Cicada Mania

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April 29, 2024

Periodical Cicada Timeline for 2024

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 7:43 pm

I updated the Excel file for keeping track of a Magicicada periodical emergence, which you can download.

This is what it looks like:

Periodical cicada emergence chart.

It covers the major phases of an emergence:
Animals (including pets) digging for them
Holes & Chimneys appear in your lawn
Nymphs Emerge & Molt
Chorusing & Wing Flicking
Egg Laying
Flagging of tree foliage
Eggs Hatch

Cicada t-shirt of the day: Frozen Cicada

Filed under: Cicada Mania — Dan @ 7:34 pm

On Zazzle now, you can get the Frozen Cicada t-shirt.

Frozen Cicada

I use this image when periodical cicadas emerge and then the weather gets cold, occasionally killing them or sending them into a state of torpor.

Not quite frozen, but here’s a story about some sub-50 degrees Fahrenheit cicada blues: Rainy day Magicicada behavior.

How to tell if a Magicicada periodical cicada nymph is ready to molt

Filed under: Magicicada | Nymphs | Periodical — Dan @ 7:12 pm

How can you tell if a Magicicada periodical cicada nymph is ready to molt?

Answer: look for two black spots on its back (technically the cephalothorax). They look like they are wearing aviator sunglasses pushed up on their forehead!

A diagram that shows when a nymph is ready to molt.

I do not know the official name for these spots, but they seem to be related to the pigment that turns the cicadas black after they molt. They may scare away predators that think the spots are big eyes!

Here are a few ideas for a name for them:
obscuras maculas
mutatione macularum

April 24, 2024

New species Becquartina bicolor and the genus Becquartina was discovered for the first time in India

Filed under: Becquartina | India | Vivek Sarkar — Dan @ 9:16 pm

News from Vivek Sarkar! A new cicada species, Becquartina bicolor, has been discovered in India.
This also marks the first time a cicada of the genus Becquartina was discovered in India.

Photos courtesy and copyright of Vivek Sarkar. Note the variation in colors.
Balpakram_2017-05-17_VivekSarkar_edited 1

Balpakram_2017-05-17_VivekSarkar_edited 5

From Vivek:

I am thrilled to share with you the latest development in our research endeavors here in India. We have recently uncovered an astonishing new cicada species from the genus, marking its inaugural appearance in India. This significant discovery was made independently within the mysterious forests of Garo Hills and Ri Bhoi district, igniting a sense of wonder in the realm of biodiversity exploration and shedding light on the untapped potential of Meghalaya’s diverse ecosystems.

As you are aware, cicadas in India have been a long-standing subject of neglect, with studies stagnating since the early 20th century. Despite boasting the world’s highest generic diversity of cicadas, their biology remains largely unexplored within India. With the unveiling of four new species in Meghalaya (including this one), alongside four additional additions to India’s cicada diversity since 2020, these forests continue to unveil new marvels.

Here is a link to the paper by Vivek Sarkar, Rodeson Thangkhiew, Cuckoo Mahapatra, Pratyush P. Mohapatra, Manoj V. Nair, and Sudhanya R. Hajong: Discovery of the cicada genus Becquartina Kato, 1940 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae) in India with the description of a new species from Meghalaya.

Photos courtesy and copyright of Vivek Sarkar.
Balpakram_2017-05-17_VivekSarkar_edited 2

Balpakram_2017-05-17_VivekSarkar_edited 6

Balpakram_2017-05-17_VivekSarkar_edited 8

April 20, 2024

A quick way to tell the difference between the 7 periodical cicadas species

Filed under: Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:50 am

Here is a quick way to tell the difference between the 7 periodical cicada species:

Download this chart. Click/tap for a larger version:

The songs of Magicicada cassini (17-year) and Magicicada tredecassini (13-year) are essentially identical:

M. cassini:

M. tredecassini:

The songs of Magicicada septendecula (17-year) and Magicicada tredecula (13-year) are essentially identical:

M. septendecula (©Joe Green):

M. tredecula:

The songs of Magicicada septendecim (17-year), M. neotredecim (13-year), and Magicicada tredecim (13-year) are essentially identical. M. neotredecim varies the sound of its call in the presence of M. tredecim.

M. septendecim:

M. neotredecim (© Insect Singers)

M. tredecim (© Insect Singers)

And/or watch this video:

Then read this and listen to the sound files on the page: Where will 17 & 13 Year Periodical Cicada Broods emerge next?

