Cicada Mania

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

May 31, 2021

What are the black spots on the back of a Magicicada cicada?

Filed under: Magicicada | Teneral — Dan @ 3:24 pm

Black Spots

The question I saw most this year (2021) was “what are the black spots on the back of cicadas for”? The people asking this question are specifically talking about Magicicada cicadas that have recently molted and are still white/cream colored and soft (teneral from the Latin word “tenen” meaning soft).

The area of the cicada where the black spots appear is called the pronotum — “pro”, meaning before in Greek, and “notum”, meaning the back, also in Greek. Before the back.

The spots contain a pigment that will gradually spread throughout a cicada body as it hardens, and transforms from white to black.

People speculate that the two black spots resemble eyes, and that might scare away predators. This might be possible, but I haven’t read anything to substantiate the hypothesis.

May 30, 2021

Rainy day Magicicada behavior

Filed under: Behavior | Brood X | Magicicada — Tags: — Dan @ 8:09 pm

Brood X has emerged in Princeton, New Jersey, but the weather is currently not great for cicadas: less than 50°F and rainy. Undaunted, I visited Princeton yesterday to observe Magicicada cicada behavior on a cold, rainy day.

I arrived at Princeton Battleground State Park around 3:30 PM and immediately head to the short trees and tall weeds, like honeysuckle, that line the perimeter of the park. I was pleased to see hundreds of cicadas clinging to the leaves, stems, and branches of the plants — seemingly without extra effort or discomfort. Many were weighted down by droplets of rain, which seemed to roll off their bodies and bead on their wings like translucent pearls.

Even though temperatures were below 50°F (9°C) I did hear an occasional distress call, and saw plenty of cicadas mating — perhaps they started mating before the rain and cold weather began. No flying. No calls, chorusing, or wing flicks.

Other than thousands of seemingly healthy but (patient) cicadas hanging from vegetation, there were plenty of malformed cicadas on the trunks of larger trees, and piles of exuvia and corpses circling tree trunks. The air around trees stank like ammonia and rotting fat and meat — not unlike a dumpster behind a burger restaurant.

I saw mostly Magicicada septendecim and some Magicicada cassini. No apparent Magicicada septendecula. I saw just one M. Septendecim infected with Massospora cicadina fungus. While there was plenty of avian activity in the area, I did not see any birds or other creatures feast on the docile or dead cicada — maybe I scared them away — maybe their appetites were satiated.

Cicadas dripping with rain:
Cicadas dripping with rain

Cicadas mating:
Cicadas Mating

Cicadas mating

M. Septendecim infected with Massospora cicadina fungus:

May 29, 2021

THE PERIODICAL CICADA resurrected as a free streaming cicada themed variety show

Filed under: Art | Music — Dan @ 1:27 am

THE PERIODICAL CICADA resurrected as a free streaming cicada-themed variety show.

Theater of the Apes celebrates the emergence of BROOD X with a FREE 17-year Cicada-themed Virtual Variety Show.

June 7th, 7 PM EST. tune in:


Cicada Suite: 2 cicada-related songs, on a specially designed cicada-shaped flash drive

Filed under: Music — Dan @ 12:57 am

I like Cicadas. I like songs about Cicadas.

But Cicada-related songs on a cicada-shaped flash drive?! That’s awesome.

Check out Sue Fink’s Cicada Suite.

Sue's Cicada Songs

Brood X-ellence, a rap about Brood X by EntoGeek

Filed under: Brood X | Music — Dan @ 12:46 am

I’m surprised that this is the first rap song about Brood X I’ve heard so far.

Brood X-ellence, a rap about Brood X by EntoGeek. It’s pretty good.

May 26, 2021

Brood X in Grover’s Mill, West Windsor & Plainsboro, New Jersey

Filed under: Brood X — Dan @ 9:47 pm

On May 23rd I made it out to eastern Mercer County, New Jersey to too look for Brood X cicadas. Specifically, I made it out to West Windsor Township, its famous neighborhood Gover’s Mill, and nearby Plainsboro Township.

Overall the emergence in the area was underwhelming. Some holes, some exuvia (skins), and even fewer cicadas. Throughout the area, I heard individual calls by Magicicada septendecim and Magicicada cassini, but no choruses. I was there between noon and 5 pm. The temperature was somewhere between 85 and 90 degrees fahrenheit. The soil and air were very dry.

