Cicada Mania

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

March 24, 2020

Brood II Magicicada photos by Dani Siddle from Brood II, part 1

Filed under: Brood II | Dani Siddle | Magicicada — Tags: — Dan @ 7:03 pm

Brood II Magicicada photos by Dani Siddle from Brood II, part 1. They were taken in the Malden-on-Hudson area of New York in 2013.

Skip to Part 2.

Female Magicicada cassini:
Female Magicicada cassini in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle

Magicicada cassini:
Magicicada cassini by Dani Siddle in Malden on Hudson NY

Magicicada cassini:
Magicicada cassini in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle 2

Magicicada cassini:
Magicicada cassini in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle

Magicicada cassini:
Magicicada cassini on flower in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle

Magicicada:
Magicicada in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle 2

Magicicada:
Magicicada in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle

June 25, 2016

My 2016 Brood V Experience

Filed under: Brood V | John Cooley | Magicicada | Matt Berger | Periodical — Tags: , , — Dan @ 11:20 am

Magicicada exuvia on an oak leaf_sm
Many exuvia clinging to oak leaves. Core Arboretum, WVU.

My plan was to check out Maryland first, then head to West Virginia for a few days, and then Ohio. If weather, time and patience allowed, Virginia and Long Island, New York. Like all my periodical cicada trips I start by consulting the map on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) to see where folks are finding cicadas. I also consult with the folks who study periodical cicadas professionally to discover their favorite hot spots and any locations of particular scientific interest. This year, the interesting spot was north-western Maryland — more on that later.

Generally speaking, you’ll see a lot of pin-drops for Magicicada cassini on the map. This is because you can hear them while driving at 70mph. You often have to stop your car and turn off the engine to hear the other species, so even though there’s lots of M. cassini on the map, there’s probably just as much M. septendecim. Generally speaking, my mapping methodology works like this: I stop and take notes when I can (usually at rest stops, parks or when I’m staying in a particular town — see Morgantown & Athens later in the article) and this is when I’ll hear M. septendecim & M. septendecula, but when I’m driving interstate highways at high speeds (with a parade of angry drivers who would rather tailgate me that use the left lane to go around me) I can only take data points for M. cassini.

What do I bring with me on a seven-day cicada road trip? Aside from clothes, road food, smartphone, and my AAA card, I bring equipment to aide my study of cicadas:

  • A junk computer. A decrepit laptop that I won’t care if it gets stolen.
  • A video camera.
  • A device for measuring sound level (decibels).
  • A notepad and pen (because technology fails).
  • Butterfly pavilions, which are these expandable enclosures for holding and observing insects.
  • Containers for holding dead specimens, and silica gel to keep them dry. Note: before you collect, make sure it is legal in the location you plan to collect. Collecting wildlife from National Parks is illegal. Collecting cicadas from a Hampton Inn parking lot is usually okay.
  • Suntan lotion and Bug Spray. I like insects, but ticks and mosquitos can turn cicada observation into a nightmare. Many researchers wear pyrethrum treated clothes (yes, bad for cats).
  • A flashlight.
  • Cicada Mania pins for folks I meet along the way.

What I don’t bring but should is one of John Cooley’s Cicada O Matic GPS Dataloggers. I have to make observations by hand.

Other than that, I follow the typical Power Vacation rules.

Maryland Part 1:

The first town I hit was Accident, Maryland (great name). There were sightings on the Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) map, and the name of the town was awesome, so I wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, I didn’t observe any cicadas there.

Route 68, West Virginia

Traveling west along Route 68, about half-way between the center of Bruceton Mills and Coopers Rock State Forest I started to hear pockets of M. cassini. I stopped at Coopers Rock, and at first, I was disappointed: I didn’t hear any cicadas from my car. Once I stopped my car and turned off the engine I could hear them: M. septendecim with their spooky sci-fi UFO chorus in the distance. It became obvious that the park had a healthy population of M. septendecim, with a smattering of M. cassini as well.

Morgantown, WV

Next, I arrived at Morgantown, WV. Some twitter friends had been posting cicada photos from there, so I thought it would be a good location to set up base and make observations for a few days. The hotel I chose had an excellent population of M. septedecim and cassini around it; so much so that the staff couldn’t keep up with unwanted cicada guests that littered their doorway, trampled by oblivious human guests.

My first day there I walked around the West Virginia University campus near the hospital, stadium & iHop. The sky was overcast and it was getting late in the afternoon, but it was clear that the campus and town had an abundance of periodical cicadas, and that I made a good choice in setting up camp there. At night, in my hotel parking lot, I was able to watch cicadas emerge as nymphs as transform into adults, which is always a highlight of an emergence for me.

WVU Core Arboretum

Core Arboretum is a large botanical garden devoted to trees (“arbor”) on the WVU campus. It was an excellent place to observe cicadas. I was able to observe all three species, the tiny but LOUD M. cassini, the larger & relatively docile M. septendecim, and the rarest of the species M. septendecula. Finding M. septendecula so early in my trip was a treat. Their clockwork/tambourine sound (at least that’s what I think they sound like) gave them away.

I met entomologists Matt Berger, who has contributed many cicada photos to this site over the years, and his colleague HereBeSpiders11 (twitter name). Awesome people. I met Zachariah Fowler, the director of the arboretum as well. Another awesome person.

