I had virtually no time in the summer of 2023 to look for cicadas outside my town. Also in 2023, the name of Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834) aka Northern Dusk Singing Cicada changed to Megatibicen grossus. While I was not lucky enough to see a Megatibicen grossus, I did find exuvia (molted skins), a headless corpse and some exit holes in late August in the Brendan Byrne park in New Jersey. Something is better than nothing.
October 20, 2023
March 27, 2022
Here’s a video of a Megatibicen auletes cicada singing at dusk in Brendan T Byrne State Park in New Jersey on July 15th, 2021.
July 15, 2021
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 cicadas 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.
- 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 were easily found. Hieroglyphic Cicada choruses were very loud in the middle of the month (7/10-15), but by 7/31 very few were audible — look for them in late June, or early July.
- 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 recreation 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 18, 2020
Davis provided a key of cicadas that belong to the then genus Tibicen in his 1918 article Mississippi Cicadas, with a Key to the Species of the Southeastern United States from volume 26 of the Journal of The New York Entomological Society. Download it from archive.org. This guide works for the Northeast and Midwest as well.
Since 1918, genus and some species names have changed, so I’m going to present the key here, with highlighted notes on the updated names + images (when I have them). I’ll try to replicate the formatting of the original document as best I can.
Key to Species of the Genus Tibicen found in the Southeastern United States [works for most states east of the Rocky Mountains].
Note: the cicadas in the key are now organized in three genera: Neotibicen (A B), Megatibicen (A BB), and Diceroprocta (AA).
A. Large, heavy-bodied species; head broad, uncus [male genitals] simple, and first cross vein in the fore wings starting from radius 3 far back or about one-third distant from base of the first marginal cell.
B. Uncus longer than broad. Black species with green or greenish markings and black area on the central part of the abdomen beneath, except in sayi [sayi = Neotibicen tibicen tibicen], and new variety of davisi [new variety of davisi = Neotibicen davisi harnedi].
Note: this group of cicadas (B) are now organized under the genus Neotibicen, not Tibicen.
C. Hind margin of pronotum or collar, green or greenish.
A narrow irregular area of black on the under side of the abdomen; opercula short and broad, and usually in the males an attenuated, pruinose [frosty white] stripe each side on the dorsum of segment three … pruinosa (Say). [pruinosa = Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus].
Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus photo by Paul Krombholz.
Dorsum of abdomen with the hind margin of the segments more or less brown and generally but a trace of pruinose stripe each side on segment three … pruinosa var. winnemanna (Davis) [pruinosa var. winnemanna = Neotibicen winnemanna].
[Generally speaking, east of the Appalachian mountains, you’ll find Neotibicen winnemanna, and west, it’s Neotibicen pruinosus.]
Photo of a Neotibicen winnemanna.
Dorsum of abdomen shining black with a broad pruinose mark each side on segment three; blackened area on under side of abdomen more in the nature of an even stripe … pruinosa var latifasciata (Davis) [pruinosa var. latifasciata = Neotibicen latifasciatus].
Photo of a Neotibicen latifasciatus.
A longitudinal band of black on the under side of the abdomen, the opercula more lobate, and the margin of the front wings suddenly bent near the middle … linnei (Smith & Grossbeck) [linnei = Neotibicen linnei].
Photo of a Neotibicen linnei.
A definite longitudinal band of black on the under side of the abdomen; head with the front rather prominent. Not a large species … canicularis (Harris) [canicularis = Neotibicen canicularis].
Photo of a Neotibicen canicularis.
An irregular band of black on the under side of the abdomen, head rounded in front; a rather small species … davisi (Smith & Grossbeck) [davisi = Neotibicen davisi davisi].
Abdomen greenish centrally on under side, blackened area wanting, marginal cells of fore wings clouded … davisi var. harnedi new variety [davisi var. harnedi = Neotibicen davisi harnedi].
CC. Hind margin of pronotum or collar black or nearly so (except in sayi var. australis).
D. Central area of the abdomen beneath black.
Opercula long and with the legs usually somewhat chest- nut colored ; the uncus when seen in profile forked, resembling the open mouth of a snake … similaris (Smith & Grossbeck) [similaris = Neotibicen similaris similaris].
Opercula much shorter, more rounded, and the black area on the under side of the abdomen in the nature of an even stripe. Uncus not forked … lyricen (De Geer) [lyricen = Neotibicen lyricen lyricen].
Photo of a Neotibicen lyricen lyricen.
Blacker than typical lyricen, lacking the considerable amount of fulvous markings on the pronotum and mesonotum. A fulvous somewhat anchor-shaped mark centrally on the pronotum … lyricen var. engelhardti (Davis) [lyricen var. engelhardti = Neotibicen lyricen engelhardti].
Photo of a Neotibicen lyricen engelhardti.
DD. Central area of the abdomen not black beneath, often pruinose, as well as the long opercula.
Collar black, often with a greenish spot each side near the outer angles. … sayi (Smith & Grossbeck) [sayi = Neotibicen tibicen tibicen].
Photo of two Neotibicen tibicen tibicen.
