species of Tibicen need to be —us, e.g. bifida should be bifidus”, per Allen Sanborn (Barry University, Florida), pers. comm., 2008. (Note, many taxonomists working on larger groups, e.g. leps, have abandoned gender agreement, but apparently this isn’t the case with Cicadas. MQ)

The story for Tibicen chloromera is a bit different. First, chloromera needed to be changed to chloromerus because of the gender agreement issue. Then that had to be changed to Tibicen tibicen because historically this particular cicada was referred to as Tibicen tibicen before Tibicen chloromera. This could be changed, if someone found a precedent of the insect being called a Tibicen chloromera, but then still we’d have to call it a Tibicen chloromerus because of the gender agreement issue.

Quoting from Bug Guide again2:

The long-standing name for this common species, Tibicen chlormera, has apparently been changed to Tibicen tibicen based on priority. See Synonyms and references. –Cotinis 17 October 2008.

That being said, most folks on the web call the Tibicen tibicen “Tibicen chloromera” to this day. Whether this is an act of rebellion, force of habit, loyalty to other researchers who don’t agree with the name change, I’m not sure.

Taxonomic name changes discussed, lets move to common Tibicen names.

Our last post featured Elias Bonaros photo of a Tibicen auletes, which I labeled a Scissor-grinder, a common name for the insect — or so I thought. Elias was quick to point out that other resources call another cicada, the Tibicen pruinosus, a Scissor-grinder. Elias is no slouch when it comes to cicada information, and he has correctly corrected me in the past in mistakes I’ve made, but I needed to figure out where i got my possibly erroneous information from.

Bug Guide calles the T. auletes a Scissor-grinder3 as well as Northern Dusk-singing cicada, as does another IOWA State website4.

University of Florida scientists/researchers, on the other hand, call the Tibicen pruinosus5 a Scissor-grinder as does the Song of Insects6 website. The University of Florida document doesn’t provide a common name for T. auletes, but the Song of Insects site refers to them as Northern Dusk-singing Cicadas.

So… any tie breakers out there? It could be that in the South the T. pruinosus is the Scissor-grinder and in the Mid-west it’s the T. auletes.

Here’s my list of references:

  1. Genus Tibicen
  2. Species Tibicen tibicen
  3. Species Tibicen auletes – Scissor-grinder
  4. What is a Locust
  5. Cicadas (of Florida), Neocicada hieroglyphica (Say), Tibicen, Diceroprocta and Melampsalta spp. (Insecta: Hemiptera: Cicadidae)
  6. Song of Insects

July 28, 2010

Tibicen auletes aka Northern Dusk-singing Cicada

Filed under: Elias Bonaros | Megatibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 9:01 pm

New Tibicen auletes photos from Elias Bonaros.

The Tibicen auletes aka Northern Dusk-singing Cicada is the largest of the Tibicen cicadas in the U.S.A.

Auletes by Elias

July 17, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: C

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:11 am

C is for Cicada Killer Wasp. The Cicada Killer Wasp (in North America, Sphecius speciosus) is a large wasp, which captures adult cicadas, paralyzes them, places them in a burrow, and then lays an egg on them. The cicada dies as it is consumed by the developing wasp larvae. If you want to learn more about these wasps, visit Prof. Chuck Holiday’s Cicada Killer Wasp Website.

As you might guess from Elias Bonaros’ photo, Cicada Killer Wasps are less aggressive towards humans than other wasps, however, we do not recommend approaching them, particularly, if you are a cicada.

Cicada Killer Wasp and Neotibicen tibicen

More (lots more):

Cacama valvata is a species of cicada found in the South-Western United States.
Cacama valvata
Cacama valvata photo by Adam Fleishman.

The Canadian Cicada, aka Okanagana canadensis, is a species of cicada found in Canada.

The Carineta diardi is arguably the most beautiful cicada of all. C. diardi exist in Brazil. Their black, red, green bodies and yellow tinted wings are amazing to behold.
Carineta diardi photo by Pia Öberg taken in Brazil
Photo by Pia Öberg.

A chimney (aka a turret) is a chimney-like structure that a cicada builds above the hole it will emerge from when it’s ready to become an adult. Cicada researchers look for chimneys to get an idea where cicadas will emerge.

Cicadetta calliope (formerly Melampsalta calliope) is a species of cicada found in the South-Eastern United States. It is rust-orange and black, and its eyes are a pretty rose color.
Cicadettana calliope photo taken by Paul Krombholz
Photo by Paul Krombholz.

The clypeus is that bulbous structure on the cicada’s head that looks like it could be the cicada’s nose or the grill of a 1950’s automobile. The clypeus holds the muscles the cicada uses to pump plant fluids through its needle-like beak and to its digestive system. Clypeus means shield in Latin.

John Cooley is one of the premier cicada researchers working today. Visit John’s site Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly, which is dedicated to re-mapping the location of Magicicada broods.

