Cicada Mania

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March 2, 2016

What do cicadas symbolize?

Filed under: FAQs — Dan @ 4:34 am

You might ask, what do cicadas symbolize? What are cicadas a metaphor for?

2005-dantibicen-7

Cicadas, for many, represent personal change, renewal, rebirth, and transformation.

Unlike a butterfly, moth, or other insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, cicadas have no pupal state. They transform from one fully-functioning state (instar) to another — one viable form, in a small amount of time, changing to another. The cicada’s transformation is similar to that of human beings. If a person wants or needs to make a change in their life, they don’t enclose themselves in a pod and emerge the next spring (I suppose some might) — more likely they remain in their human form as they change.

A lot of people use cicadas to symbolize their own personal transformation, in art, song, poetry, or even a tattoo. The cicada inherently symbolizes what they were — earth-bound, nymphs –and all the glory of what they have become — adults with wings & a song.

Cicadas can also be a symbol for a musician or singer since they sing.

Since cicadas sing mostly during the summer months, they are a symbol of summer and a precursor to the harvest.


Watch some cicada transformations:

An aside:

Although cicadas are bugs that are around in June, actual “June Bugs” are not cicadas. They are leaf-eating beetles belonging to the genus Phyllophaga.

June Bug

February 7, 2016

The Periodical Cicada Brood VII Revisited

Filed under: Brood VII | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 9:22 pm

The Internet Archive has a lot of cicada documents and information, including a growing collection of articles from journals.

Today I came across a paper about Brood VII called The Periodical Cicada Brood vii Revisited (Homoptera, Cicadidae) by L. L. Pechuman, published in 1985 in the journal Entomology News (link to the article). Brood VII will be back in New York in 2018 (not too far away) so I’m glad I found this now. Brood VII is interesting because it is geographically isolated from other broods, near the Finger Lakes area of New York. This always makes me wonder what happened that led to their isolation (glacial melting, a massive die off of host trees… who knows).

The article is a quick, but melancholy read — unfortunately Brood VII is a small and dwindling brood; it has gone extinct in many areas, and has suffered over-predation by birds in recent emergences. “Populations were just not high enough to support ‘predator satiation'”, according to L. L. Pechuman.

People who witness massive periodical cicada emergences would never think that they were a fragile insect, but they are and papers like this make that fact abundantly clear.

February 1, 2016

Cicada Fireworks

Filed under: Fireworks | Roy Troutman | Video — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update! New packaging for the Clustering Cicada fireworks (thx Roy). Find it here.

cicada fireworks

The Fourth of July should be fun this year at Roy Troutman’s place. Check out the Clustering Cicada fireworks he found.

Cicada Fireworks

Video of “Chirping Cicada” firework by Roy

"Chirping Cicada" firework from Roy Troutman on Vimeo.

Cicada Fireworks

December 31, 2015

19 Articles about Cicadas from 2015

Filed under: Papers and Documents — Dan @ 3:42 pm

Here are 19 articles from scientific journals about cicadas from 2015 that you may have missed.

January:

A review of the cicada genus Kosemia Matsumura (Hemiptera: Cicadidae)

February:

External morphology and calling song characteristics in Tibicen plebejus (Hemiptera: Cicadidae)

The phylogenetic utility of acetyltransferase (ARD1) and glutaminyl tRNA synthetase (QtRNA) for reconstructing Cenozoic relationships as exemplified by the large Australian cicada Pauropsalta generic complex

March:

Cicada genus Pomponia Stål, 1866 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) from Vietnam and Cambodia, with a new species, a new record, and a key to the species

April:

Intraspecific sexual mimicry for finding females in a cicada: males produce ‘female sounds’ to gain reproductive benefit

A new cicada species of the genus Psithyristria Stål, 1870 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Psithyristriini) from Luzon, Philippines, with a key to the 15 species

A redescription of Yoyetta landsboroughi (Distant) and Y. tristrigata (Goding and Froggatt) (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) and description of four new related species

May:

A review of the cicada genus Haphsa Distant from China (Hemiptera: Cicadidae)

Description of two new cicada species of the genus Poviliana Boulard (Insecta: Hemiptera, Cicadoidea, Cicadidae) from New Caledonia

June:

Four new species of cicadas from Papua New Guinea (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae)

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

Cicadidae types (Hemiptera-Cicadomorpha) housed at the Museo de La Plata entomological collection (Argentina)

July:

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)

August:

New species of Simona Moulds, 2012 and Chelapsalta Moulds, 2012 cicadas (Cicadidae: Cicadettinae: Cicadettini) from Australia: comparative morphology, songs, behaviour and distributions

Additional records of cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) to the fauna of Mindanao, Philippines, with the description of three new species and a key to the species of Champaka Distant

September:

Comparative morphology of the distal segments of Malpighian tubules in cicadas and spittlebugs, with reference to their functions and evolutionary indications to Cicadomorpha (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha)

October:

New combinations for six species belonging to Cryptotympanini Handlirsch (Hemiptera: Cicadidae), former members of the genus Tibicen Latreille, 1825

November:

The visual system of the Australian ‘Redeye’ cicada (Psaltoda moerens), Arthropod Structure & Development

Erection of a new genus Biura gen. nov., of the subtribe Aolina (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Dundubiini)

December 24, 2015

Cicada Christmas Lights

Filed under: Christmas — Dan @ 1:58 am

I made cicada Christmas lights using some LED USB Christmas lights, and some plastic cicada whistles from Australia. The song of cicadas heralds the Christmas season in many countries in the southern hemisphere like Australia.

CicadaMania Cicada Christmas Lights from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Cicada Christmas Lights

Here’s the whistles:
Whistles

Bonus Christmas Cicada stuff:

AI Santa Cicada:
AI Santa Cicada

There is a cicada nicknamed the Kobonga Christmas Clanger in Australia (thx David Marshall and Kathy Hill ):

Christmas Clanger Kobanga

How about a cicada Christmas Wreath? This wreath was made by Jenny Pate back in 2004.

Cicada Christmas Wreath made by Jenny Pate.

Or a Cicada Christmas Card from Sam Orr:

Cicada Christmas card

An illustration I made a few years ago:
Cicada Christmas

Christmas Cards:
Christmas Card

Christmas Card

Christmas ornaments made with cicada skins?

Clear Christmas ornaments with cicada exuvia

December 4, 2015

New Zealand Cicada Information

Filed under: Amphipsalta | David Marshall | Kathy Hill | Kikihia | New Zealand — Dan @ 8:39 pm

Old Map of New Zealand

There isn’t a lot of New Zealand cicada information on this website, but I wanted to point you to a few good resources if you are interested:

First, there’s the NEW ZEALAND CICADAS (HEMIPTERA: CICADIDAE): A VIRTUAL IDENTIFICATION GUIDE which features photographs and extensive information about the cicadas of New Zealand. The site has an abundance of information, and a wonderful design & layout.

Second, there’s Cicada Central’s New Zealand Cicada website, which features an electronic field guide of New Zealand Cicada Species, a specimen database, and a photo gallery featuring Kikihia, Amphipsaltas, and Maoricicada.

Third, iNaturalist is an excellent place to discover information about cicadas, and report sightings.

I asked David Marshall of InsectSingers.com, “when does New Zealand cicada season start and end?” His answer essentially is that it depends on the location, elevation, and species, but the best months are between December and April. Interestingly, in certain locations K. muta sing every month of the year.

Read the downloadable article Chorus Cicada, Amphipsalta zelandica (Boisduval), males calling with only wing-clicks by Kathy B. R. Hill, The Weta (2012) 43(1): 15—20, for more information.

Blog Posts

Websites

December 2, 2015

The Smaller Neotibicen

Filed under: Identify | Neotibicen | Tibicen — Dan @ 10:32 pm

This is my third, and possibly final, article on identifying Neotibicen, using the information on this website. Read the other articles, Identifying Neotibicen and Megatibicen (formerly Neotibicen).