April 13, 2024

Guessing at when the next Platypedia or Okanagana hatch will happen

Filed under: Okanagana | Platypedia — Dan @ 10:40 am

Platypedia cicada by CGWiber of the Dutch John Resort of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Utah.

Platypedia and Okanagana species are favorites of fly fishers in the western United States.

The trick is guessing when they’ll emerge. Platypedia and Okanagana have a periodicity to their abundance, but they are not as predictable as Magicicada cicadas in the eastern US, which emerge exactly every 17 or 13 years. Take a look at the data from Tim McNary’s Platypedia putnami survey at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space by Tim McNary and you’ll see Platypedia can have peaks every 4 or  8 years. Some years there are zero.

I recommend checking out Dave Zielinski’s new book Cicada Madness, Timing, Fishing Techniques, and Patterns for Cracking the Code of Epic Cicada Emergences. It tackles this topic, has a directory of guides and fly shops, and includes fly patterns. It’s a very nice book.

How can you do your research?

If I were you I would call lodges and fishing equipment shops in the area where you want to fish. You can find this information from Dave’s book, or on Google/Bing. Local people are familiar with the emergence patterns in their area. They’ll also try to get your business, of course. That said, fishermen keep their favorite places a secret. I did not know about my father’s secret fishing place until months before he passed away.

You can use iNaturalist to guess when cicadas will emerge in local areas. iNaturalist is a website and app where you can post photos of plants, fungi, and animals and get an identification. Using thousands of people’s posts, we get good data for when and where cicadas emerge.

Example of how to see when Platypedia emerges in northern Utah

We were asked when cicadas would emerge in Northern Utah. I’m going to guess that northern Utah means Provo, UT, and north, so I grabbed the latitude of Provo from Google Maps which is 40.249 (save this data for later).

1) On iNaturalist filter sightings to Show Verifiable and Needs ID; under Description/Tags put in Platypedia; under Place put Utah, US; and for the Date fields choose Any.
Filter Screen

Clicking the Update Search will take you to a page that shows the sightings with photos, locations, dates, and a map.

inaturalist map

But don’t do that yet, go to step 3.

2) Click the Download button, to download the data.
Download INaturalist

3) That takes you to an Export page. Scroll until you see the blue Create Export button and click that. Then once it does its computation, click the Download button. This will download a Comma Separated Value file (.csv) that you can open with Microsoft Excel or a similar program.

Create Export and Download

4) Open the CSV in Excel, save it as an XLSX file, and filter the top/heading row.

5) Filter the “latitude” column by 40.2490. This will give you locations in Northern Utah.

filter by latitude

6) Open a new sheet in Excel, and cut and paste the data from the “observed_on” column into that sheet.

7) Use the Text to Columns wizard under Data to separate the data into months, days, and years.

split in Excel

8) Give the columns the headings Month, Day, and Year and filter them.

With some fiddling, you should get something like:

month day year

9) Determining what day they typically emerge.

We know most cicada hatches happen in May(5) and June(6).

First, filter the Month column by 5.

Then look at the Day data for the average (Mean) and most frequent (Mode) dates when cicadas emerge.

You can do this in Excel or paste the numbers into an online tool like the Mean, Median, Mode Calculator.

Excel formula.
Mean: =AVERAGE(A1:A10)
Median: =MEDIAN(A1:A10)
Mode: =MODE.MULT(A1:A10)

mean median mode

We can see that in May(5) the average day people spot Platypedia is the 23rd (Mean) and the most frequent date is the 29th (Mode). Typically they start to emerge the last week of May, so that’s when you want to start calling the lodges, guides, and fly fishing gear shops for specific information.

Let’s do the same for June(6).

MMM June

We can see for June that the average (Mean) date they are sighted is the 15th and most frequently (Mode) sighted on the 19th. This tells me that the first three weeks of June are a good time for finding Platypedia cicadas.

So, if I was planning a northern Utah fly fishing trip, it better happen between the last week of May to the third week of June, leaning towards the second week of June.

There’s probably an easier way to process the data. Maybe AI tools like ChatGPT.

That said, just call or email the Locals. They know what’s up. Data can only help so much because Platypedia can be so random.

March 7, 2024

2023 North American Annual Cicadas Location Project on iNaturalist

Filed under: Annual | Proto-periodical — Dan @ 4:47 am

Neotibicen tibicen aka Morning Cicada aka Swamp Cicada formerly Tibicen chloromera is the winner!!

