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Tibicen lyricen in New England

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Tibicen lyricen in New England

Tibicen lyricen female teneral

I have been particularly focused on New Hampshire and Maine this cicada season. Between finding new spots for O. rimosa - among other species - I am also focusing on Tibicen lyricen's northern-most range. Depending on who you talk to, some say that this species' ranges up into New Brunswick and even further into Canada. Some even say that it is New England's most common species even over Tibicen canicularis - the Northern Dog Day cicada.

However, even the term "most common" seems to be a point of contention and varies depending on who you talk to. Does it mean that where a species is known to exist and has a higher population density than other species does that make it the most common? Or does most common refer to a species with the widest coverage. Even where single or multiple individuals can be seen or heard over a larger geographic area?

I like to think of it this way; I could probably collect more specimens of T. lyricen in an area where both species are known to exist but I cannot collect T. lyricen in places where only T. canicularis exists. That is to say, I have found more areas where T. canicularis has been documented than I have documented T. lyricen just not in the same population densities.

I can tell you that based on the places I've been mapping cicadas in the Northeast and the hundreds of miles that I have covered that finding T. lyricen anywhere above the 42nd parallel in New England is proving very difficult. I have been to southern Maine and Vermont with nary a sign nor song from Tibicen lyricen. This species may range farther than the 42nd parallel to the west of Vermont but here in New England, the 42nd parallel is as high as I have been able to document them so far. Even in areas of Central Massachusetts Tibicen lyricen seems to be surprisingly absent.

It may have something to do with how the geography changes the further north you go. As you proceed north in New Hampshire and Vermont, the elevation heading into the mountains increases while at the same time we experience changes in forest and soil types. It may be that these changes in topography may result in unfavorable conditions for Tibicen lyricen. This may explain why Tibicen lyricen is replaced by Okananana in the northern New England states. However, you can still readily hear Tibicen canicularis north of the 42nd parallel.

The areas I have found Tibicen lyricen above the northern border of Massachusetts and within the 42nd parallel is in southeastern New Hampshire. Specifically in the towns of Hudson, Salem, Portsmouth, Windham and Pelham, NH. Hopefully with patience and a little luck, I'll be able to increase their range in the surrounding towns but I am doubtful of finding them above the 42 parallel.

Since I lack any real voucher specimens of cicadas in the Tibicen genus for New Hampshire, I have been trying to remedy that by going to Pelham, NH where previous mapping expeditions showed some very promising signs.

Below are examples of Tibicen tenerals taken from Gibson Cemetery on Marsh Road in Pelham, NH. This area is only a few miles north of the Massachusetts border. I also managed to collect a Tibicen lyricen nymph but that specimen is being saved for a future article.

Tibicen canicularis teneral

I really enjoy cicadas as tenerals. They exhibit some pretty interesting color patterns before the process of sclerotization is completed. We find color variations in the fully sclerotized adults as well. This can pose a number of problems with identification and the variations in color would seem to be directly related to the habitats in which they are found. Tibicen canicularis can be found in pine barren habitats to deciduous forests or riparian woods and other types of habitats.

Tibicen lyricen teneral

T. lyricen is no less fascinating as a teneral. Keys to identification in this phase of its development seem to be pretty consistant where ever one travels to find them. Even outside of New England. One of the key clinchers is the very dark almost black eyes at this stage as well as a pinkish blue tinge to the pronotal collar and blueish tinge to the mesothorax.

In Conclusion

If you have evidence such as a photo or documentation indicating that Tibicen lyricen can be found above the 42nd parallel in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont, please get in contact with me. If you have a sighting with photo please report it through the Report Cicadas or Cicada Killers online form. Thanks for reading.

Date Posted: 2011-07-25 Comments: (10) Show CommentsHide Comments


Posted By: Jimmy Wu | On: 2011-08-04 | Website:

Here in Kansas, I have a very hard time getting T. lyricen to breed in captivity, T. pruinosus, T. dorsatus, and T. pronotalis readily do so, but T. lyricen never copulate for some reason.

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-04 | Website:

Hey Jimmy,

Its really hard to predict the behavior of cicadas, especially if they are taken as tenerals or nymphs. Speaking from experience, wild-caught male T. lyricen cicadas act like other wild-caught tibicens. Especially the males, even if there are no females present, they will try to mate with each other.

Posted By: Amanda Cogswell | On: 2011-08-17 | Website:

I was wondering when the last time Cicada's had emerged in Berkshire County, MA? I live in Pittsfield, MA and one fell on me today. I have heard the males "singing" for a while now. When was the last time they emerged from underground around here? I am aware that it is different with each type of Cicada. This one is a full grown adult male with the black and marbled green on the body and clear/green wings. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Posted By: Amanda Cogswell | On: 2011-08-17 | Website:

I was looking through the different types of Eastern Cicada's here. I found which one it is, the T. resh is the one that fell on me and I have him with me.

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-17 | Website:

Hi Amanda,

Actually, there are two types of cicadas, periodical cicadas and annual cicadas. Periodical emerge once every 13 or 17 years depending upon geographic location.

Annual cicadas emerge every year. I have actually visited Pittsfield a few times and can say that your cicada is probably either Tibicen canicularis or Tibicen lyricen. Tibicen resh is a very large cicada and is more southerly and westerly in its distribution. It can be found in places like Texas and Oklahoma among other places.

If you would like us to identify the specimen for you, simply report it by filling out the form located here:

Thanks for your comment.

Posted By: Kelly Dullea Robery | On: 2012-07-15 | Website:

i am in plainville ma...i hear them & see in houston for 15 yrs i recognized them right family however thought it was an alien invasion....i love to hear them sing!

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2012-07-15 | Website:

Hi Kelly,

If you have a photo, please be sure to report it on the report cicada and cicada killer wasps that can be found here:

Your sighting will be added to our sightings section and we will also add the information to our ever-growing distribution database of species.

Thanks for your comment!

Posted By: Jimmy Wu | On: 2012-07-15 | Website:

Well since we are on the topic...lets just say that T. lyricen are amazingly hard to obtain here where I live. Even when visiting the most populated areas, you will find more purinosus...hopefully obtaining lyricen are easier elsewhere because I don't last long searching in this a hundred degree weather!


Posted By: Matthew | On: 2013-08-13 | Website:

I've commented on another topic here about my 6 live cicadas, that have yet to be identified, but atm I have do have 2 mounted specimen that HAVE been identified due to my own research and help on another site.

I have a female Tibicen canicularis and a male Tibicen lyricen.

It seems in my area Tibicen lyricen are very common as the 6 live ones I have and the ones emerging outside my home all seem to be T. lyricen. I live in Red Bank, New Jersey 07701. The area I live in is a forested area adjacent to both a highway and a large marsh that connects to the Swimming River.

We've had cicadas emerging most of the summer but recently more exuvia have been present on the Holly and Pine trees, in particular, around my home. Most of the exuvia and the emerging cicada seem to belong to T. lyricen however I won't know for sure until I file my report here. I'm not familiar with cicada too much and i'm only 17 years old, but it seems as if T. lyricen is quite common and numerous in my area. I've seen 50+ exuvia and emerging cicada every night for the past week and that's only in my yard and surrounding land.

Posted By: Just a Friend... | On: 2014-11-23 | Website:

Extremely impressive and fascinating informational article on the Tibicen Lyricen.

I didn't expect to be so drawn in to reading more and more of your articles as I was.

Your work and studies are fascinating.


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