Lots of Cicada Stuff to Report
News Category: Cicada General Info
Lots of Cicada Stuff to Report
Update 3/20/11: - Since the writing of this article, the name for the cicada known as Tibicen chloromera has been changed to Tibicen tibicen. This article has been edited to reflect that change.
Sorry for the delay in writing some new stuff. I was away for several days during the beginning of the week on vacation. Then I had to get back to the ole 9 - 5 grind. So a lot of stuff has happened so let's get to it shall we??
Fun, Sun and Research In Hot And Steamy West Virginia!
Man I had a great time in West Virginia. I got back to Massachusetts on the 20th of July but I haven't had time to do much 'til now. I took tons of pictures along with spending some time with my family. My light traps worked well for many different types of insects but unfortunately, they didn't snag any cicadas.
I managed to document 3 different species of cicadas where I was in West Viriginia. Tibicen lyricen, Tibicen linnei and Tibicen chloromera Tibicen tibicen. I even managed to snag 6 Tibicen chloromera Tibicen tibicen while molting. It was very very hot and steamy. The Tibicen chloromera Tibicen tibicen started to call around 9:00 am in the morning and would sing til noon time then they would just shut off during the hottest parts of the day.
Tibicen lyricen did the same thing but they would start back up in the evening around 8:30 pm at night then shortly thereafter, Tibicen linnei would start to sing also in the evening. Tibicen linnei seems to be a dusk caller like Tibicen auletes.
I think that I may have went to West Viriginia a week or two early because I know that they have at least 8 or 9 different species of cicadas there. Next year I will go a bit later in the month of July.
Anyway, I have tons of pictures and video for you all to look over which I hope to have up very soon. Its going to take a while for me to go through it. I will probably have to create a separate page for the "Away Missions" section because technically I was away and this research has nothing to do with New England cicadas but it was still cool. I will keep you posted. Apparently some exciting things have happened while I was away!
Two Year Early Emergence of Brood XIV Magicicadas in Hingham, Ma.!
On July 19th, I received a very interesting email from a reader of this site. Along with the email came some pictures of a Magicicada nymph building a mud turret along a path at the Wompatuck State Park in Hingham Ma. The park rangers there thought that it may be an "antlion" and the reader being very very smart decided to email me. I confirmed for her that it was a Magicicada nymph. According to the submitter of the email, her and her sons were doing a "quest" and her three year old son Jake noticed this nymph in a hole right on the path!
This got me very excited. So after several communications through email, I decided to check it out today. Along with the reader's detailed instructions on how to find the very spot, I set out for Wompatuck State Park. This is a very nice park with hiking trails, hunting and fishing and even camping. I may have to spend some time here in 2008 for the big Brood XIV emergence. While it was quite miserable outside, it was still a very nice leisurely hike. After getting deluged with rain and being soaking wet, I managed to locate the exact spot where the nymph was spotted but alas there was no sign of it. The rain may have washed away all signs of the mud turret and the hole.
I thought I read somewhere that Brood XIV only consists of Magicicada septendecim so I suspect that this was a nymph of that species. It definitely cannot be from any other brood other than Brood XIV because no other broods are known to have ever been from this area of Massachusetts.
I spent several hours looking for evidence of Magicicada and hiking on many trails but I found no other signs of other early Magicicada emergences. But still, this is significant! While one year early emergences are common, two year emergences are considered rare. This may be significant enough however to publish another paper. In the end, this area will give me a great starting point in which to do my research in 2008.
So a big thank you goes out to Jeanine, Gabe and Jake for this great find. While this may be considered nothing to most people, to me this is quite significant so thank you very much!
However, the day wasn't a total waste. I did manage to capture a female Tibicen lyricen at a small road side cemetery on Route 228 north in Hingham, Ma. This is my first specimen from this species this year. I found it sitting on a chain-link fence. I only snapped one photo of it on the fence. Sorry it is so blurry but I was more interested in capturing it. I did hear T. lyricen and T. canicularis calling here so those are two more data points for my distribution map. Enjoy the pictures below. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Cicada Killers In Rhode Island.
Another big thanks goes out to Anne Marie of Rhode Island. Apparenty, she found this Cicada Killer specimen floating in her pool. Its great to find another area in New England where these cool big and harmless wasps that prey solely on cicadas can be found. While the lek was not discovered, I'm sure it is very close by. Anne Marie promises to report back if she finds it. That means another trip for yours truly.
I took this data and reported it to Professor Chuck Holliday from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. If you have Cicada Killers in your area of the country, let's help Professor Chuck with his distribution mapping. Click here to learn how you can help.
Cicada Killers Arrived at Pine Grove Cemetery - Westford, Ma.
Before I went away on vacation, I had not seen the Cicada Killers at Pine Grove Cemetery in Westford. I was getting kind of worried when I hadn't seen any signs of the Cicada Killers like I did last year. But in retrospect, it seems that I started to see them around this time last year anyway so no problems there. So suffice it to say, they are alive and well. Apparently all the rain we had in April and May didn't seem to affect them any.
Unfortunately, this male in the thumbnail images was already dead when I happened upon it on the 21st of July. Who knows what happened. Maybe it mated with a female then just died. I was also happy to see that there were indeed lots of live Cicada Killers buzzing around. The males like last year staked out their territory in the hopes of having a female fly in their area while at the same time, chase all other males away.
I even noticed some females already off hunting and bringing back paralyzed cicadas. Unfortunately, they were too quick for me to try to steal the cicadas away from them like I did last year. That was a lot of fun. I did try however. I hung around for about an hour but with no luck at all.
Check out the cool video I took of a female orienting its and making itself familiar with the location of the burrow. In this way, it will be able to approach it from any angle when flying back to it with a cicada. Its very interesting how it does this. You will also notice in the video that the burrow is underneath the shrub. You can just make out the sand it dug and placed in a pile. Click the thumbnail to the left to launch the movie.
Roy Troutman's Cicada Anatomy
Roy Troutman is a member of Massachusetts Cicadas' Entomology-Cicadidae yahoo group. Roy has been studying cicadas for a very long time and he always comes up with new and interesting physiological things pertaining to cicadas which he captures with his video camera. The two video clips below are no acception.
Roy got a new macro lens for his video camera and took some very interesting closeup video of the blood flow of a Tibicen cicada teneral during the eclose process. This is interesting not only because it is way cool but it also proves a hypothosis that I was working on and discussed back in 2004 with regards to why cicadas hang up-side-down for a very long time.
I theorized that during the molt process, the cicada does this in order to help blood flow down into vital areas and especially with helping its legs harden quicker in order for it to support its own weight. The whole up-side-down thing helps the blood work with gravity. You can read about this theory here. Look under time stamp 11:30 pm. Click the thumbnail to the right to view this amazing video.
This next video threw me for a loop! Apparently a cicada breaths through openings known as spiracles just under its wings. This is totally amazing. In the video you can see a dark cresent shape that opens and closes as if the cicada is breathing. It's kind of creepy because it looks rather a lot like an eye blinking. Totally awesome! I can't believe out of all the cicadas I watched molt over the years that I never noticed this.
I'm always looking for new people to join the Entomology-Cicadidae group I created last year. You don't have to be an Entomologist or expert of any kind. Even if you have a question you'd like to ask the group feel free to join. We have members from all over the globe. So, if you did cicadas then please why don't you join as well?
Until next time. Enjoy!!