The cruciform elevation is a cross-shaped structure on the dorsal posterior portion of a cicada’s thorax:

Cryptotympana is a genius of cicadas which exist in Asian countries like Thailand. Cryptotympana mandarina. Michel chantraine.
Photo by Michel Chantraine.

July 15, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: B

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 10:29 pm

B is for Brood. Here’s the basics:

Marlatt 1907 10 Brood X Magicicada cicadas are American periodical cicadas that have 17 or 13 year life cycles. There are 12 groups of Magicicadas with 17 year life cycles, and 3 groups of Magicicadas with 13 year life cycles. Each of these groups emerge in a specific series of years, rarely overlapping (17 year groups co-emerge every 289 years). Each of these groups emerge in the same geographic area their parents emerged. These groups, each assigned a specific Roman numeral, are called broods.

Two examples:

Brood X (X is the Roman numeral for 10), emerges every 17 years, in DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, & WV. The last time Brood X emerged was in 2004, and it will emerge again in 2021.

Brood XIX (19) emerges every 13 years, in AL, AR, GA, IN, IL, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, VA. The last time Brood XIX emerged was 1998, and it will emerge next in 2011 (NEXT YEAR)!

When is the next Brood emerging in your area? Consult the Brood Chart.

I’ve only scraped the surface about the who, why, when, where and how of Broods. If you want to learn more I highly recommend Gene Kritsky’s book Periodical Cicadas: The Plague and the Puzzle. There are also online resources such as Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly, which has updated brood maps, and Cicada Central.

More cicada alphabet:

  • The Bagpipe Cicada, aka Lembeja paradoxa, is an Australian cicada known for its huge, bag-like abdomen. Here is a photo of the amazing Bagpipe Cicada. You can find this cicada in North-Eastern Australia.
  • The beak or rostrum of a cicada is the structure cicadas to pierce plants and drink the plant fluids:

  • Blue Moon cicadas exist in Australia and belong to the species Cyclochila australasiae. The interesting thing about Blue Moons is that they’re blue because they lack the yellow pigment necessary to make them green. When they’re green they’re called Green Grocers. Here is a gorgeous photo of a Blue Moon.
  • Cystosoma saundersii aka Bladder Cicada is a species of Australian cicada known for its large, green abdomen. See a photo of of a C. saundersii and behold its bladder-like belly.
  • Gerry Bunker is a cicada researcher and owner of the content-rich Massachusetts Cicadas website, and the Entomology – Cicadidae Yahoo! Group.
  • The Bush Cicada aka Tibicen dorsatus (formerly Tibicen dorsata) is an annual cicada that exists primarily in the Mid-West. Here’s a few Bush Cicada photos. This cicada is aka Giant Grassland Cicada and Golden Annual Cicada. Visit the Annual Cicadas of Arkansas site for more information.

July 12, 2010

Cicada Alphabet: A

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 7:47 pm

A is for antennae. Cicadae antennae are situated between their eyes and their clypeus. Insects use their antennae to smell and sense touch, temperature, and vibration.


Abricta curvicosta: The Abricta curvicosta is an Australian cicada also known as the Floury Baker (because its abdomen appears to be floury). You can find this cicada in eastern Australia. Here’s a photo of an A. curvicosta:
Floury Baker by Michelle Thompson
Floury Baker by Michelle Thompson.

Visit Brisbane cicadas for more photos, information and audio.

Ambragaeana ambra: The Ambragaeana ambra is a cicada that can be found in Thailand. This cicada has remarkable brown, yellow, orange and black colored wings. Here’s a photo of an Ambragaeana ambra:
ambragaeana ambra photo by Michel Chantraine
Ambragaeana ambra photo by Michel Chantraine.

Angamiana floridula: The Angamiana floridula is a cicada that can be found in Thailand. This cicada has orange, brown & cream colored wings. Here’s a photo of an Angamiana floridula.
angamiana floridula photo by Michel Chantraine
Angamiana floridula photo by Michel Chantraine.

Arunta perulata: The Arunta perulata is an Australian cicada also know as the White Drummer. This cicada can be found in eastern Australia. They’re known for their pronounced sack-like tymbal covers (the white drums?). Here’s a photo of an Arunta perulata:
White Drummer cicada (Arunta perulata). Photo by David Emery.
White Drummer cicada (Arunta perulata). Photo by David Emery.

Visit the CSIRO website for more information and an illustration.

Ayuthia spectabile: The Ayuthia spectabile is a cicada than can be found in Thailand. This cicada’s coloration features cream, light brown, black and mint green. Here’s a photo of an Ayuthia spectabile:
Female Ayuthia spectabile

To learn more about Australian cicadas, try the book Australian Cicadas by M.S. Moulds, or online at Brisbane Cicadas.

This is the start of a new feature on Cicada Mania called the Cicada Alphabet.

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