Identifying the smaller Neotibicen is no easy task — with two exceptions.

The two easy ones are:

1) Neotibicen superbus, aka the Superb Cicada, because it looks like no other cicada in this group. It is pea green with bright yellow arches on its mesonotum. No other Neotibicen shares that coloration. No other cicada in the group sounds quite like it either.

Neotibicen superbus photo by Sloan Childers from 2005. Round Rock, Texas.
Photo by Sloan Childers from 2005.

2) Neotibicen latifasciatus, aka Coastal Scissors Grinder Cicada, because it has a white X (pruinose) on its back. Otherwise, it looks like four other cicadas, kinda like four more, and sounds like three others.

While I’ve never heard an actual scissor being sharpened with a grinder, it must sound like the repetitive, rhythmic, short grinding sounds like cicada makes. Grind, Grind, Grind, Grind.

Neotibicen latifasciatus from Bill Reynolds collection
Photo by me of Bill Reynolds’ collection.

The rest of the small Neotibicen closely resemble each other enough to make many scratch their heads in wonder. BugGuide.net organizes these cicadas into four groups4: the “Green Tibicen Species” (Tibicen is the old genus name for these cicadas), “Southern Dog-day Cicadas”, “Swamp Cicadas”/”The chloromerus Group”, and the “Lyric Cicadas”/”The lyricen Group”. I’ll use these groups for this article for consistency sake. These groups are also closely related genetically1, although Neotibicen similaris, which BugGuide puts under “Southern Dog-day Cicadas”, is a bit of an outlier1. Tables below might be a bit overwhelming — but they help to accurately align the similarities between these cicadas.

As you browse this page, if you click the cicada’s name you’ll be brought to a page that features more information about that cicada, including sound files, location information, links to other websites, and often more photos and video. When in doubt: visit the BugGuide Dog Day Cicada page.

The Green Neotibicen

These Neotibicen all share green markings on their pronotum, mesonotum, and pronotal collars. Find a Neotibicen with a green collar, and there’s a good chance it is one of these. As you can see, these insects are well camouflaged for adult life in trees.

Green Neotibicen
Photo credits l to r: Roy Trountman, Tom Lehmkuhl , Paul Krombholz, me.

From Davis 1918 =”Dorsum (top) of abdomen shining black with a broad pruinose (white, frosty) mark each side on segment three; blackened area on the underside of abdomen more in the nature of an even stripe”.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. canicularis (Harris, 1841) aka Dog-day Cicada

The canicularis varies the most in terms of coloration. Some are very dark, with more black than green, and others have an even amount of green and black.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. latifasciatus (Davis, 1915) aka Coastal Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada

If the cicada has a white X on its back, it is a latifasciatus.
Repetitive, rhythmic, call – like someone repeatedly running a scissor over a grinding wheel (I suppose).
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. linnei (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Linne’s Cicada

Known for the bend of their wing.

Linne’s cicada’s call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fades back down.
N. tibicen australis
N. tibicen tibicen

It sounds like the N. tibicen species, but unlike them, it calls from high in the trees.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. pruinosus fulvus Beamer, 1924 aka Yellow morph of Scissor Grinder.

This cicada should look like the other cicadas in this table, but its coloring is more yellow than green, like a teneral Scissor Grinder.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna
N. pruinosus pruinosus (Say, 1825) aka Scissor(s) Grinder

The Scissor Grinder looks a lot like Linne’s Cicada but their wing doesn’t have the bend that Linne’s Cicada has. The Scissor Grinder also seems to have more of an orange coloration to the “arches” on its mesonotum.
Its call is like N. latifasciatus, but it is faster paced.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. winnemanna
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna

N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. robinsonianus Davis, 1922 aka Robinson’s Annual Cicada or Robinson’s Cicada

Robinson’s Cicada looks like Linne’s Cicada with less of a wing bend, and a different call.
Its call is kind of like N. latifasciatus, but much more raspy.
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna

