Tibicen lyricen Calling Finally!
News Category: Cicada General Info
Tibicen lyricen Calling Finally!
Middlesex Road Cemetery, North Chelmsford - I have to admit, up until this point I was really starting to get worried about the state of Tibicen lyricens here in Massachusetts but today at last I finally heard them calling, while there still isn't many it sure is a welcomed sign.
I went to this little cemetery thats right around the corner from my house on Middlesex road, it is so small and so old that I don't even see a sign for what the name of it is so I'm calling it "Middlesex Road Cemetery" it is right on the border between North Chelmsford and Lowell. I found several exuvia in this little cemetery which is a good sign as last year I didn't really find any.
Pine Crest Cemetery, Chelmsford - Back here again today due to finding many exuvia and that one deformed T. lyricen yesterday. Today I found even more exuvia and an additional T. canicularis (first one of the season) that is also deformed in the same way, it was stuck inside its nymphal skin. Fortunately, this one was already expired. Hearing more Tibicen lyricens today.
The Fellas at Fairview Cemetery
While driving home, I decided to go a different route to see what there was to see and while driving through Westford, Ma. I noticed a rather large cemetery on the corner of Tadmuck road. I decided to pull in and have a look-see.
I'm finding more exuvia as the season wears on and this location is no exception. I found several exuvia on pine trees and hardwood trees. They seem to be a mixture of both T. lyricen and T. canicularis.
I met 3 fellas that work for the town of Westford, Ma. Cemetery Department. They take care of several cemeteries in Westford. They were interested in why I was looking at the trees and I explained to them (as I have to with everyone I meet) that I study Cicadas here in Massachusetts. They seemed genuinely interested. So I showed them some specimens that I carry around with me. It's kind of hard to explain what Cicadas look like if you don't have any to show people.
We got on the subject of Cicada killers, a type of wasp that preys on Cicadas. The female Cicada killer after mating with a much smaller male will dig a burrow. Then, it will hunt for a Cicada and sting it (which only paralyzes it) then bring it back to its burrow. It will then lay one egg on the Cicada, when the egg hatches, the larva will feed on the live Cicada over the long winter. Depending upon the number of eggs a Cicada killer lays will depend upon the number of Cicadas it will need for its brood. Each egg getting one to two Cicadas.
The fellas said that another cemetery known as Pine Grove has Cicada killers every year. So much so that the residents are very afraid. Though from what I have read, they as a whole are not very aggressive to humans. I will have to investigate this cemetery later on.
A Night Visit to Pine Crest Cemetery
I've changed my tactics a little bit, this is only my second night visit for searching for Cicada specimens. I decided to go to Pine Crest Cemetery because I feel that I have had some decent luck here. So far no REAL specimens but I did find two Cicadas that failed to eclose properly. I'm very much interested in finding specimens in other areas.
The sun is almost setting at this time of day and the Tibicen lyricen cicadas are still calling in the trees. It is really humid outside and the mosquitos are loving it. I'm glad I brought some mosquito repellant or i'd be eaten alive. I did manage to find one Tibicen lyricen nymph climbing up an old maple tree. I decided to take this specimen home and let it molt in the terrarium along with the other specimens that I have collected so far. I'll have pictures for you in a day or so.