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February 5, 2015

Visualizing all periodical cicada broods

Isn’t this a lovely picture (updated with colors sorted)?

All Broods

This image represents the combined range of all Magicicada periodical cicada broods, including the extinct Broods XI (last recorded in Connecticut) and XXI (last recorded in Florida).

To produce this image, I visited John Cooley’s Magicicada.org Cicada Geospacial Data Clearinghouse and downloaded the Shapefile of Magicicada broods. Then I used the computer program QGIS to change the Shapefile to a KML file, and then I opened the file in Google Earth. Credit goes to John for pulling the data together into the Shapefile.

I manually edited the KML file to try to give each Brood a different color.

An interesting area is Fredrick County, where 5 different broods seem to exist (or have existed) at once.
Fredrick County VA

Peach = Brood I
Green = Brood II
Purple = Brood V
Cyan = Brood X
Red = Brood XIV

It’s also interesting that four of the broods are separated by four years: X, XIV, I, V.

November 20, 2014

Magicicada cassini singing on hand

Filed under: Brood XIV,Magicicada,Roy Troutman,Sounds,Video — Tags: — Dan @ 8:48 am

From Roy Troutman: “I shot a video back in 1991 of a 17 year Magicicada cassini singing right on my hand.”

Magicicada cassini singing on hand from Roy Troutman.

November 19, 2014

Magicicada cassini calls, chorusing & responses to finger snaps

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Sounds,Video — Tags: — Dan @ 8:00 am

During the Brood II emergence in 2013, Elias Bonaros, Roy Troutman and I spent some time experimenting with coercing male Magicicada to call in response to finger snaps, which mimic the snap of a female cicada’s wings. This trick works fairly well with Magicicada, and can quickly be mastered once you work out the timing. Fingers, wall switches, and the zoom button on my Sony video camera do a good job at mimicking the snap of a females wings.

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps.

I also recorded their calls in terms of decibels to see just how loud they could get. They can get very loud, but not as loud as a rock concert (see this db chart).

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db.

December 22, 2013

M. cassini in Connecticut

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical — Tags: — Dan @ 5:53 pm

A news story came out in November reporting that M. cassini appeared in areas of Connecticut where they were not expected during the Brood II emergence this year. This must have been a 2013 highlight for cicada researchers in the Connecticut area.

June 23, 2013

New York is still loaded with cicadas

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 7:51 pm

New York cicadas If you want to see and hear the Brood II cicadas, play hookey this week, and head on up the Hudson Valley in New York State. DO IT! It’s your last chance until 2030 (unless you want to see Brood III and XXII next year).

Today I took an eight-hour road trip along the Hudson River in NY. I hit Palisades Interstate Park, Bear Mountain, Cold Springs, virtually every town along Rte 9G and 199, Germantown, Hudson, and Woodstock.

Cold Spring and Woodstock were a little disappointing, though their downtowns seemed like nice places to visit (no time for human fun when you’re tracking cicadas). The east side of the Hudson River was definitely more active than the west side, although I did hear cicada choruses along Interstate 87 between exit 18 and 16.

Here are my favorite locations. The first one is pure gold.

Rt 199
A rest stop for cars.
Rhinebeck NY 12572
41.972693,-73.915277
Loads of ‘decims and cassini. Cassini could be picked off the low lying trees like grapes. ‘Decims hugged trees by the 100’s. Best spot of the day.

130 Main street by the river.
Germantown, NY 12526
42.134975,-73.897069
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims and cassini on low vegetation.

400 New York 308
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
41.938882,-73.88215
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims in low lying trees.

Dutchess Mall, ironically near a big box hardware store that will remain nameless
Fishkill, NY
41.515125,-73.892328
Cassini and ‘decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees. Very active and feisty.

Tiorati Brook Rd
Stony Point, NY 10980
41.252589,-74.055829
‘Decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees.


Some video and audio from the New York emergence:

Periodical cicadas at a rest stop in Rhinebeck NY:

Magicicada septendecim in Stony Point NY:

Magicicada cassini Court II and III NY Brood II 2013:

June 8, 2013

Roy Troutman’s 2013 Brood II cicada photos

When Roy Troutman visited New Jersey last week he took a lot of great cicada photos. Here is a sample of the best.

Click these photos to see larger versions of the photos:

This first photo is particularly interesting, because you can see the Magicicada cassini in flight between their calls:

Magicicada cassini flying inbetween calling in Colonia NJ by Roy Troutman

Magicicada nymph:

Cicada Nymph by Roy Troutman

Magicicada undergoing ecdysis:

Magicicada undergoing ecdysis by Roy Troutman

M. septendecim:

M septendecim by Roy Troutman 2

Teneral Magicicada:

Teneral Magicada by Roy Troutman

Mustard-colored eyes:

Mustard eyed Magicicada septendecim by Roy Troutman

Magicicada with exuvia:

Magicicada with Exuvia by Roy Troutman

Magicicada mating:

Magicicada mating by Roy Troutman

Magicicada exuvia and corpses:

Magicicada corpses and exuvia by Roy Troutman

Magicicada staring at you:

Magicicada staring at you by Roy Troutman

Magicicada mating:

Magicicada septendecim mating by Roy Troutman

View all of Roy Troutman’s 2013 Brood II photos.