Collar all green or nearly so, as well as the pronotum and mesonotum … sayi var. australis (Davis) [sayi = Neotibicen tibicen australis].
BB. The uncus is 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.
Note: this group of cicadas (BB) are now organized under the genus Megatibicen, not Tibicen.
E. Wings long and narrow, collar 2 mm. or less in breadth at central portions ; dorsum of abdomen black or nearly so.
Basal cell of fore wings rusty in color, anal cells (membranes) of both pair of wings gray; usually expands 110 mm. or more … resonans (Walker) [resonans = Megatibicen resonans].
Photo of a Megatibicen resonans by Joe Green.
Basal cell of fore wings often black or nearly so, anal cells of both pair of wings yellowish. Expands about 100 mm … figurata (Walker) [figurata = Megatibicen figuratus].
Photo of a Megatibicen figuratus by Paul Krombholz.
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. … auletes (Germar) [auletes = Megatibicen auletes].
Photo of a Megatibicen auletes.
FF. Anal cells or membranes at base of fore and hind wings light orange, two prominent marks on the mesonotum resembling the Hebrew letter resh inverted.
Fore wings with the first and second cross veins clouded, and the dorsum of the abdomen brownish or brownish black … resh (Haldeman) [resh = Megatibicen resh].
Photo of a Megatibicen resh.
Fore wings with the first and second cross veins but faintly or not at all clouded and the abdominal segments margined posteriorly with brown. In fresh specimens there is usually a median row of white spots on the dorsum of the abdomen … marginalis (Walker) [marginalis = Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri].
Photo of a Megatibicen pronotalis walkeri by Roy Troutman.
AA. Small species; wings starting from about the middle of the first marginal cell.
Note: this group of cicadas (AA) are now organized under the genus Diceroprocta, not Tibicen.
G. First and second cross veins of fore wings clouded.
Expanse of wings about 90 mm … biconica (Walker) [biconica = Diceroprocta biconica].
Expanse of wings about 60 mm … olympusa (Walker) [olympusa = Diceroprocta olympusa].
Photo of a Diceroprocta olympusa by Joe Green.
GG. First and second cross veins of fore wings not clouded, wings clear throughout and expanding about 70 mm.
Head rather large, front rounded, collar greenish or yellowish and contrasted in color rather sharply with the brown and black of pronotum and mesonotum … viridifascia (Walker) [viridifascia = Diceroprocta viridifascia].
Head proportionately smaller than in the last ; front more pro- truding;- collar not so contrastingly colored and fore wings narrower … vitripennis (Say) [vitripennis = Diceroprocta vitripennis].
Diceroprocta vitripennis photo by Paul Krombholz.
and that’s all folks…
April 4, 2020
Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834) aka Northern Dusk Singing Cicada.
FYI, the name of this cicada is changing to Megatibicen grossa (Fabricius, 1775). See: Sanborn, A.F. (2023) Resolving taxonomic issues of cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) including new combinations, new synonymies, and revised status, with updates on the diversity of the Brazilian cicada fauna and new records for four South American countries. Zootaxa, VOL. 5318 NO. 3: 20 JUL. 2023, 339-362. DOI: 10.11646/ZOOTAXA.5318.3.2
See all Megatibicen auletes photos and information on cicadamania.com (there is a lot)!
Song type: Call
Source: ©Insect Singers | Species: M. auletes
Playlists contain multiple videos found on YouTube.
Name, Location and Description
- Cicada Name: Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834)
- Short Name: M. auletes
- Common Name: Northern Dusk Singing Cicada
- Synonym/Former Name: Tibicen auletes
- When: July-September. Peaks in August.
- Where it is found: AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI
- Maps: Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico [PDF]
- Description: The largest North American cicada. Olive green to rusty brown with black, tan and white coloring. Heavy white pruinosis. M on mesonotum typically partially ocluded by pruinosis. Sings at dusk.
- Eye Color: gray / beige
- Pronotal Collar Color: olive or rusty brown
- Identification: Bug Guide
- Identification: iNaturalist
- Identification: Bill Reynolds on iNaturalist
- Subject Matter Expert website: Cicada Central
- Image: Insect Images
- Taxonomic Information: Integrated Taxonomic Information System
- Song: Insect Singers
Song and morphological descriptions by Wm. T. Davis from MISSISSIPPI CICADAS, WITH A KEY TO THE SPECIES OF THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES1
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
Species: Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834)
List of sources
- 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 archive.org
- Full Binomial Names: ITIS.gov
- Common names: BugGuide.net; The Songs of Insects by Lang Elliott and Wil Herschberger; personal memory.
- Locations: Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips.
- 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
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:
Megatibicen auletes in Manchester NJ:
Megatibicen auletes exuvia in Manchester NJ:
Megatibicen auletes climbing tree:
March 24, 2020
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.
March 15, 2020
An assortment of cicada photos from Joe Green. 2009. Florida.
This image was created by Paul Krombholz back when Megatibicen and Neotibicen were just Tibicen.
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. Not sure who stepped on it. It’s an interesting look at its anatomy.