Brood XIII 2007 - Tons of Fun!
News Category: Cicada Missions
Brood XIII 2007 - Tons of Fun!
Hi everyone, sorry I'm so late with the updates but there has been so much stuff going on that at the end of each day, I'm too tired to write anything. But I know that I am only making things worse for myself, because the longer I wait with the updates the more difficult it will be to get them done because I will fall farther and farther behind. Not to mention all the data and photos need to be arranged in such a way that makes sense for you. Suffice it to say, tons of interesting work is going on here!
I met up with Joe Green, after driving in from Indiana on June 1st. Joe is a fellow cicada enthusiast who is also a member of Massachustts Cicadas' Cicadidae group. We were staying at the same Red Roof Inn hotel in Northbrook which made things convenient. I'll break down as best I can where we went.
Joe and I spent all day June 2nd going all over the Deerfield and Northbrook Illinois area mapping Brood XIII's distribution and noting the intensity of the different calls.
First Stop Somme Woods Forest Preserve
This is a small wooded preserve located around the corner from the hotel on the corner of Waukegan and Dundee Road. Somme Woods Forest Preserve was crawling with Magicicada on June 2nd. We arrived around 7:30 am and the M. septendecim seemed to be starting up. There is also some M. cassini around as well. They seem to start to go, then all-of-a-sudden stop. I mentioned this to Joe. I think that it is still pretty cool for them at this time of the morning.
We were finding nymphs on some of the trees. Joe took a few specimens to see if he could get them to eclose in a special jar. Click the thumbnail to the left for a closer look at this Magicicada nymph on Joe's forearm.
Unfortunately we were finding a ton of evidence of deformities and other malformed cicadas in this area. But one has to take the good with the bad. We found examples of malformed wings, the Massospora cicadina fungal infection and even failures to properly eclose. Plus other strange oddities. Click the thumbnails below.
It would seem that as the natural areas around Chicago continue to decline and the wild places become less and less, "overcrowding" for places to molt by the Magicicada will continue to see evidence of huge deformities due to the competition for space. Magicicada nymphs can be quite aggressive when trying to find a good spot to molt.
Even the lower life forms seemed to like to prey on cicadas in one form or another. Below we found some evidence of what seemed to be a form of parasitism.
Sometimes though, some of the deformities can be very unique like the series of photos below. These were taken from an eclosing male M. septendecim that seemed to be lacking the red pigmentation to a portion of one of it's eyes. A very unique and odd thing. Everyone has heard of the rare blue or white eyed Magicicada but this is something different. Click the thumbnails below for a closer look.
Joe and I stayed at the Somme Woods Forest Preserve for several hours and despite all the problems with the Magicicada that we saw here, there were still a ton that seemed to be very healthy and none the worst for wear. Click the thumbnails below for happy Magicicadas.
Next Stop - Northwood Circle off Waukegan - Deerfield, Il.
We decided to stop in this rural neighborhood because Joe and I could not get over just how loud the chorusing Magicicadas were. Not to mention on the corner way down low seemed to be unusually high concentrations of cicadas. It was around 10:00 in the morning so everyone was in "full swing" with the chorusing.
The Tree of a Thousand Magicicada Tenerals!
For those wondering, a teneral is what a newly molted cicada is actually known as. It is the soft pink or white fragile state before their exoskeleton fully hardens. Other types of insects like dragonflies and damselflies can also be tenerals as they go from a nymphal form through an eclose process to a fully developed adult state. But like previously stated, places to molt are at a premium for Magicicada in northern Chicago so some of these guys will not be able to complete the process. For now click on the thumbnails below to see these amazing photos.
Magicicada septendecim Mating Call
While walking back up to the corner I could hear the lone call of a Magicicada septendecim male. What an ideal opportunity to video this! Click the thumbnail to the right to have view of the video. Look for more cool videos like this to come during this incredible Brood XIII emergence.
Del Mar Woods - Lake County Forest Preserve
From our previous location on Northwood Circle which was off of Waukegan where Joe and I filmed the single male M. septendecim calling and photographed the "Tree of Tenerals" (click the thumbnail to the left), Del Mar Woods is part of the Lake County Forest Preserve which also includes Ryerson Woods and many other forest preserves in Lake County. This seemed like an ideal place as it contained a long paved bike trail with several dirt paths leading off of it.
