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April 18, 2020

Davis’ Key to Species of the Genus Tibicen found in the Southeastern United States

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.

Mississippi Cicadas

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.

Here goes…

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].

N. 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.]

Neotibicen winnemanna Garner NC
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].

             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].

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].

             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].

Krombholz Davisi compared
Photo by Paul Krombhold. Neotibicen davisi harnedi (left), Neotibicen davisi davisi (right).

        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].

                 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].

            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].

                 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].

Neotibicen resonans photos by Joe Green from 2007, taken in Florida.
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].

M. figurata
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].

Megatibicen auletes, the largest cicada in North America
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].

Megatibicen resh molting adult
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].

Megatibicen pronotalis photo by Roy Troutman, taken in Batavia, Ohio
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].

Diceroprocta olympusa photos by Joe Green from 2007.
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 9, 2020

Neotibicen linnei (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Linne’s Cicada

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Neotibicen | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 4:00 pm

Neotibicen linnei (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Linne’s Cicada.

Neotibicen linnei
Photo by Dan Mozgai.

⭢ All Neotibicen linnei images & information about cicadamania.com.

Song type: Call


Source: ©Insect Singers

Video Playlist

Playlists contain multiple videos found on YouTube.

Name, Location and Description

A description of linnei by Wm. T. Davis from Mississippi Cicadas, with a Key to the Species of the Southeastern United States1

The female of this species often closely resembles that of T. pruinosa [Neotibicen pruinosus], but in linnei the fore wings are abruptly bent near the middle, whereas in pruinosa the curve is more regular. The song is very different from that of pruinosa and is a continuous z-ing, but generally of short duration.

Identification Key by Wm. T. Davis:1

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.

B. Uncus longer than broad. Black species with green or greenish markings and black area on the central part of the abdomen beneath

C. Hind margin of pronotum or collar, green or greenish.

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.

Example of the wing bend:
Wing Bend

What this cicada looks like when it is still soft

Color varies, even from the same location:

N. linnei

Classification:

Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
Subtribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Neotibicen
Species: Neotibicen linnei (Smith & Grossbeck, 1907)

List of sources

  1. Davis, W.T. 1918. Mississippi Cicadas, with a Key to the Species of the Southeastern United States. Journal of The New York Entomological Society. Vol. XXVI. Read on archive.org.
  2. Full Binomial Names: ITIS.gov
  3. Common names: BugGuide.net; 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.

Notes:

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

March 29, 2020

Neotibicen linnei aka Linne’s Cicada from Monmouth county NJ

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Neotibicen | Photos & Illustrations — Tags: — Dan @ 7:31 am

A single photograph of a female Neotibicen linnei aka Linne’s Cicada from Monmouth county NJ. 2017.

Neotibicen linnei

March 7, 2020

Teneral Neotibicen photos by Roy Troutman

Two Teneral Neotibicen photos by Roy Troutman. Teneral means soft. These cicadas have recently molted so their bodies are soft. The photos were taken in 2004, probably in Ohio.

This one looks like a Neotibicen tibicen tibicen:

Teneral Neotibicen

This one looks like a Neotibicen linnei or pruinosus.

This one looks like a Neotibicen linnei or pruinosus.

Neotibicen linnei (Linne’s Cicada) photo by Roy Troutman

Filed under: Cryptotympanini | Neotibicen | Roy Troutman | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 10:58 am

A Neotibicen linnei (Linne’s Cicada) photo by Roy Troutman from 2004. Probably taken in Ohio.

Neotibicen linnei (Linne's Cicada) photo by Roy Troutman

February 29, 2020

Neotibicen linnei photo by Tom Lehmkuhl

Filed under: Art | Cryptotympanini | Neotibicen | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 2:53 pm

Tom Lehmkuhl sent us this photo of an uninvited house guest, a Neotibicen linnei cicada.

Tom Lehmkuhl sent us this photo of an uninvited house guest (Neotibicen linnei).

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.

July 9, 2017

Scissors Grinders

Filed under: Neotibicen — Tags: , , , , — Dan @ 12:21 pm

Back in the day — 1970s and earlier — people would sharpen scissors, knives, and tools rather than throw them out and buy new ones. A scissors grinder was a person who would sharpen your scissors for you. They used an abrasive wheel to grind your scissors sharp. The sound of the metal of a scissor gliding across the sharpening stone made a unique sound — a sound used to describe the sound some cicadas make.

These days (2017 when I wrote this article) scissors grinders are not a common sight or sound, but a few cicadas still have a common name referring to the scissor grinding days of yore. A few, but not all, are also Dusk Singers.

