Today is September 21st, 2017 — the last day of Summer, in central New Jersey. Leaves of maple trees have started to turn scarlet and yellow. Oaks are dropping their acorns. The few, remaining Morning (Neotibicen tibicen tibicen) and Linne’s (Neotibicen linnei) cicadas sound decrepit and tired — like tiny breaking machines, low on fuel and oil. I found one dead Morning cicada lying on a sidewalk — its body crushed. Here in New Jersey, at least, the cicada season is all but over.
Molting Neotibicen tibicen tibicen in Little Silver, NJ. August 26st.
As cicada years go, this one had ups and downs. It wasn’t as awesome as 2016, but I can’t blame the cicadas.
No group cicada hunts this year. My cicada hobby is much more fun when I can share it with other people.
A skunk took over my favorite spot for finding Morning Cicada nymphs.
I had to go on a business trip during what would have been the best weeks for finding nymphs.
I found a new Megatibicen auletes location in Highlands, NJ. The location is about 50 miles north of where I usually find them.
I found more Megatibicen auletes exuvia than ever at the Manchester, NJ location where my friends and I normally hunt for auletes. Normally I find one or two — this year I found dozens. I found no adult specimens, other than those singing in the trees at dusk.
I found a small but productive Neotibicen canicularis location in Little Silver, NJ. This yielded several specimens for a few good photos.
I did find enough exuvia & Morning cicadas that I should be happy.
Here’s some images from this summer:
Neotibicen tibicen tibicen with bad wing. The indigo color is fascinating. August 9th.
A Neotibicen tibicen tibicen found during a lunchtime stroll. September 1st.
A female Neotibicen canicularis found in Little Silver, NJ. August 25th.
Sometimes the best cicada locations are just a short distance from your home. This summer I came across a grove of pine trees that had two species of Neotibicen: Neotibicen linnei (Linne’s Cicada) and Neotibicen canicularis (Dog-Day Cicada). Neotibicen linnei and Neotibicen canicularis look very similar when they’re adults (appearances vary by location), so it helpful to compare the two species.
This image compares Neotibicen linnei and canicularis when they’ve recently molted (teneral). Note that the N. linnei is yellow and green, while the N. canicularis is a pink/salmon color.
This image compares these cicadas approximately 24 hours after molting. Note that they’ve achieved their adult coloring, which is very similar, but you can see vestiges of the pink on the N. canicularis.
This last image compares the wing shape of N. linnei (foreground) and N. canicularis (background). Both cicadas are standing on the same piece of white paper. The wings of the N. linnei have a sharper bend — see how the tip of the wing is lifted far off the surface of the paper, while the wing of the N. canicularis almost sits on the paper. Also note that the N. linnei is a more vibrant green, and the N. canicularis is more of a drab/olive green.
Read this journal article, to learn how closely these cicadas are related genetically:
HILL, KATHY B. R., DAVID C. MARSHALL, MAXWELL S. MOULDS, & CHRIS SIMON. “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).” Zootaxa [Online], 3985.2 (2015): 219–251. Web. 20 Sep. 2017