When Joe and I first arrived here we discovered a cool "brown-eyed" Magicicada. While it wasn't a white or blue eyed cicada it still was pretty cool compared to the regular red-eyed variety we see everywhere. Check out the full-sized images below by clicking on the thumbnails.
As we walked into the woods I couldn't help noticing that the concentration of M. septendecims and their chorus seemed louder than previously recorded. All these male cicadas of the same species coming together in one area was another ideal opportunity to make a recording. Click the thumbnail to the right to hear thousands of M. septendecims calling at once. They sound like hovering UFO's in a video game. Quite different from M. cassini calls which I will be posting later.
This area ended up having tons of low bushes that kind of reminded me of blueberry bushes and they were covered in M. septendecim cicadas. We even witnessed several mating pairs. I was surprised to see mating pairs so early in June considering that the Magicicadas had only emerged from the ground like 10 days earlier. Click the thumbnails left and right for larger pictures.
M. septendecim Second-Stage Mating Call
Having all these Magicicada septendecims so low to the ground gave an ideal opportunity to watch the behavior of the male cicadas while they were in full chorus. A male would call in one location for no more than three times then fly a short distance, like to another branch in the same bush and call for another three times then fly on to another location.
What was interesting about the whole thing was that there would be females readily available in the same bushes but they (the females) seemed to be totally oblivious to the males for whatever reason. Maybe they were recent emergences and were not quite ready for mating.
Sometimes though, I was able to observe the secondary mating call of the male M. septendecim as they would try to court another cicada. It didn't even matter if the other cicada was another male M. septendecim!
Click the thumbnail below to observe an M. septendecim get to the second stage mating call with another male M. septendecim. It starts out at first stage then briefly goes to second stage when all-of-a-sudden the male it was courting flies off!! See if you can tell when this male gets to second stage.
Ryerson Woods Conservation Area - Dr. Gene Kritsky Lecture
Joe and I spent a good part of the day at the Del Mar woods location. We finally made it back to the hotel around 3:00 pm just long enough for me to have a light nap. At round 4:00 pm my phone rang and it was Roy Troutman calling indicating that he had just checked in. He and I went to dinner along with his brother-in-law Gary. Joe didn't want to go with us because he was busy labeling and studying the specimens he collected today.
Roy Troutman has been interested in Cicadas for many years and has contributed a lot of photographs and very cool videos to not only this web site but to the Cicadamania web site as well. He has also donated photographs and videos to Chicago's Field Museum.
We were all scheduled to attend a lecture at 6:00 pm at the Ryerson Woods Conservation area being chaired by Dr. Gene Kritsky, the world's foremost expert on Periodical Cicadas. The title of the lecture is "Periodical Cicada: The Plague and the Puzzle" and is based on Dr. Kritsky's book of the same name.
Finally! - Putting Faces to Names - Cicada Nerds ASSEMBLE!!!
For a number of years now, I have been interested in cicadas and while being interested in this particular insect, certain names will forever be tied to them. Names that include the following:
Dan Mozgai - Cicadamania.com
Roy Troutman - Independent Researcher
Joe Green - Independent Researcher
Gerry Bunker - Overall Cool Guy and Independent Researcher :)
All these names have several things in common besides being interested in cicadas:
- We were all at Dr. Gene Kritsky's lecture at Ryerson Woods and
- We are all members of Massachusetts Cicadas' Cicadidae discussion group through Yahoo! Groups.
So when we were all in the same place at the same time, it was great to put some faces to the names of these people whom I have communicated with for many years online. Click the thumbnail below to see a group-shot of the Cicada Nerds.
From left to right: Dan - Cicadamania.com; Roy Troutman; Me (Gerry Bunker) Massachusetts Cicadas; Joe Green.
Gene Kritsky's lecture was very interesting and informative and was over sold. There had to be at least 60 people there. Afterwards I introduced myself to Dr. Kritsky and explained my interest and research areas as they pertain to cicadas. I bought a copy of his book as previously mentioned and asked if I could get a photograph with him. So I will end this latest update with a photograph of me, the Cicada Nerd on the left and Dr. Gene Kritsky.
June 2, 2007 Periodical Cicada Distribution Map
Joe and I only visited 4 places this day but to be honest there was so much activity at these 4 places that we spent hours at each location. Especially looking at the tree of 100 Magicicada tenerals. That was really cool!! The meeting at the Ryerson Woods Conservation area was also a great time. Not much distribution mapping was accomplished I'm afraid.