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How to Tell Gender of Exuvia

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How to Tell Gender of Exuvia

Tibicen canicularis nymph shell

Hey all, I don't know if you remember this from last year, but I thought it was important to go over something. Whenever you find an Exuvia (cast-off skin) from a cicada. You can tell if it was a male or a female cicada. Here's how:

Determining Males

Male Exuvia A cicada exuvium's abdomen is divided into dorsal and ventral sections. The ventral sections of the abdomen are known as "sternites". There are 9 total sternites on Cicada nymph skins. At the very tip (9th sternite) you can make out a "bulbous" structure. This nymph skin contained a male cicada.

Determining Females

Female exuviaFemale cicadas also have this "bulbous" structure at the 9th sternite. But unlike males, females have two cylindrical-type structures at the 8th sternite. These structures are also known as "processes". Between you and me I'd tell you what they REALLY look like but this is a family site. Compare the two, I'm sure you can clearly see the difference now.

So, whenever you're out in the field...there you go!

Still No Tibicen Lyricens - St. Patrick Cemetery

I was running late today because I was out till 1:00 am last night with that Tibicen canicularis male teneral, waiting for it to complete molting so I got a late start today. (I decided to hold off going to Connecticut til tomorrow.) I hate it that my days studying cicadas are now relegated to only after work for a few hours and Saturdays and Sundays. Prior to this, a lot of my summers were taken up studying Cicadas full-time cuz I was "slumming it" for a while. However, I can't wait for my vacation! More on that later.

Anyway, this is the first year out of three that I have been studying cicadas that I have not found T. lyricens first. Last year and the year before, T. lyricens emerged in greater numbers first then T. canicularis next. I think it may have something to do with the huge amount of rain we had in May and June. So much so, that a lot of areas saw record rainfall and there was a lot of flooding.

I did however discover today 3 T. lyricen exuvia on the same maple tree that I discovered the exuvia on June 30th. It was 2 females and 1 male. In fact two of them are used above for your reference to determine gender. Click those thumbnails for a closer look.

Heard First T. canicularis male calling at 11:20 am.

That's right at St. Patrick Cemetery. At first it kind of gave a few preliminary calls that sounded all broken-up but eventually it came through loud and clear. Then shortly afterwards another joined in. I'm sure that as the days go on, more and more will join in.

Also found another female T. canicularis exuvia on a pine tree.

Date Posted: 2006-07-08 Comments: (0) Show CommentsHide Comments


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