Magicicada white eyes
A white-eyed Magicicada septendecim.

I was able to check off many of my cicada checklist items in Morgantown: I found a white-eyed cicada, I saw & heard all three species, and more.

Leaving West Virginia, Entering Ohio

M. cassini were plentiful along route 79 and 50 headed west towards Athens, Ohio. Along the way, I made a few stops and heard & observed some M. septendecim as well.

Athens, Ohio

Athens was another good location to stay and observe cicadas. The parks in the surrounding area had excellent cicada populations, and I had a rare chance to meet John Cooley of Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org).

My first day in Athens I spent at Dow Lake in Strouds Run State Park. There I met John Cooley who was there showing a German film crew the particulars of cicada behavior. Dow Lake had a healthy mix of LOUD M. cassini and M. septendecim, but the cassini definitely dominated. The highlight for me was not a cicada, but spotting a rat snake climbing down from an acacia tree where it was no-doubt snacking on cicadas.

Sells Park in Athens was a nice place to hear VERY LOUD M. cassini choruses, well into the high 80-90db mark. So loud that I limited my time there, and left after an hour.

Hocking Hills

Hocking Hills is an amazing park north of Athens than features a spectacular above-ground cave and many acres of forest filled with cicadas. Hocking Hills had a good population of all three species, and M. septendecula were unusually easy to find. They seem to have preferred areas where deciduous trees blended with evergreens, at least in the locations I found.

Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest

A Magicicada cassini chorus from the Experimental Forest:

A Magicicada chorus with audible M. septendecula from the Experimental Forest:

Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest is a forest curated to include as much biological diversity as possible. All three periodical cicada species make up part of that diversity. M. septendcula choruses were very easy to find. The forest was thrilling to visit — aside from the biting deer flies, it was exhilarating to see or hear so many species of insects, birds, and plants in one place. Also, thrilling were the winding one-lane dirt roads; I almost died a few times thanks to wild drivers out for a pretend Finland Rally race.

Back to Maryland

After an overnight stop back in Morgantown, WV, I headed back to Maryland to prove (or disprove) that periodical cicadas were there, and if I did find them, the extent of their population. It is important to show the limits of their population as researchers (John Cooley in particular) are interested in demonstrating that the Brood V population in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia & Maryland is distinct from the population in Virginia.

I’m happy to report that I did find periodical cicadas in Maryland. The populations were mostly the relatively quieter M. septendecim — the type you really have to stop the car & turn off the engine to be certain they’re there. I did find M. cassini as well, but M. septendecim dominated. The adorably named Friendsville and Selbysport had good populations, as did the hill above the Youghiogheny river overlook rest stop on I68. South of this area, I did not hear or see cicadas on Bear Creek Road, Rt 42, Rt 219 or Rt 495. It is possible there are pockets of cicadas deep in the woods and out of earshot in those areas, but it is clear there was no great population of periodical cicadas in those areas if any at all. I spoke to a chainsaw bear sculptor in Bittinger, which is not far from where the Appalachian Plateau ends & the Ridge and Valley area starts. I showed him a photo of a periodical cicada. He said he had never seen them in his life, and nor did he see them in Accident where he went to church. He did hear about them on the news, so he was aware of them.

Maryland

Pennsylvania, and home

After collecting cicada data and buying a chainsaw bear, I headed north into Pennsylvania. I stopped at a rest stop, enjoyed the last I would hear of Brood V, and headed back home.

More!

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 Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly 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 from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

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 from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada cassini chorusing center peaking at 85db

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

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, gallery 1

When Roy Troutman visited New Jersey and New York in 2013 for Brood II he took a lot of great cicada photos.

Here is a sample of the best.
Click the images for a larger version.
Visit Gallery #2 and Gallery #3 for more.

A mass of exuvia and corpses by Roy Troutman
A mass of exuvia and corpses by Roy Troutman

Adult Magicicada on a pine tree by Roy Troutman
Adult Magicicada on a pine tree by Roy Troutman

Cicada Art at the Staten Island Museum by Roy Troutman
Cicada Art at the Staten Island Museum by Roy Troutman

Cicada Holes by Roy Troutman
Cicada Holes by Roy Troutman

Cicada Nikes
Cicada Nikes

Cicada Nymph by Roy Troutman
Cicada Nymph by Roy Troutman

Cicada Timeline at the Staten Island Museum by Roy Troutman
Cicada Timeline at the Staten Island Museum by Roy Troutman

Crippled Magicicada by Roy Troutman
Crippled Magicicada by Roy Troutman

Dan Mozgai, Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros at the Staten Island Museum by Michelle Troutman
Dan Mozgai_ Roy Troutman and Elias Bonaros at the Staten Island Museum by Michelle Troutman

Elias Bonaros in the Manhattan Subway new a Cicada Tile Mosaic
Elias Bonaros in the Manhattan Subway new a Cicada Tile Mosaic

Brood II Cicada Video from 2013

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Sounds | Video — Tags: , , — Dan @ 6:21 am

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?

Filed under: Brood II | Elias Bonaros | FAQs | Magicicada | Periodical | Roy Troutman | Sounds | Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 5:17 am

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.

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