Brood II Cicada Video from 2013

Enjoy these videos of the Brood II Magicicada emergence from 2013.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing.

Periodical Cicadas in Merrill Park in Colonia NJ

Periodical Cicadas in Merrill Park in Colonia NJ.

Either a Magicicada cassini or septendecula

Either a Magicicada cassini or septendecula.

A calling Magicicada septendecim

A calling Magicicada septendecim.

June 6, 2013

How loud/noisy (in decibels) do periodical cicadas get?

Last Thursday Roy Troutman, Elias Bonaros and I traveled around central New Jersey, looking for cicadas. They were not hard to find. Elias found a location in Colonia that had a particularly loud Magicicada cassini chorusing center. Using my camera and Extech 407730 40-to-130-Decibel Digital Sound Level Meter, I recorded the calls of these cicadas and how loud they can get. The quality of the video isn’t the best because it’s a camera, not a video camera, but it is good enough.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Elias and Roy used finger snaps, mimicking the wing snaps of female cicadas, to trick the males into singing:

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps (on Vimeo):

Magicicada cassini responding to fingersnaps from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

We placed the M. cassini directly on the microphone and got calls as high as 109 decibels, in this video:

Magicicada cassini calling at 109db in Colonia NJ from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

There were a few M. septendecim in the area as well. A Magicicada septendecim goes from a Court II to Court III call as soon as it crawls on the decibel meter, in this video.

Magicicada septendecim court 3 from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

The cicada choruses in Central New Jersey have no doubt gotten louder since last week. Hopefully, on Sunday I’ll get back out to Central Jersey or Staten Island and make some recordings.

May 19, 2013

Tips for photographing adult Magicicadas for identification purposes

When photographing adult Magicicadas, particularly if you are interested in identifying their species and gender, it is important to photograph them from multiple angles: ventral (bottom) and lateral (left or right) particularly near the head. Please take photos of the dorsal (top), anterior (front), posterior (hind) and other angles, however ventral and left or right are the best sides to help identify the species.

We also encourage you to clean your fingernails and include an item which can be used to determine the size of the insect, like a ruler.

The ventral view allows us to determine the species and sex.

The following photo features a male (left) and female (right) Magicicada septendecim (Linnaeus, 1758). Note the orange striped abdomen, characteristic of the M. septendecim. Also, as with other cicada species, note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Magicicada septendecula male and female by Osamu Hikino

The following photo features a female (left) and male (right) Magicicada cassini (Fisher, 1851). Note the lack of distinct orange stripes on the abdomen, characteristic of the M. cassini. Their abdomens are nearly completely black. Also note that the female’s abdomen comes to a point, and the male’s abdomen is thicker and ends with a “blocky-shaped” structure.
Magicicada cassini male and female by Osamu Hikino

Both these images were taken by the same photographer (Osamu Hikino) and we can use the size of his finger tips (nice clean nails) to compare the size of these two species. The M. cassini is relatively much smaller than the M. septendecim, which is why M. cassini is also known as the “dwarf cicada”.

I don’t have a good photo of the third species, the Magicicada septendecula Alexander and Moore, 1962 [view a photo of M. septendecula on another website]. The M. septendecula is similar to the M. cassini in size (hence smaller than the M. septendecula), but it has orange stripes like the M. septendecim, which is why it is important to get a photo of the left or right side of the insect so we can see the color of the pronotal extension.

The pronotal extension is an extension of the pronotum that lies between the Magicicada’s eye and its wing (outlined in green in the photo below). M. septendecim have orange coloring in that area, which gives us a key way to visually distinguish them from M. septendecula.

Orange marking behind eye used to identify -decim Magicicadas.

If you want to learn more about diagnosing the species and gender of cicadas (all species, not just Magicicada sp.) using photographs, track down the document Overview of Cicada Morphology by Allen F. Sanborn of Barry University.

I don’t want to discourage you from taking amazing photos of cicadas in every position and angle possible using all your fancy macro lenses and whatnot. All cicada photos are awesome, but only a few angles help us identify the insect.

July 1, 2008

Videos M. cassini calling

Filed under: Joe Green,Magicicada,Sounds,Video — Tags: — Dan @ 10:21 pm

Enjoy these videos of Magicicada cassini calling by Joe Green.

M. cassini calling by Joe Green

M. cassini calling by Joe Green.

M. cassini calling by Joe Green

M. cassini calling by Joe Green.

Cicadas calling from bushes by Joe Green

Cicadas calling from bushes by Joe Green.