Paul Krombholz has come through with an awesome guide to identifying Tibicens just after they have molted. Click the image below for an even larger version.
Notes on the species from Paul:
T. pruinosus [formerly T. pruinosa]—Newly molted adult has darker mesonotum (top of mesothorax) than the very common T. chloromera. Abdomen is a golden orange color. Older adult has dark olive on lateral sides of mesonotum, lighter green below the “arches”.
T. pronotalis (formerly walkeri, marginalis)—Quite large. The reddish brown color can be seen on the mesonotum of newly molted adult. Older adult has solid green pronotum (top of prothorax) and red-brown markings on sides of mesonotum. Below the “arches” the mesonotum color can range from carmel to green. Head is black between the eyes.
T. tibicen [T. chloromerus, T. chloromera]—has large, swollen mesonotum, quite pale in a newly molted adult and almost entirely black in an older adult. Individuals from east coast can have large russet patches on sides of mesonotum. The white, lateral :”hip patches” on the anteriormost abdominal segment are always present, but the midline white area seen in my picture is sometimes absent.
T. davisi—Small. This is a variable species, but all have an oversized head which is strongly curved, giving it a ‘hammerhead’ appearance. Newly molted individuals are usually brown with blueish wing veins that will become brown, but some have more green in wing veins. Some may have pale mesonotums that will become mostly black. Older adults vary from brownish to olive to green markings on pronotum and mesonotum.
T. figuratus [formerly T. figurata]—a largish entirely brown cicada. Newly molted adult has a pink-brown coloration with some blueish hints. Older adult has chestnut-brown markings and no green anywhere. Head is not very wide in relation to the rest of the body. The small cell at the base of the forewing is black.
T. auletes—a large, wide-bodied cicada. Newly molted adult is very green, but the older adult loses most of the green, usually retaining an olive posterior flange of the pronotum. The dorsal abdomen of the adult has a lot of powdery white on the anterior and posterior segments with a darker band inbetween.
Here’s an update for this article (8 years later).
This is a series of photos of a T. tibicen tibicen as it gets darker in color (photo by Cicada Mania). This cicada will retain the green color in its eyes and pronotum, but its back will turn almost entirely black.
Earlier this week I was lucky enough to find a cicada nymph at a local park in Middletown, New Jersey. I took the cicada home, took some photos and then released it the next day. The cicada turned out to be a female Tibicen tibicen tibicen (formerly T. chloromera) aka a Swamp Cicada.
Now is a great time to look and listen for Tibicen cicadas in North America. Tibicen are the medium to large sized annual cicadas. Typically they are well camouflaged – with colors like black, white, green & brown.
During the day you can listen for them, of course, and spot them that way. Try Insect Singers for cicada songs. You can also look for their exuvia (skins), and if you’re lucky you can catch on on a low branch.
Last night I started looking around 10pm and found three Swamp Cicadas (T. tibicen tibicen) shedding their skins on trees around the yard. I also collected about 30 exuvia (skins). All in a quarter acre yard. Take a look at this video:
Elias was kind enough to send us 10 Tibicen photos he took in 2009. Photos include Tibicen tibicen (chloromera), Tibicen lyricen, Tibicen tibicen & Cicada Killer Wasp on Elias’ fingers, Tibicen canicularis and Tibicen linnei.
The first time I saw the Genus and species name for this cicada, it was called a Tibicen chloromera:
Then its name changed to Tibicen chloromerus, so the gender of the Genus and species name would be in agreement (or so I believe).
Now, this cicada is simply Tibicen tibicen. To read more about why, you’ll need to read Entomological News, Volume 119 Issue 3, “The Identity Of Cicada tibicen Linné [=Tibicen chloromerus (Walker, 1850)] (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) no access”.
Here is the abstract:
A lectotype is designated for Cicada tibicen Linné, 1758. The Linnaean specimen located in the Zoological Museum of Uppsala University can be traced to Linné and the original species description. The species is determined to be the same as what is currently recognized as Tibicen chloromerus (Walker, 1850), making T. chloromerus and Cicada sayi Smith and Grossbeck, 1907, junior synonyms of Tibicen tibicen (L.).
Of course you can call it Swamp Cicada, Morning Cicada, or Green Annual Cicada (from Bug Guide). It doesn’t care.
Now do I update all instances of “Tibicen chloromera” on this site, or not. Hmmm….