Cicada Mania

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April 18, 2017

When do cicadas sing?

Filed under: Audio, Sounds, Songs | Behavior — Dan @ 6:37 am

Most, if not all cicadas sing during the day, but what time of day they sing depends on the species and the weather. There are over 3,000 species of cicadas, and each has its own unique behavior.

Typically, cicadas do not sing at night, but there are exceptions. Most of the time when you hear an insect at night, it’s a cricket or katydid.

Most cicadas love the sun, so rain and cloudy skies will decrease the likelihood they will sing. Temperature also affects whether or not they will sing. If it is too cold, or too hot cicadas won’t sing. Tolerance for temperature depends on the species.

Cicadas, depending on the species, will sing depending on the number and proximity of other cicadas in their area. Periodical cicadas, when there are enough in a given area, will synchronize their songs forming a chorus (a group effort to attract females).

When they sing during the day, under perfect conditions, depends on the species. Each species has its favorite time to sing, for example, in North America:

  • Neotibicen tibicen, also known as Morning Cicadas, typically sing before noon.
  • Neotibicen latifasciatus, aka Coastal Scissor Grinder Cicada, seem to sing throughout the day, taking breaks during the most brutal sunlight and temperatures.
  • Megatibicen auletes, also know as the Northern Dusk-Singing Cicada, sings for about a half hour around sunset.
  • Periodical cicadas, like Magicicada septendecim, typically sing between 10am and 5pm.

Recapping, when cicadas sing depends on:

  1. The species
  2. The amount of light (sun or artificial)
  3. The amount of cicadas in a given area
  4. Rain, clouds, and other “bad weather”
  5. The temperature

Cicadas can be surprising “rule breakers” so don’t be surprised to hear them when least expected.

More examples and references to come…

April 15, 2017

How do cicadas make sounds / noise

Filed under: Audio, Sounds, Songs — Tags: , — Dan @ 2:09 pm

Some people hear a cicada sing, and hear a beautiful song, while others hear an irritating noise. But how do they create the sounds?

Magicicada septendecim tymbal
The ridged organ in this photo is a tymbal, the organ male cicadas use to create their songs.

Cicadas make sounds in quite a few ways: with tymbal organs, wing flicks, wing clicks, and stridulations.

Male cicadas sing using their tymbals

tymbal animation
Muscles tug at it rapidly to create sound vibrations.

Cicadas are best known for the songs the male cicadas sing. They sing using special organs called tymbals. Tymbals are membranes that vibrate very quickly when pulled by tiny muscles. This vibration creates the cicada’s song. Some types of cicadas have exposed tymbals, like Magicicada or Zammara. Some species have hidden tymbals, like Neotibicen, and flex their abdomen to open their tymbal covers to modulate their song.

Each type of song made with tymbals has a different purpose:

  • Alarm/distress calls: “don’t eat me! something is eating me!”
  • Pre-calls: warming up
  • Calls to attract mates and establish a territory
  • Courting calls: calls made once a mate is found.
  • Choruses: when males synchronize their calls to establish chorusing centers and attract females.

Wing flicks and stridulations

Females and males of some species flick their wings to produce a sound similar to the flick of a wall switch. Females use wing flicks to respond to male courting calls, in the case of Magicicada periodical cicadas. Some males of other species use a combination of tymbal song and wing flicks.

Some species of cicadas lack tymbals, like cicadas belonging to the genus Platypedia. They use their wings to make crackling or popping noises known as crepitation. Amphipsalta zelandica of New Zealand use wing-clicks to communicate.

Stridulations: Some cicadas, like Australia’s Green Grocer, possess raspe-like parts of their bodies which when stroked with part of a wing produces yet another type of cicada sound. This type of sound is called a stridulation.

Cyclochila australasiae stridulatory structures

Tettigarcta vibrate the earth

Lastly, some species like those belonging to the genus Tettigarcta vibrate the substrate (soil, plant matter, etc) they live in, rather than vibrating the air.

March 25, 2017

New Cicada: Berberigetta dimelodica

Filed under: Berberigetta | Vera L. Nunes | Video — Dan @ 10:24 am

Thanks to Vera L. Nunes for letting us know about a newly described/discovered cicada named Berberigetta dimelodica.

Berberigetta is also a new genus, belonging to the Tribe Cicadettini.

