Brood XIII 2007 - June 4th, 2007
News Category: Cicada Missions
Brood XIII 2007 - June 4th, 2007
"Start with a Positive Record and End with a Positive Record." - That was John Cooley's credo. It is always important to start every distribution mapping project with an already known point that has a positive record of Magicicadas and just go from there. It is also as equally important to end with a positive record for the same reason. Then it is just a matter of surveying the areas in-between these two points.
Ordinarily, latitude and longitudinal readings should be taken with a GPS every 10th of a mile or so. This usually works best with two individuals. One person driving and the other marking off the data points. But since it was me and I was all alone I only took data points on the average of every 4 minutes apart. That is I would take a positive or negative reading then drive for 4 minutes along a pre-determined route and take another reading.
First Full Day of Periodical Cicada Distribution Mapping.
After discussing a plan of action with the folks at U.C. Storrs the night before, it was decided that I should check out the area around Springfield Illinois. I started out early but didn't get to my first study area till around 10:30 am.
I started at a park just north of the main city of Springfield known as Riverside Park. Unfortunately, there was no calling going on here. I walked along the Sangamon river, found very few exit holes and only found 1 - 2 exuvia but I can't be sure that these are Magicicada exuvia because they are bigger. It was cloudy and 71 degrees outside.
Next Stop Carpenter Park, Sherman, IL.
I drove across the Sangamon River out of Springfield into a town called Sherman, IL and ended up at Carpenter Park which had a very high end exclusive Golf Club known as the "Rail Gulf Club" bordering it on one side. The temperature was still only 70 degrees but I did hear mostly M. septendecim with a few M. cassini mixed in. I'd estimate the density of the population to be small here because there really wasn't any specimens on the ground and what was there seemed to be up high in the trees. Still though, it could be that the reason for the low-sounding choruses was because it was still a little on the cool side.
Nothing But Negatives!
The next few places I went seemed to be nothing but negative readings. That's ok though because negative readings are equally if not more valuable than positive readings. This can indicate where the boundaries between periodical cicada brood distributions lie. After Carpenter Park in Sherman, IL I headed North on Rte 29 and ran into a small town called Green Acres. I headed east on Rte 1/1A and pulled onto Sulky Rd and ended up at the corner of Sulky and Hopple Hills Dr. Yep a big fat negative! No readings here.
The following are other areas where I recorded negative readings:
Strode Rd & Jeffries Rd
Meunch Rd & Central Point Rd (Rte 5)
Holy Cow - Positives Galore!!
Continuing west less than 1/2 mile from my previous negative data point, all-of-a-sudden I heard a screaming population of M. cassini periodical cicadas here while still driving along Central Point Rd. This time West of Rte 29. It's funny because at the top of a small hill there were no periodical cicadas calling but go down the hill about a 1/2 mile and there was a screaming population. Many cicadas were sitting down low and were very easy to observe.
I continued north and West of Central Point Rd along South Central Creek Road still well north of Springfield and came along another screaming population of M. cassini and M. septendecim. It was right along the road and I spent a few minutes here collecting specimens.
Magicicada M. septendecula Specimen Caught!
This is probably the first specimen of M. septendecula that I have seen out west here. Outside a place called Camp Cilca on Camp Cilca Road there were all three forms of Magicicada calling here. Down low I managed to obtain a specimen of M. septendecula. Time was around 1:00 pm and it was sunny and 76 degrees.
Brood XIII Alive and Well at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site.
So, starting at this point (my first positive record) I spent the day winding my way northwest taking data points every four miles or so which ended up being many of both positive and negative. I ended up in Petersburg Illinois at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic site. This site was the site of a previous positive record given to me by John Cooley and where I ended my mapping for the day. I'm happy to report that the cicadas are here and they are thriving!
These trees are directly across from a heavily wooded area and prove (according to Dr. Gene Kritsky) that Magicicada females do like younger trees in well landscaped "grassy" areas and will leave wooded areas where there are older trees and heavy undergrowth for these well landscaped areas.
Unfortunately though, serious damage can be done to young trees due to the severity of many female Magicicadas ovipositing in the same tree. Actually, the female Magicicadas make little "slices" in the bark of thin branches of young trees and can deposit as many as 60 eggs in each slice. The female can make many slices depositing more and more eggs. Sometimes when more than one female oviposits on the same branch this can stress the tree too much and cause the branch tips to actually turn brown and die.
Other observations included watching as M. cassini males attempted to form aggregations. Like in these three little guys to the left. Also, the M. cassinis were so loud, they were drowning out the M. septendecims which were putting on a rather loud performance as well. In addition, I noticed many M. septendecim males calling from of all places the parking lot!! They were just sitting on the ground happily calling in their haunting ufo-like call.
I'd like to end this update with a video of thousands of M. cassini calling and my attempt to zero in on one individual calling male. The range of my microphone is somewhat dismal and cannot really convey exactly how loud these Magicicada are in person. Click the thumbnail to the right to watch the video.