Neotibicen latifasciatus aka Coastal Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada. Found in FL, MD, NJ, NC, VA. Season: June – Fall. A day singer found along the coast.

N. latifasciatus Call*:

Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus aka Scissor(s) Grinder. Found in AL, AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI. Season: June – September. Neotibicen pruinosus fulvus aka Pale Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada. Found in: KS, OK. Season: June – September. A Dusk Singer, very much like N. winnemanna but predominately west of the Appalachian mountains.

N. pruinosus Call*:

Neotibicen winnemanna aka Eastern Scissor(s) Grinder. Found in AL, DE, DC, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV. Season: June – Fall. A Dusk Singer, very much like N. pruinosus but predominately east of the Appalachian mountains.

N. winnemanna Call*:

It’s worth mentioning two similar cicadas, that don’t bear the “Scissors Grinder” name, but either sound similar or hybridize with Scissor Grinders.

Neotibicen robinsonianus aka Robinson’s Annual Cicada or Robinson’s Cicada. This cicada’s call is similar to Scissor Grinders in rhythm, but it has a duller sound/lower pitch (IMHO). Maybe it should be called the “Dull Scissor Grinder” (that is a joke). Found: AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, IN, KS, MD, MS, MO, NC, OH, PA, TN, TX, VA. Season: June-Fall.

N. robinsonianus Call*:

Neotibicen linnei aka Linne’s Cicada sounds nothing like the Scissors Grinders, but it is known to hybridize with Scissor Grinders. Found: AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NJ, NY, NC, OH, ON, PA, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV, WI. Season: June – fall.

You might hear a hybrid Scissors Grinder with a call that features part of an N. Linnei call!

A pure (non hybrid) N. linnei Call for reference*:

The five cicadas mentioned on this page are part of a group informally known as the Green Neotibicen. They are closely genetically related.

*Audio files are Copyright of InsectSingers.com. Season information gathered from BugGuide.net.

September 15, 2016

Last cicada hunt of the year

Filed under: Neocicada — Tags: , — Dan @ 7:31 pm

Once September rolls around in New Jersey (USA) temperatures start to drop, as do the cicadas. Labor Day weekend is a three day last hurrah for the summer. Folks have barbecues, take one last trip to the beach, or one last fishing trip to the lake. It’s one last chance to have some fun before the kids go back to school, the weather gets too cold to wear shorts, and hurricanes start ripping up the coastline. This past Labor Day weekend I found myself at Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, NJ. You might have guessed that this park marks the location where founding father General George Washington famously crossed the Delaware River. I think of it was a place to find Neotibicen linnei and Neotibicen winnemanna in the same location.

Some video of their calls:

N. linnei and N. winnemanna belong to the “Green Group” of Neotibicen cicadas. All the cicadas in this group look very similar, and you have to tell them apart by their song or key morphological differences. Even with sound files of their songs to reference, photos and notes, telling them apart can be vexing and bemusing. In some cases species mate and form hybrids which make it even more difficult to tell them apart.

Some images:

A is likely an N. linnei, and C is likely an N. winnemanna.

wings of Linne and Scissor Grinder

Probably an N. linnei although it lacks the wing bend. More black than beige, although that isn’t always a sure indicator of species.
Washington Crossing Neotibicen linnei

Definitely an N. winnemanna because of all the beige on its abdomen. Yes, its head is missing,
N. winnemanna

After wandering the park for a few hours I was rewarded with a few dead specimens. One with eggs still stuck to its ovipositor, which was neat to see. I also recorded their calls — unfortunately no hybrids in the mix.

Part of the fun of traveling to see cicadas is visiting the place where the cicadas live. Washington Crossing State Park is far from the industry and urban decay New Jersey is known for. If you like scenic rivers, pastoral landscapes, American history, farmers markets, and antique stores, this area is for you. For me, it’s a nice place to observe cicadas. The park features many acres of deciduous and evergreen trees, perfect for cicadas. You can also walk the bridge to the Pennsylvania side of the river, where you’ll find more N. winnemanna than N. linnei.

Cicadas will be done mating before the end of September (actual date differs by location), and start dropping from the trees before the leaves being to change color. Go out this weekend and look and listen for the last cicadas of the year.

Oh yeah, here’s the B cicada:

N. winnemanna

September 7, 2016

Linne’s Cicada in Cape May County, NJ

Filed under: Elias Bonaros | Neotibicen — Tags: — Dan @ 8:15 pm

Here’s some footage of a Neotibicen linnei in Woodbine, Cape May County, NJ.

Elias almost caught it.

This footage was a byproduct of our cicada hunt for a different cicada, Neotibicen latifasciatus.

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