August 11 Neotibicen (small)

Summary below and on iNaturalist.

As of December 31st, 2023

Neotibicen tibicen, aka the Swamp Cicada aka Morning cicada, is the winner.

Is there a chance another annual or proto-periodical cicada is more plentiful in North America? Yes of course, but in areas where people are using the iNaturalist app most frequently, which is likely not isolated or out of the way areas, Neotibicen tibicen was most plentiful.

1) Downloaded *Research Grade* data from the 2023 North American Annual Cicadas project.
2) Combined sub-species with species counts. In other words, I totaled Neotibicen tibicen + Neotibicen tibicen tibicen + Neotibicen tibicen australis to get Neotibicen tibicen.
3) The 1 species per user + location column reduces the number by one species per user per location. In other words, if I submitted 50 Neotibicen tibicens in Edison, New Jersey, it only counts as 1 (one).

Cicada 1 species per user + location Species totals
Neotibicen tibicen 402 437
Neotibicen lyricen 193 201
Neotibicen superbus 188 263
Megatibicen resh 155 232
Neotibicen pruinosus 139 178
Neotibicen canicularis 125 134
Megatibicen grossus 76 81
Neocicada hieroglyphica 54 63
Neotibicen robinsonianus 47 51
Pacarina puella 41 56
Neotibicen linnei 34 36
Diceroprocta apache 28 35
Neotibicen winnemanna 23 26
Megatibicen pronotalis 23 25
Neotibicen davisi 18 19
Megatibicen dealbatus 17 17
Quesada gigas 15 16
Megatibicen dorsatus 14 16
Megatibicen figuratus 13 14
Diceroprocta vitripennis 9 11
Platypedia putnami 7 19

Tibicen tibicen wins!

About the project

There are 3 types of cicada lifecycles:
1) Periodical: cicadas with a life cycle set to a specific number of years, with a predictable series of emergence years. Magicicada, for instance, emerges every 17 or 13 years depending on the species, and we have a calendar of years when and where they will emerge. Some “stragglers” do emerge each year.
2) Annual: cicadas that emerge every year without fail.
3) Proto-periodical: cicadas that emerge in small numbers every year (annual), but the size of the emergence varies significantly from year to year. Examples include Platypedia (see Platypedia putnami survey at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space by Tim McNary) and Okanagana (see Predator avoidance leads to separate emergence cycles in the protoperiodical Okanagana magnifica).

Considering there would only be Periodical stragglers in 2023, it was a perfect year for an iNaturalist project focusing on cicadas that emerge annually: 2023 North American Annual Cicadas Location Project.

2023 Project

This project includes all of North America, which includes Mexico, the United States, and Canada. iNaturalist determines the geographical footprint. It seems like most of the folks using the iNaturalist app are in the United States.

Typically cicadas in the southernmost, warmest areas (Mexico, Texas) emerge first. Cicadas that have black bodies like Platypedia can tolerate colder temperatures because the sun warms them up, so they’ll emerge in northern areas before other types of cicadas.

As of September 2nd

#1 Morning Cicada, #2 Superb Dog-day Cicada, #3 Resh Cicada, #4 Northern Dog-Day Cicada, and #5 Lyric Cicada. My prediction is that the Northern Dog-Day cicada will surpass Resh in a week or so.

Screen Shot 2023-09-02 at 10.42.25 AM

As of August 25th

#1 Superb Dog-day cicada, #2 Morning Cicada, #3 Resh Cicada, #4 Northern Dog-Day Cicada, and #5 Lyric Cicada.

As of August 11th

#1 Superb Dog-day cicada, #2 Resh Cicada, #3 Morning Cicada, #4 Lyric Cicada, and #5 Northern Dog-Day Cicada.

Scissor(s) Grinder slipped to 6th place.

As of August 6th

#1 Superb Dog-day cicada, #2 Resh Cicada, #3 Morning Cicada, #4 Lyric Cicada, and #5 Scissor(s) Grinder.

As of July 30th

#1 Superb Dog-day Cicada, #2 Resh Cicada, #3 Morning Cicada, #4 Lyric Cicada, and #5 Hieroglyphic Cicada.

As of July 23rd

#1 Superb Dog-day cicada, #2 Resh Cicada, #3 Morning Cicada, #4 Hieroglyphic Cicada, and #5 Little Mesquite Cicada.