See and listen to it in this YouTube video:

The paper than describes the species is:

Gonçalo João Costa, Vera L. Nunes, Eduardo Marabuto, Raquel Mendes, Telma G. Laurentino, José Alberto Quartau, Octávio S. Paulo, Paula Cristina Simões. 2017. Morphology, songs and genetics identify two new cicada species from Morocco: Tettigettalna afroamissa sp. nov. and Berberigetta dimelodica gen. nov. & sp. nov. (Hemiptera: Cicadettini). Zootaxa. Vol 4237, No 3.

Link to the Zootaxa page for the document.

And here’s a quote of the Abstract:

Morocco has been the subject of very few expeditions on the last century with the objective of studying small cicadas. In the summer of 2014 an expedition was carried out to Morocco to update our knowledge with acoustic recordings and genetic data of these poorly known species. We describe here two new small-sized cicadas that could not be directly assigned to any species of North African cicadas: Tettigettalna afroamissa sp. nov. and Berberigetta dimelodica gen. nov. & sp. nov. In respect to T. afroamissa it is the first species of the genus to be found outside Europe and we frame this taxon within the evolutionary history of the genus. Acoustic analysis of this species allows us to confidently separate T. afroamissa from its congeners. With B. dimelodica, a small species showing a remarkable calling song characterized by an abrupt frequency modulation, a new genus had to be erected. Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses with DNA-barcode sequences of Cytochrome C Oxidase 1 support the monophyly of both species, their distinctness and revealed genetic structure within B. dimelodica. Alongside the descriptions we also provide GPS coordinates of collection points, distributions and habitat preferences.

March 2, 2017

Quesada gigas out in Texas

Filed under: Mike Quinn | Quesada — Dan @ 8:05 pm

Update: Mike’s website Giant Cicada / Chicharra Grande has records of the early calling. 3 to 4 months early!

Mike Quinn, @EntoMike on Twitter, reported on February 22nd that Quesada gigas have been singing in Texas.

Listen to their song:


Source: ©Insect Singers | Species: Q. gigas

Quesada gigas from Brazil, Photo by Leonardo Milhomem
Photo credit: Photo by Leonardo Milhomem.

More information about Quesada gigas.

February 26, 2017

Quick guide to recent cicada name changes

Filed under: Genera — Dan @ 8:31 am

The names of cicadas change a lot. I don’t question the name changes, but it does take a fair amount of time to update 100s-1000s of pages on this site whenever a genus or species name changes, or when a species is split into multiple species or a genus is split into multiple genera. There are likely places on this site where the names are a generation or two behind.

Here’s a guide to changes from the past two decades. It is far from complete, but it represents the more well-known cicadas.

Genus changes

Auritibicen spawned from Tibicen/Lyristes. These cicadas include:

Twelve Auritibicen bihamatus subspecies, five Auritibicen flammatus subspecies, Auritibicen intermedius Mori, 1931, ten Auritibicen japonicus subspecies, Auritibicen kyushyuensis (Kato, 1926), Auritibicen pekinensis (Haupt, 1924), and Auritibicen slocumi Chen, 1943.

Read Young June Lee. 2015. Description of a new genus, Auritibicen gen. nov., of Cryptotympanini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) with redescriptions of Auritibicen pekinensis (Haupt, 1924) comb. nov. and Auritibicen slocumi (Chen, 1943) comb. nov. from China and a key to the species of Auritibicen. Zootaxa 3980 (2): 241—254.

Callogaena spawned from Gaeana Amyot & Audinet-Serville, 1843. Although Gaeana might still be preferred. Here is a Callogaeana festiva.

Distantalna Boulard, 2009 spawned from Tosena Amyot & Audinet-Serville, 1843. Here is a Distantalna splendida. This cicada is very common on eBay and found in a lot of arts and crafts, and is still mostly called Tosena splendida in those places.

See the image below: Distantalna clearly lacks the angular forewing stripes of Tosena. The orientation of the eyes seems very different as well.

Compare

Lyristes. Depending on what area of the world you’re in, the genus Tibicen is often replaced with Lyristes. Prior to the introduction of Auritibicen in 2015, the Tibicen of Asia were called Lyristes. The Tibicen of Europe are called Lyristes as well, like Lyristes plebejus (Scopoli, 1763). The genera of North American Tibicen have all changed as well. I’m not up on the debate but I believe Michel Boulard is advocating for Lyristes. I think the argument against the name was that Latreille came up with Tibicen in 1925, and Horváth came up with Lyristes a century later in 1926. So if you see Lyristes, consider it to be a synonym of Tibicen, Auritibicen, Hadoa, Neotibicen, Megatibicen, etc.

