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July 15, 2021

Hieroglyphic cicada locations in New Jersey

Filed under: Megatibicen | Neocicada — Tags: , — Dan @ 6:56 am

Hieroglyphic cicadas (Neocicada hieroglyphica aka Hieroglyphic Cicada) are present in most of southern New Jersey, particularly the Pine Barrens area which has sandy soil (pure sand in a lot of places) and many pine and oak trees. This area is historically prone to fires because of the dry sandy soil and sappy pines. The fact that at least some Hieroglyphic appear every year and spend many years underground probably helps them circumvent minor fires.

Here’s a photo of a Hieroglyphic and Northern Dusk-Singing Cicada exuvia (shed skin). Quite a difference! Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.
Auletes and Hieroglyphic

Some Locations:

  • Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. Website. This is the best location I’ve found. Pine & oak forests with huckleberry undergrowth. Sandy soil. A good place to record and study their calls, as there is minimal interference from the general public. Exuvia of Hieroglyphic, Northern Dusk-Singing Cicada, and Neotibicen cicadas was easily found.
  • 1900 NJ-70, Manchester Township, NJ. This is a strip mall with a good pizza restaurant (Pop’s), a bar, and a breakfast restaurant. The mall is surrounded by pines and oaks and is a good place for hearing Hieroglyphic and Northern Dusk-Singing Cicadas, as well as some Neotibicen.
  • 1936 Wildland Firefighter Memorial. 151-195 Greenbush Rd. Little Egg Harbor Twp, NJ. An interesting park that features the ruins of some buildings, and the typical combination of sandy soil, pine, oak, and huckleberry. Hieroglyphic cicadas were heard calling on pine trees. I believe this location is within Bass River State Forest.
  • Batso Village. Website. 31 Batsto Rd, Hammonton, NJ 08037. Batso Village is a large recreating of the Batso Village which produced iron and glass in the 18th century. It offers 3 or 4 trails that feature groves of pine trees inhabited by Hieroglyphic cicadas.
  • Franklin Parker Preserve. Website. Chatsworth Lake Entrance, 1450 County Rd 532, Chatsworth, NJ 08019. Some blackjack oak and sassafrass, but the forest is mostly pine. Hieroglphic cicadas are present and audible. The exuvia of small Neotibicen were present, and either N. canicularis or N. davisi are audible (I wouldn’t tell which).

All these areas are heavily infested with ticks, deer flies, and in some cases, mosquitos. Take precaution.

April 4, 2020

Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834) aka Northern Dusk Singing Cicada

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Megatibicen | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 7:53 am

Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834) aka Northern Dusk Singing Cicada.

Dorsal view. Neotibicen auletes female Manchester NJ

⭢ All Megatibicen auletes photos and information on (there is a lot)!

Song type: Call

Source: ©Insect Singers | Species: M. auletes


Video Playlist

Playlists contain multiple videos found on YouTube.

Name, Location and Description


Its song is monotonous in tone and not loud, considering the size
of the insect. It often commences to sing late in the afternoon and continues off and on until dark.

A. Large, heavy bodied species ; head broad, uncus simple, and first cross vein in the fore wings starting from radius 3 far back, or about one third distant from base of first marginal cell.

BB. Uncus broad at the base, triangular in shape and generally about as broad as long. Opercula broad and rounded at the extremities; no definite black area on the central part of the abdomen beneath, usually unicolorus.

EE. Wings broad, hind margin of the pronotum or collar green or greenish and more than 2 mm. broad.

F. Anal cells or membranes at base of fore and hind wings gray. Dorsal segments of the abdomen not margined with brown ; in fresh specimens the basal segments pruinose, also the terminal segments, leaving the four middle segments black. A large species expanding over 110 mm.

A comparison of teneral (soft) and sclerotized (hard) M. auletes

Teneral Auletes
Photo by Paul Krombholz.


Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
Subtribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Megatibicen
Species: Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834)

List of sources

  1. Davis, W.T. 1919. MISSISSIPPI CICADAS, WITH A KEY TO THE SPECIES OF THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES. Journal of the New York Entomological Society, Vol. XXVI, Nos. 3-4. Read on
  2. Full Binomial Names:
  3. Common names:; The Songs of Insects by Lang Elliott and Wil Herschberger; personal memory.
  4. Locations: Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips.
  5. Descriptions, Colors: personal observations from specimens or photos from many sources. Descriptions are not perfect, but may be helpful.


  • Some descriptions are based on aged specimens which have lost some or a lot of their color.

March 28, 2020

2018 Megatibicen auletes hunt

Filed under: Elias Bonaros | Megatibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 8:14 am

Each year I go to Manchester, NJ to look for Megatibicen auletes aka Northern Dusk-Singing Cicadas. There are auletes in my zipcode, but they’re easier to find in the southern-half of New Jersey. The location is a favorite of Elias Bonaros’, and more times than not we sync-up and go auletes hunting as a team. Good times.

Two auletes are better than one:

M. auletes nymph:

M. auletes exit hole:
Neotibicen auletes exit hole

Megatibicen auletes in Manchester NJ:
Megatibicen auletes in Manchester NJ

Megatibicen auletes exuvia in Manchester NJ:
Megatibicen auletes exuvia in Manchester NJ

Megatibicen auletes climbing tree:
Megatibicen auletes climbing tree

March 24, 2020

Megatibicen auletes

Filed under: Bill Reynolds | Cryptotympanini | Megatibicen | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 9:11 pm

Megatibicen auletes from Bill Reynolds’ collection. A lot of cicadas! People send Bill cicadas from all over the U.S., because he’s a renowned cicada expert, and his collection grows and grows. Lucky guy.

