Tibicen auletes Caught on the Vineyard!
News Category: Cicada Missions
Tibicen auletes Caught on the Vineyard!
This is it, my last full day here. I'm really feeling the pressure. It was great to discover that T. auletes is definitely here. I've heard its call on various parts of the island. It even called a few times at my camp site. But up to this point, I have been unsuccessful in capturing one.
I spent the day hiking at various Wildlife Conservation areas owned by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank but have been unsuccessful in hearing the call of T. auletes. By this time it is getting later and later in the day so I decide to head to the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. I decided to focus on a section of the State Forest off of Barnes Road.
When I first started hiking I heard the call of T. auletes in a large pine tree but it was inaccessable due to all the undergrowth and soon it stopped calling. I heard another call in a scrub oak along a fire road during my hike but again it was inaccessible from my location.
Success At Last!!
After several hours of hiking I decided to call it a day. My ferry ride to the mainland was tomorrow evening at 8:30 pm. At least after I pack up camp, I had a few hours to try one more time.
So, I went to my car to pack away my gear when I heard a T. auletes calling from across the street. I immediately headed there, net in hand. Then I heard another, then another. I decided to focus only on one of these calls. There was one calling across a meadow lined with scrub oaks and pine. When I made it there, I could hear it calling from about 12 feet up, then I spotted it!
I slowly brought my net up and just like how I caught the previous T. lyricen, I placed my net over the T. auletes in order to coax it onto the mesh of my net. When I moved the net slowly away from the branch, I saw that the T. auletes was no longer on the tree branch but was in the net!
Apparently it was completely unaware of what was going on. I slowly lowered the net down all the way to the ground, effectively covering the specimen in the mesh net and the ground. Reaching inside I grabbed the specimen!
The alarm squawk of this specimen is the loudest squawk I have heard to date from any cicada. It is just a continuous screech that is ear-piercing. Click the thumnail to the left to download. Be warned, it is 44 seconds long. If you have a dial-up connection this will take some time to download.
I cannot convey to you the satisfaction and joy I felt at this accomplishment. At last! I finally got what I came for. Full circle. Not only did that paper prove to be true but I had recordings and a live specimen as proof! I cannot describe how if feels to start a mission and actually accomplish it. While I've never done this before, click the thumbnail to the right to see a picture of me with my prize. Note the scrub-oak in the background.
Below are some photos of this specimen. Enjoy.
- Pic 1 - Dorsal view.
- Pic 2 - Head closeup dorsal view.
- Pic 3 - Ventral view.
- Pic 4 - Head shot ventral view.
- Pic 5 - Abdomen and timbals
- Pic 6 - Closeup ventral view of abdomen.
T. auletes A Real Attention-Grabber.
So, I made it back to the campground with the specimen. Previously, I discussed with my campsite neighbors about what I was doing there on Martha's Vineyard. Of how I was there doing research on the distribution of cicada species in New England and how I found evidence of T. auletes being here etc.
My neighbors to the left consisted of several mothers and their children and a set of grand-parents. I got to know the grand-parents pretty well and had many nightly discussions with them. Every day when I made it back to camp, they inquired as to how my day went and if I had any success. Up until this point I had nothing to report and I'm sure they took note of the disappointment on my face.
However, when I reported that I had success on this day and I showed them the T. auletes, they were truly amazed. I even took the specimen out of the jar so they could listen to the alarm squawk. Well, this had my neighbors on both sides curious. The grandchildren came running over wondering what all the noise was. When they saw the T. auletes specimen, I had an enraptured audience for several hours that night. I told them everything I knew about cicadas. About their life cycle, their behavior, what they ate, why the males sing in trees, the whole thing.
Even the owner of the campground who also knew what I was up to came over but kind of shrugged off the specimen stating "Yeah, I see those here all the time."
But in the end everyone was happy at my success so who could argue with that?