Megapomponia Boulard, 2005 spawned from Pomponia Stål, 1866. Here is a Megapomponia imperatoria. Megapomponia are the largest cicadas so MEGA (from the Greek megas which means “great, large, mighty”) makes sense.

Neotibicen Hill & Moulds, 2015 and Hadoa Moulds 2015 spawned from Tibicen.

Read Hill, et al. 2015. Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae), Zootaxa, Volume 3985, Issue 2, Pages 219—251.

Megatibicen Sanborn and Heath 2016 spawned from Neotibicen, which of course spawned from Tibicen.

Read: Sanborn A.F., Heath, M.S. 2016. Megatibicen n. gen., a new North American cicada genus (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Cryptotympanini), Zootaxa, Volume 4168, Issue 3.

Gigatibicen Lee 2016, Ameritibicen Lee 2016, and Paratibicen Lee 2016 spawned from Neotibicen, although it seems like Megatibicen will be preferred over Gigatibicen and Ameritibicen. Lee, Y.J. 2016. Description of three new genera, Paratibicen, Gigatibicen, and Ameritibicen, of Cryptotympanini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) and a key to their species Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1 December 2016, Pages 448—454.

Here’s a pretty good chart that explains the Tibicen/ Neotibicen/ Megatibicen/ Gigatibicen/ Ameritibicen/ Paratibicen stuff.

Species changes

Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley 2000 spawned from Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868) in 2000 when David Marshall and John Cooley described it as its own unique species. Read Marshall, D.C. & Cooley, J.R. (2000). Reproductive character displacement and speciation in periodical cicadas, with a description of a new species, 13-year Magicicada neotre- decim. — Evolution 54, p. 1313-1325.

Neotibicen tibicen australis (Davis, 1912) was once Tibicen tibicen australis (Davis, 1912) when Neotibicen (genus) spawned from Tibicen in 2015. Prior to the change, this cicada was Tibicen chloromerus var. australis. Read: Tibicen tibicen australis Sanborn, Phillips and Gillis 2008: 4—5, 12, 31, 39, Fig 73, Figs 139—147 (key, synonymy, illustrated, distribution, comp. note) Equals Rihana sayi var. australis Florida, Georgia

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen (Linnaeus, 1758) was called Tibicen chloromera, but then Allen Sanborn (I think) switched it to Tibicen chloromerus (a to an us for correct gender grammar of the species name) in the late 1990s. Then around 2008 Sanborn switched it to Tibicen tibicen because the original name dating back to 1758 was Cicada tibicen.

Megatibicen pronotalis pronotalis Davis, 1938 and Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri Metcalf, 1955 have had a number of changes. Aside from two to three recent changes genus changes, species names have changed as well. Megatibicen pronotalis pronotalis has been called Tibicen walkeri var. pronotalis, Tibicen marginalis var. pronotalis, Tibicen pronotalis walkeri and Tibicen walkeri pronotalis. Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri has been called Tibicen marginalis, Tibicen walkeri, and even Lyristes marginalis. Yikes!

That’s a lot of changes. I used Allan Sanborn’s book Catalogue of the Cicadoidea to verify much of this information. It’s a huge book. No photos, mostly cicada names. 🙂

Editorial: I know a lot of folks are bemused and vexed by these name changes, and many still use the old names. Certainly Tibicen chloromera, regardless of its taxonomic faults, sounds better than Neotibicen tibicen tibicen. Of the changes described above, my favorites (can you have favorites in science?) are Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley 2000 which is definitely a different insect than Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868); and Distantalna Boulard, 2009 because Distantalna splendida looks very different than cicadas belonging to the genus Tosena, IMHO.

New species of Megatibicen: Megatibicen harenosus

Filed under: Jeffrey A. Cole | Megatibicen | Tibicen — Dan @ 6:32 am

A new species of Megatibicen, named Megatibicen harenosus sp. n., has been described by Jeffrey A. Cole. It lives in the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands areas of New Mexico and Texas. It is very similar to Megatibicen (Neotibicen, Tibicen) tremulus, which itself looks a lot like dorsatus and dealbatus.