N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. winnemanna (Davis, 1912) aka Eastern Scissor(s) Grinder

Like the Scissor Grinder, the Eastern Scissor Grinder seems to have more of an orange hue to the arches on its mesonotum, perhaps even more so than the Scissor Grinder.
Its call is similar to the Scissor Grinder.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi

Neotibicen davisi & canicularis by Paul Krombholz
Neotibicen canicularis (Green Group) and Neotibicen davisi (Southern Dog Day Group) compared. Photo by Paul Krombholz

Southern Dog Day

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. auriferus (Germar, 1834) aka Plains Dog-day Cicada

Coloration varies from rusty browns to greens.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. davisi davisi (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada

The davisi comes in a wide variety of colors: from rusty browns to greens.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi harnedi
N. auriferus
N. davisi harnedi
N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. davisi harnedi Davis, 1918

Looks like Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada but with slight differences in the wings.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi

N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. superbus (Fitch, 1855) aka Superb Dog-Day Cicada

This cicada is the most unique looking: solid green with prominent yellow arches on its back.
Its call is so unique, you’ll have to listen to it and decide what it sounds like.
N. similaris (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Similar Dog-Day Cicada

This cicada is similar to the Neotibicen tibicen species in shape (hump back) and coloring.
N. tibicen tibicen

Swamp Cicadas / Morning Cicadas

Swamp Cicadas are often the easiest cicadas to find because they prefer to stay in the lower branches of trees. Listen for one, and you’ll likely be able to spot it in the tree above you.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. tibicen tibicen (Linnaeus, 1758) aka Swamp Cicada

Swamp Cicadas are are known for their rounded, humped back. Their coloration varies from mostly black & some green to black, brown and green. Their collar is usually black, but can include green.
N. tibicen tibicen – From Davis 1918: “Central area of the abdomen not black beneath, often pruinose, as well as the long opercula. Collar black, often with a greenish spot on each side near the outer angles.”
N. tibicen australis – From Davis 1918: “Central area of the abdomen not black beneath, often pruinose, as well as the long opercula. Collar all green or nearly so, as well as the pronotum and mesonotum.”
Its call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fizzles out.
N. linnei
N. tibicen australis
N. tibicen australis N. similaris
N. tibicen australis (Davis, 1912) aka Southern Swamp Cicada

Southern Swamp Cicadas look like Swamp Cicadas, but they are more colorful. Their collars are often green & black.
Its call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fizzles out.
N. linnei
N. tibicen tibicen
N. tibicen tibicen N. similaris

Lyric compared to Swamp Cicada

Swamp and Lyric Cicada
Top: Swamp Cicada; Bottom: Lyric Cicada. Note the more rounded shape of the Swamp Cicada’s mesonotum, and its green eyes; and the flatter shape of the Lyric cicada’s mesonotum, and its black eyes. Photo by me.

Lyric Cicadas

The Lyric Cicadas all look physically similar, but their coloration is unique enough to tell them apart. They usually have brown/black collars, which makes it easy to tell them apart from the “Green” Neotibicen. They also resemble the Swamp Cicadas, but Lyric cicadas have flatter mesonotums.

Two Dark Lyric Cicadas on Left, and a Lyric Cicada on the Right.
Lyric cicadas compared
Photos L or R: Dan M, Roy Troutman, Dan M.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. lyricen engelhardt (Davis, 1910) aka Dark Lyric Cicada

The Dark Lyric Cicadas have the darkest coloration of all the Lyric cicadas. Their mesonotum is almost entirely dark brown/black. They have a “soda-pop pull-tab” or keyhole shape on their pronotum.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen lyricen
N. lyricen virescens
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen lyricen
N. lyricen virescens
N. lyricen lyricen (De Geer, 1773) aka Lyric Cicada

The Lyric cicada, like most small Neotibicen, has a green, black & brown camouflage look, but the key is Lyric cicadas typically have black collars.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens
N. lyricen virescens Davis, 1935 aka Coastal Lyric Cicada

The Coastal Lyric cicadas can be distinguished from other Lyric cicadas by their vibrant turquoise-green colors.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen lyricen
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens

1Molecular 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) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219—251. Link to PDF.