The Texan cicada hunters are dominating…

As of July 18th,#1 Superb Dog-day cicada, #2 Resh Cicada, #3 Hieroglyphic Cicada, #4 Little Mesquite Cicada, and #5 Morning Cicada.

As of July 7th, the top 5 cicadas are The Superb Dog-day Cicada, the Resh Cicada, Hieroglyphic Cicada, the Little Mesquite Cicada, and the Lyric Cicada.

As of June 30th, the top 5 cicadas are: The Superb Dog-day Cicada, the Resh Cicada, the Little Mesquite Cicada, Hieroglyphic Cicada, and Putnam’s Cicada (a Platypedia).

Screen Shot 2023-06-30 at 9.14.13 AM

February 28, 2024

Cecily Cicada, a cicada book for kids

Filed under: Books — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update (2/28/2024): looks like there’s a 2024 version of Cecily Cicada: Cecily Cicada: Special Double Brood Edition.

Cecily Cicada 2024

There’s a new version of the book Cecily Cicada by Kita Helmetag Murdock & Patsy Helmetag for 2021. Some of you might remember the original version with the purple cover. Look for the mini-interview at the end of the article.

A delightful book, written by a mother/ daughter before the 17-year cicada emergence of 2004. They wrote it to ease the insect anxiety of their 3-year-old granddaughter/daughter when they learned the cicadas were coming. It tells the miraculous life of a special 17-year cicada named Cecily in an endearing way. Beautifully illustrated and fun. Patsy Helmetag has re-illustrated the original edition for a bright new look for the cicada emergence of 2021.

Cecily Cicada 2021 cover
Here is a Q & A with the authors of the book by Kita Helmetag Murdock & Patsy Helmetag:

Q: What inspired you to write a book about a cicada?

Kita: My mom and I originally wrote Cecily Cicada in 2004, when the Brood X cicadas were about to emerge in Washington, D.C. My then two-year-old daughter was terrified of all bugs, and I was terrified of how she would react when her world was suddenly full of them! We were driving to visit my sister in North Carolina that spring when we had the idea to write a book to ease her fears. Without anything to write on (and without smartphones – times have changed!), we started by writing the first lines in rhyme on the back of a cereal box. By the time we returned home from the trip, we knew we had a book that we wanted to share with all the kids who would be experiencing the cicadas that spring. My mom made the illustrations, and we put the book out into the world. We updated the book for the 2021 Brood X emergence.

Q: Has anyone approached you to make your book into an animated cartoon?

Kita: No, but we wish someone would! It would make a great animated short.

Q: What changes have you made for the 2021 edition of your book?

Patsy: I had so much time during covid that I decided to update all of the illustrations. The new version is brighter and more detailed. We also changed the male singing cicadas to a boy band, from a barbershop quartet, to make them more youthful.

Q: Have you written any other books?
Patsy: I have also written The TransAm Grannies Bicycle Across America and Slothy and Nomi. This past year, during quarantine, I illustrated and co-wrote Squeakestered with my 12-year-old granddaughter.

Kita: I have also written two middle-grade fiction books, Future Flash and Francie’s Fortune.

February 1, 2024

New Brood XIX and XIII Cicada Book by Dr. Gene Kritsky

Filed under: Books | Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:14 am

Cicada researcher and communicator Dr. Gene Kritsky has a new book about Brood XIX and XIII which are both emerging in the spring of 2024: A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats.

A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX

Other posts about Dr. Gene Kritsky on this site:

  1. An Interview with Gene Kritsky
  2. Gene Kritsky’s new cicada site and Brood XIV news
  3. Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition by Gene Kritsky
  4. Gene’s App: Cicada Safari app for tracking Magicicada periodical cicadas

January 29, 2024

Cicada Madness, a new cicada-themed fly fishing book

Filed under: Books | Fly Fishing — Dan @ 9:50 pm

Cicadas are a favorite food of fish, so anglers use lures that emulate cicadas. When there is a large emergence aka “hatch” of cicadas, it can drive the fish into a feeding frenzy, which anglers take advantage of.

There’s a new book called Cicada Madness by author Dave Zielinski that focuses on “timing, fishing techniques, and patterns for cracking the code of epic emergences”. The book features images by myself, Roy Troutman, and others. The book is 164 pages long and features 39 pages of fly patterns.

cicada madness

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