Here’s a link to the announcement of the paper. This is the abstract:

Megatibicen harenosus sp. n. is described from the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands of New Mexico and Texas, U.S.A. The new species is diagnosed from similar species, especially M. tremulus which it resembles closely, by male genital morphology, color pattern, calling song, and ecology. Seven characters from the male calling song are described from analysis of field recordings, of which all four temporal song characters are significantly different from M. tremulus. With one of the most southwestern distribution of any Megatibicen species, M. harenosus is a new addition to the rich, endemic, and understudied Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands biota. The possibility that M. harenosus and M. tremulus are sister species is raised. The ecological, biological, and evolutionary species concepts support species status for M. harenosus, and an hypothesis of peripatric speciation in peripheral isolation is advanced.

There is a sample of this cicada’s song on the Insect Singers website. Check it out.

New book: The Season of the Cicadas by Les Daniels

Filed under: Books | Les Daniels — Dan @ 6:19 am

I’ve known Lester Wayne (Les) Daniels for about 20 years now, because of our mutual appreciation of cicadas. Les contributed many photos to Cicada Mania during its early years. You can still see them here. Les is an Ohio resident, and Ohio is a great state for cicada watching with at least 6 broods of periodical cicadas and over a dozen annual species as well. You can buy his cicada book on Amazon and other book sellers.

Season of the Cicadas

Description of the book from Amazon:

When we think of summer, we think of dry hot weather, all things green, and the serenades of insects. Among those serenading, none are more vibrant or boisterous than that of the 17 year cicada and their analogous annual cousins.

The sudden appearance of millions of red eyed wonders is one of the most fascinating phenomena in the entire natural world! No creatures are more remarkable nor have as much impact during the season of the cicada!

In this book the reader will learn about the life histories of these incredible bugs, their relationships with animals and the environment, and perhaps come to appreciate both them and nature itself.

Here is a news article about Les and his book.

January 11, 2017

Frequently asked questions about cicada insects

Filed under: FAQs — Dan @ 1:01 am

FAQs

This is a list of all the cicada “frequently asked questions” on our site.

Cicada Biology

  1. Can Cicadas See?
  2. Do cicadas pee?
  3. Do cicadas stink?
  4. How many types of cicadas are there?
  5. How to tell if a Cicada is a Male or Female?
  6. Is there such thing as an albino cicada?
  7. Why do some cicadas have shriveled up or damaged wings?
  8. What is the largest cicada?

Cicada Sounds, Singing, “Noise”

  1. Do cicadas sing at night?
  2. How do cicadas make sounds / noise?
  3. What cicada is the loudest?
  4. When do cicadas sing?

Cicada Behavior

  1. Do cicadas bite or sting?
  2. What do cicadas do?
  3. Are cicadas attracted to the sound of lawnmowers and other machinery?
  4. How long do cicadas live?
  5. What do Cicadas Eat?
  6. What is the purpose of cicadas?
  7. Where do cicadas live?

Cicada Predators aka What Eats Cicadas

  1. 10 Facts about Cicada Killer Wasps
  2. Can pets or other animals sense cicadas below ground?
  3. What Eats Cicadas?

Studying or Observing Cicadas

  1. How do I photograph cicadas at night?
  2. Is it possible to raise cicadas?
  3. Keeping cicadas for a short period of time
  4. Where can I buy cicadas online?

Human / Cicada Interaction

  1. Are cicadas safe to eat?
  2. How do you pronounce Cicada?
  3. How to say in different languages?
  4. What do cicadas symbolize?
  5. What is the root of the word cicada?
  6. What Might Cause Cicadas to go Extinct?

17 & 13 Year / Magicicada / Periodical / “Locusts”:

  1. What are the black spots on the back of a Magicicada cicada?
  2. Can you see letters like W & P on a cicada’s wings?
  3. Did Someone Offer a Reward for White or Blue-eyed Cicadas?
  4. How Long Does a Periodical Cicada Emergence Last?
  5. What are Broods?
  6. What are Stragglers?
  7. What is Predator Satiation?
  8. Are cicadas locusts?
  9. Which fungus attacks Magicicadas?
  10. Why do Magicicada stay underground for 13 or 17 years?