The best location was Van Nest Park in Grover’s Mill (in West Windsor). There, every suitable tree had a dozen or more exit holes around its roots. Most trees had at least 12 exuviae on them, and a few had cicadas crawling in them.

Van Nest Park is best known for the War of the World’s monument on its grounds. In this photo, Orson is sharing a mic with a cicada:

Orson Wells

It breaks my heart to see cicadas with shriveled wings. This one was in Van Nest Park:

Adult with Shriveled Wings in Van Nest Park

Ronald Roger’s Arboretum, also in West Windsor, had plenty of exit holes along its hiking trails, but very few exuviae, and only one audible singing Magicicada septendecim.

In Plainsboro, the Lenape Trail offered nothing in terms of cicadas, but I could hear cicadas singing nearby. Waters Edge Park had exuviae hanging from tree leaves, but no visible adult cicadas, and a few audible M. septendecim. I did see one fisherman using a cicada for bait.

Either the Brood X emergence was very light in this area, and most were wiped out by birds, or it is still early. I will do my best to check this location again to be sure.

Picture semi-related:

Before Orson was frozen in carbonite

May 20, 2021

A new Snappy Cicada Pizza video for 2021!

Filed under: Eating Cicadas | Music — Dan @ 6:55 pm

Snappy Tomato Pizza has once again transformed into Snappy Cicada Pizza.

More information here, posted by Ed on another post.

Here you go — this will help: Snappy Cicada Pizza Video:

We have just announced our partnership with The Christ Hospital to celebrate the birth of the cicadas and newborns at the hospital — see press release here:

It’s been 17 years since Cincinnati last saw the Brood X cicadas, and there’s no doubt that their return has caused a lot of “buzz” around the Tristate! The Christ Hospital wanted to do something to commemorate this wild and rare time and we can’t think of a better partner to help us than Cincinnati’s own Snappy Tomato Pizza. Remember that jingle from the 80s? While there was never an actual Snappy Cicada Pizza, Snappy still brushes it off just for fun every cicada resurgence!

This time around, The Christ Hospital and Snappy Tomato Pizza are teaming up to start a new tradition. To help welcome newborns and cicadas, each baby born at both The Christ Hospital Mt. Auburn and Liberty Township locations over the next few weeks will receive a free, limited-edition, “All the Buzz” onesie! Parents will also get a coupon for a free pizza (cicadas, unfortunately, not included) and Snappy swag generously donated by Snappy Tomato Pizza!

Here’s some previous incarnations: Snappy Cicada Pizza Jingles.

May 18, 2021

Cicada Serenade (parody) Brood X Spring 2021 Emergence! Rejoice!

Filed under: Music — Dan @ 6:05 am

A new song/parody video sent to us by Tracy Mayle: Cicada Serenade (parody) Brood X Spring 2021 Emergence! Enjoy.

May 16, 2021

Cicada Symphony Book

Filed under: Books — Dan @ 10:04 pm

Just in time for Brood X, here’s another cicada book for kids: Cicada Symphony by Lisa Kobman.

I haven’t read the book, so I cannot give my opinion. Lisa says she consulted with Gene Kritsky when writing the book.

Cicada Symphony

Here are some details from

This book is the perfect learning tool for teaching children about cicadas. It explains the complicated and fascinating life cycle of the 17-year cicada (Brood X) in a way a preschooler and elementary-aged child can understand and connect with. Children will be drawn in by the beautiful, vivid illustrations, humor, and compelling storyline. The rhyming language should help ease anxiety about these amazing bugs and could even inspire a sense of wonder and excitement about cicadas for children and adults alike. It is the perfect addition to your science/nature collection. Don’t be surprised if after reading this book, readers of all ages head outside to check out the cicadas!

Cicada Madness Podcast!

Filed under: Podcasts — Dan @ 9:56 pm

This one is PG-13 (R?) rated. It’s a Cicada-themed horror comedy movie podcast called Cicada Madness!!! Check it out! It reminds me of a 1980s horror movie and comedy, with some Rob Zombie mixed in.

Cicada Madness Podcast

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