Neotibicen auletes from Bill Reynolds collection

Neotibicen auletes from Bill Reynolds collection

March 15, 2020

An assortment of cicada photos from Joe Green

Filed under: Joe Green — Tags: , — Dan @ 4:42 pm

An assortment of cicada photos from Joe Green. 2009. Florida.

Neocicada hieroglyphica:
Neocicada hieroglyphica by Joe Green. Florida. 2009.

Cicada exuvia:
Cicada exuvia. Photo by Joe Green. 2009. Florida.

Cicada exuvia:
Cicada exuvia by Joe Green. 2009. Florida.

Cicada nymph:
Cicada nymph by Joe Green. 2009. Florida.

Megatibicen auletes:
Teneral Megatibicen auletes. Photo by Joe Green. Florida. 2009.

Various Megatibicen and Neotibicen compared

This image was created by Paul Krombholz back when Megatibicen and Neotibicen were just Tibicen.

Tibicen composite by Paul Krombholz

Top row, left to right:
Neotibicen davisi (formerly Tibicen davisi)
Megatibicen auletes (formerly Tibicen auletes)
Megatibicen figuratus (formerly Tibicen figurata)
Megatibicen pronotalis (formerly Tibicen marginalis)

Bottom row, left to right:
Neotibicen tibicen tibicen (formerly Tibicen chloromera)
Neotibicen pruinosus (formerly Tibicen pruinosa)
Neotibicen lyricen (formerly Tibicen lyricen)

February 29, 2020

Squashed Megatibicen auletes

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Megatibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 4:36 pm

Squashed Megatibicen auletes. Not sure who stepped on it. It’s an interesting look at its anatomy.

Poor smashed Megatibicen auletes.

Megatibicen auletes found in Winston-Salem, NC by Erin Dickinson

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Megatibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 4:19 pm

Megatibicen auletes found in Winston-Salem, NC by Erin Dickinson. The year was 2011. The cicada’s name was Mortimer. No kidding.

Megatibicen auletes found in Winston-Salem, NC by Erin Dickinson. 2011.

Megatibicen auletes found in Winston-Salem, NC by Erin Dickinson. 2011.

September 3, 2018

Looking for adult cicadas at night

Filed under: Community Science | FAQs | Neotibicen — Tags: , , — Dan @ 8:25 am

Nighttime is often the best time to find cicadas.

Nymphs, generally speaking, emerge soon after sunset. When I look for nymphs, I wait until sunset and start looking around tree roots and on tree trunks. Sometimes it takes hours, but usually, I find one (or many).

Cicada Nymph:
Neotibicen auletes nymph

Adult cicadas are easiest to find on hot, humid nights in well-lit areas like parking lots and the sides of buildings. You will find them clinging to illuminated walls and crawling on sidewalks. They end up on the ground, often because they fly into the wall and stun themselves. On a hot humid night — 85F or above — I’ll find an excuse (usually frozen desserts) to check the walls of the local supermarket for cicadas.

Cicadas, like many insects, are attracted to (or confused by) lights. There are many theories as to why insects are attracted to lights, and the reasons why probably vary by species. My guess (and this is just a guess) is that cicadas can’t tell day from night, or daylight (sun) from artificial lights, and so they think they’re using light to navigate away from a dark area (a tree trunk, dense brush), and then get very confused because they never seem to get anywhere once they reach the source of the light. I wish I could ask a cicada why.

Prime nighttime cicada location: a well-lit building and macadam parking lot:
Nighttime prime cicada location

Cicadas can damage their skin and innards by fling into and bouncing off walls:
Nightime N linnei with wound

A Neotibicen tibicen clinging to a cinderblock wall:
Nighttime N tibicen on wall

A Megatibicen auletes crawling on an illuminated sidewalk:
Megatibicen auletes in Manchester NJ

If you go looking for cicadas at night, make sure you have permission to be where you plan to look. Don’t trespass, and have respect for other people’s property.

May 13, 2018

What is the largest cicada?

Filed under: FAQs — Tags: , , — Dan @ 8:41 am

The largest known cicada is the Megapomponia imperatoria (Westwood, 1842) of south-east Asia. The specimen in the photo below was captured in Malaysia and it’s wingspan measured 20 centimters/7.9 inches. Other species might be larger in terms of weight, but I’m not sure.

Megapomponia imperatoria
Photo of a Megapomponia imperatoria (formerly Pomponia imperatoria) by Michel Chantraine.

Other very large cicadas include the Bear Cicada of Japan (Cryptotympana facialis), and Tacua speciosa of south-east Asia.

Tacua speciosa (Illger, 1980) photos from Malaysia. The author of the image wishes to be anonymous.
Tacua speciosa from Malaysia by anonymous photographer.

The largest cicada in North America is the Megatibicen auletes:

Megatibicen auletes, the largest cicada in North America
Northern Dusk-Singing Cicadas aka Megatibicen auletes. Photo by me.

These very large cicadas are loud, but not the loudest. Learn about loud cicadas.

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