About Cicada Mania

  1. About Cicada Mania
  2. Email: cicadamania@gmail.com

December 18, 2016

Cicada Christmas Lights 2016

Filed under: Christmas — Dan @ 6:48 pm

Cicada Lights

String of Cicada Lights

I’ve made Christmas lights, in the past, from plastic cicada whistles from Australia.

This year I tried something new and used real cicada exuvia (skins/shells) and LED “fairie lights”, which seem to run cool enough that they won’t be a hazard to the fragile skins. They look pretty. I’m still in the testing phase, but the results so far look promising.

December 4, 2016

Gigatibicen, Ameritibicen, Paratibicen

Filed under: Lyristes | Megatibicen | Neotibicen | Tibicen | Young June Lee — Dan @ 11:10 am

Gigatibicen
For some reason I associate “Giga” with “Gigabytes” and storage media like Flash drives, which explains this joke image.

Over the past two years there have been quite a few updates to the genera of the cicadas that were organized under the Tibicen genus earlier this decade.

The most recent paper by Young June Lee introduces the genera Gigatibicen, Ameritibicen, and Paratibicen 1. Earlier this year there was a paper by Allen Sanborn and Maxine Heath that introduced the genus Megatibicen 3, and in 2015 there was a paper by Kathy Hill and others that introduced Neotibicen and Hadoa 2.

See the end of the article for links to these papers, and related articles on CicadaMania.com.

The table below shows the names/synonyms (sub species have been removed to keep the table compact):

(Tibicen circa 2014) Hill (2015)2 Sanborn, Heath (2016)3 Lee (2016)1
Tibicen auletes Neotibicen auletes Megatibicen auletes Gigatibicen auletes
Tibicen auriferus Neotibicen auriferus no change no change
Tibicen canicularis Neotibicen canicularis no change no change
Tibicen cultriformis Neotibicen cultriformis Megatibicen cultriformis Ameritibicen cultriformis
Tibicen davisi davisi Neotibicen davisi no change no change
Tibicen dealbatus Neotibicen dealbatus Megatibicen dealbatus Ameritibicen dealbatus
Tibicen dorsatus Neotibicen dorsatus Megatibicen dorsatus Ameritibicen dorsatus
Tibicen figuratus Neotibicen figuratus Megatibicen figuratus Ameritibicen figuratus
Tibicen latifasciatus Neotibicen latifasciatus no change no change
Tibicen linnei Neotibicen linnei no change no change
Tibicen lyricen engelhardti Neotibicen lyricen no change no change
Tibicen pronotalis pronotalis Neotibicen pronotalis Megatibicen pronotalis Ameritibicen pronotalis
Tibicen pruinosus fulvus Neotibicen pruinosus no change no change
Tibicen resh Neotibicen resh Megatibicen resh Gigatibicen resh
Tibicen resonans Neotibicen resonans Megatibicen resonans Gigatibicen resonans
Tibicen robinsonianus Neotibicen robinsonianus no change no change
Tibicen similaris Neotibicen similaris no change Paratibicen similaris
Tibicen superbus Neotibicen superbus no change no change
Tibicen tibicen australis Neotibicen tibicen no change no change
Tibicen tremulus Neotibicen tremulus Megatibicen tremulus Ameritibicen tremulus
Tibicen winnemanna Neotibicen winnemanna no change no change
Tibicen bifidus Hadoa bifida no change no change
Tibicen chiricahua Hadoa chiricahua no change no change
Tibicen duryi Hadoa duryi no change no change
Tibicen inauditus Hadoa inaudita no change no change
Tibicen longioperculus Hadoa longiopercula no change no change
Tibicen neomexicensis Hadoa neomexicensis no change no change
Tibicen parallelus Hadoa parallela no change no change
Tibicen simplex Hadoa simplex no change no change
Tibicen texanus Hadoa texana no change no change
Tibicen townsendii Hadoa townsendii no change no change
  • 1 Lee, Y.J. 2016. Description of three new genera, Paratibicen, Gigatibicen, and Ameritibicen, of Cryptotympanini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) and a key to their species Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1 December 2016, Pages 448—454. Link to Paper.
  • 2 Hill, et al. 2015. Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae), Zootaxa, Volume 3985, Issue 2, Pages 219—251. Link to Paper
  • 3 Sanborn A.F., Heath, M.S. 2016. Megatibicen n. gen., a new North American cicada genus (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Cryptotympanini), Zootaxa, Volume 4168, Issue 3. Link to Paper

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