3 Cicadas of the United States and Canada East of the 100th Meridian.

4Bug Guide.net’s Dog Day Cicadas Page.

###

I will update & augment this article over time.

For more information about these cicadas, visit the North American Cicadas page .

November 29, 2015

The Large Megatibicen (formerly Neotibicen)

Filed under: Identify | Megatibicen — Dan @ 6:45 pm

Note: in the past few years, larger members if the Megatibicen genus were moved into MegatibiceM.

The physically larger Megatibicen (formerly Megatibicen) are closely genetically related 1, as well as being physically larger. BugGude.net breaks this group into three categories: “the auletes group” (M. auletes, M. resh, M. resonans, M. figuratus), “the pronotalis group” (M. dealbatus, M. pronotalis, M. cultriformis) and “the dorsatus group” (M. dorsatus, M. tremulus)2.

Tibicens of the Eastern USA
Large Megatibicen cicadas are arranged along the top row in this photo by cicada researcher Kathy Hill. Note the “T.” in their names stands for the older genus name “Tibicen”.

Let’s compare them based on their visual and audio characteristics.

4 Megatibicen
Photo credits l to r: Paul Krombholz, me (from Bill Reynolds’ collection), Paul Krombholz, Joe GreeM.

Click the names of the cicadas to listen to their songs, find their geographic range, and to see more images and video.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Notes
Megatibicen grossus
aka Northern Dusk Singing Cicada formerly M. auletes
M. resh, M. resonans, M. figuratus Largest Megatibicen; olive to tan, brown, black & white pruinosity. No distinct markings. Sings at dusk.
Megatibicen resh (Haldeman, 1852)
aka Resh Cicada
M. auletes, M. resonans, M. figuratus Smaller green Megatibicen Distinctive resh (ר) markings on mesontum. Its call is like a sped-up, shorter version of M. auletes’ call.
Megatibicen resonans (Walker, 1850)
aka Southern Resonant/Great Pine Barrens Cicada
M. auletes, M. resh, M. figuratus M. figuratus Brown, black & white pruinosity distinctively present within curves of the cruciform elevation Its call is like a bland version of the M. resh call.
Megatibicen figuratus (Walker, 1858)
aka Fall Southeastern Dusk-singing Cicada
M. auletes, M. resh, M. resonans M. resonans Brown, black & with pruinosity. Its call has more character than M. figuratus, but is not as sonically impressive as M. auletes.

pronotalis dealbatus dorstus

Photo credits l to r: Roy Troutman, me (from Bill Reynolds’ collection), Bill Lesar.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Notes
Megatibicen dealbatus (Davis, 1915) M. pronotalis walkeri, M. pronotalis pronotalis Orange form looks like M. dorsatus & tremulus, but “stripes” on abdomen of dealbatus are unique. Primarily either orange/rust or pea green, brown, black with heavy pruninosity which forms distinct markings on dorsal side of body. Dorsal side has two black stripes framed by three areas of pruinosity.
Megatibicen pronotalis pronotalis Davis, 1938 M. dealbatus, M. pronotalis walkeri M. pronotalis walkeri Tan or pea green, brown, black, and sometimes white pruinose. Wing color matches dominant color of body. Often features a black marking on pronotum3.
Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri Metcalf, 1955
aka Walker’s Cicada
M. dealbatus, M. pronotalis pronotalis M. pronotalis pronotalis Tan or pea green, brown, black, and sometimes white pruinose. Wing color matches dominant color of body. Typically lacks a black marking on its pronotum.
Megatibicen cultriformis (Davis, 1915)
aka Grand Western Flood Plain Cicada
Orange/rust, black & pruinosity on head & body. Wings are green! Found only in Arizona and New Mexico.
Megatibicen dorsatus (Say, 1825)
aka Bush Cicada or Grand Western or Giant Grassland Cicada
M. tremulus M. tremulus, the Orange form of M. dealbatus (although tremulus lacks pruinose “stripes”) Rust/orange, black & white pruinosity, which forms distinct markings, such as a line of white dots down the dorsal side of the abdomeM.
Megatibicen tremulus Cole, 2008
aka Bush Cicada
M. dorsatus M. dorsatus, the Orange form of M. dealbatus (although tremulus lacks pruinose “stripes”). Rust/orange, black & white pruinosity, which forms distinct markings, such as a line of white dots down the dorsal side of the abdomeM. The pitch of the tremulus’ call is different than dorsatus, which is one way to tell them apart.

I will update this page over time to clarify & improve the information. I hope it helps.

1 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) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219—251. Link to PDF.

2 Species Megatibicen auletes http://bugguide.net/node/view/6968.

3 Cicadas of the United States and Canada
East of the 100th Meridian http://insectsingers.com/100th_meridian_cicadas/index.html.

November 23, 2015

Identifying Neotibicen Cicadas

Filed under: Identify | Neotibicen | Tibicen — Dan @ 8:12 pm

Possibly the best resource for identifying Neotibicen cicadas (and some Megatibicen) is William T. Davis’ Key to Species of the Genus Tibicen found in the Southeastern United States. It applies to a lot of the Northeast and Midwest as well. I updated it to include modern names for the cicadas, photos, and links to more information for each of the cicadas.

Resources

The other best sources for identifying Neotibicen, are:

  • Insect Singers for audio recordings of cicada songs.
  • The work of Bill Reynolds and others on BugGuide.net, for example, the Info page for N. pruinosus. BugGuide is particularly useful for getting a cicada identified — you upload a photo, and they identify it. You can also try to figure it out yourself by browsing their catalog of images.
  • The recent paper 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) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219—251. (link to the paper). This paper is useful for understanding the morphology of Neotibicen as well as how the various species are genetically related.
  • Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips. (Download PDF). This document is particularly useful for locations.
  • The Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of N. America North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath. (the book is available here)
  • INaturalist provides visual guidence, as well as having where and when cicadas are found.

You can also use this website as a resource: the Cicada Species of North America.

Terminology

  • Eyes: Neotibicen have 5 eyes, but for the purposes of identification, the two big, composite eyes are most important.
  • Mask: a mask, in terms of cicadas, is a dark band between their eyes. Not all cicadas have this, but when they do, it can be useful for identification.
    Mask
  • Pronotum: the dorsal surface of the first segment of the thorax. The word means “before back” in Greek.
  • Pronotal Collar or simply Collar: a collar-like band that separates the head and thorax. Colors and a break in the color, can be useful to diagnose species,
    Pronotal Color Break
  • Mesonotum: a shield-shaped structure that covers the dorsal side of the second segment of the thorax. The name means “middle shield” in Greek. This is where the arches or “M” or “W”, as Davis called it, appears on the cicada.
  • Cruciform Elevation or “X”: a cross-shaped structure found on the dorsal side at the end of the thorax
  • Pruinose: a white, waxy substance found on the bodies of many cicadas. Pruinosity refers to the degree to which the cicada’s body features pruinose.
  • Costal Margin & Wing Shape in general: The costal margin is the outer edge of the cicada’s forewing. The shape of the wing can help you diagnose the species. Wing Bend
  • Abdomen: The third, last and final portion of the cicada’s body (1st: head, 2nd: thorax, 3rd: abdomen).
  • Dorsal: The top side of the cicada.
  • Ventral: The bottom side of the cicada — where the legs are.
  • Teneral: Teneral means soft, and in the case of cicadas, it refers to the adult cicada when it has recently molted and is still soft/unsclerotized/unhardened.
  • Song: Neotibicen males sing using their tybmals, which are drum-like organs located in their abdomen.

Cicada Anatomy

Those are the resources and terminology — now on to the challenges.

Rules are not absolute

Sometimes a diagnostic characteristic is fool-proof for the majority of identifications, but in some cases, it fails.

Example: N. lyricen typically have black collars, but not 100% of the time. You might find a lyricen with a green collar, and think it is an N. linnei.

Hybridization

Neotibicen like canicularis, linnei, pruinosus, robinsonianus & winnemanna, are closely related, and cicada researchers have found evidence that they hybridize, based on hybrid songs or mixed characteristics.

See Bill Reynolds’ information on hybrids on BugGuide.

Live vs. Dead

Dead specimens lose color over time. Eyes lose color. Vibrant greens become dull. Dull greens become yellow or brown. Keep that in mind.

Teneral vs Adult

When cicadas molt, and their bodies as still soft, they are often lighter in color and the markings on their skin are not clearly defined.

2 hours of change

Some previous articles about identifying teneral Neotibicen:

Lighting

Photograph the same cicada in direct sunlight, indoors with a flash, or without a flash under fluorescent lighting, and it might appear different each time.

The eyes, in particular, look different under different lighting conditions.

Name changes

The names of all plants and animals change over time, for several reasons. An old book or paper about Neotibicen might feature names that have completely changed. Neotibicen tibicen tibicen, for example, was called Tibicen chloromera not long ago.

See major changes to the Tibicen genera for information about the recent change from Tibicen to Neotibicen. I haven’t had to the time to update all the Tibicens to Neotibicens on this website — someday I will.

And in case you wanted to know:

How to tell if a Neotibicen is a male or female:

male and female cicadas compared

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The next article will discuss the Larger Neotibicen species.

October 31, 2015

The 2015 Brood XXIII Emergence Revisited

Filed under: Brood XXIII | Magicicada — Dan @ 5:40 pm

Both Brood XXIII and Brood IV Magicicada periodical cicadas emerged in 2015. It was my plan to go on an epic road trip, see both broods, and report and document everything. I was able to cover a lot of ground, but thanks to cool or atrocious weather, I completely missed Brood IV, and much of Brood XXIII.

The most difficult thing about planning an epic cicada vacation is timing it right. It really depends on the luck of the draw. Cicada behavior depends on the weather, and since we cannot predict the weather months, weeks, or sometimes days in advance, it is difficult to guess exactly which weeks to plan a vacation.

These cicadas like nice weather: dry, sunny, preferably in the high 70s or 80s. If it is too cold, they won’t emerge. If it is too cool, they won’t sing, making it hard to find them when traveling along the highway, because we need to hear them to find them. If the weather is absolutely abysmal, like it was in Texas this year, I’m not even going to try to look for them; I like cicadas a lot, but they aren’t worth having my car washed into a roadside ravine.

That said, I did get to hear and see a lot of Magicicadas, so I’m not complaining.

I traveled through the following states:

Mississippi: ✔️Plenty of cicadas. I heard three 13-year Magicicada species in Jackson, Mississippi, in the woods behind the Mississippi Museum of Natural History.
Louisiana: ❌ I heard no cicadas. Bad/cool weather.
Texas: ❌ I saw the storm clouds, and headed back to Arkansas.
Arkansas: ❌ I heard no cicadas. More bad/cool weather.
Tennesse: ✔️ Plenty of cicadas North of Memphis.
Kentucky: ✔️Plenty of cicadas in the Land Between the Lakes area.
Illinois: ✔️An amazing amount of cicadas in the Giant City State Park area, including all four 13-year Magicicada species.
Indiana: ✔️ A couple exuvia/skins at a welcome center.

Note that the ❌ does not mean that cicadas did not appear in those states this year. It just means I did not see them because of weather conditions & timing.

This is a map of my cicada sightings:
2015 Roadtrip

Visit my 2015 Brood XXIII gallery, to see more photos like this:

Male Female and Male Magicicada tredecim

Some specimens:

Magicicada specimens

Some videos:

Cicadas in Giant City Park in Illinois:

Cicadas in the Land Between the Lakes Area in Kentucky:

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