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When Does Okanagana Season Begin? - Part 1

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When Does Okanagana Season Begin? - Part 1

Okanagana rimosa shell

That's actually a pretty good question. I have been curious about this since I first discovered O. rimosa in Massachusetts in 2007. Steadily for the past 3 years I have been coming back to this site. The earliest Okanagana rimosa visit to this Massachusetts site was last year on June 6th, 2009.

However, on July 18th of 2009 I found a NEW site for Okanagana in New Hampshire. This new site was found on a whim based on an obscure mention of a town in New Hampshire from a paper I read from William T. Davis published in the 1930's. Last year the updates were few and far between because of the Massachusetts Cicadas' web site being in transition so that is why you haven't heard about this new site til now. I will get caught up on back articles that still need to be written. Then I will write about how I discovered this new site. It's a good thing I take notes when cicada hunting. So the data and the photos are not lost.

Suffice it to say, this new site in New Hampshire had Okanagana rimosa cicadas in abundance. Since Okanagana rimosa is known to be "proto-periodical", ie; they experience heavy emergences approximately every 4 to 5 years, last year seemed to be a banner year for them. There were so many around and calling in the trees, I actually wondered if I hit one of these proto-periodical years. Only time will tell I suppose.

Now I have two sites for Okanagana that need visiting. One here in Massachusetts and one in New Hampshire. I will probably spend more time at the Massachusetts site because it is a lot closer to where I live than the one in New Hampshire but the one in New Hampshire still needs to be studied.

Okanagana in New Hampshire

I was curious to know if Okanagana was currently out at this new site in New Hampshire so I went today (May30th, 2010) to find out. After driving several hours to get there, I was walking around looking for any evidence in the form of specimens or exuvia when all-of-a-sudden I began to hear sporadic single males calling. It's interesting about O. rimosa. When one male calls others soon join in. But over all, I think the maximum I heard calling at any one time was probably 3.

New Spot in New Hampshire - Ossipee Pine Barrens

Ossipee Pine Barrens habitat for OkanaganaOssipee Pine BarrensLast year I did extensive mapping in this area to guage O. rimosa' range. Their distribution seems to cover several towns so it is actually a much larger area than the Montague Plains site in Massachusetts. However, areas to actually find specimens seems to be a bit more difficult because most of this area seems to be covered in very tall conifers. Finding sites where they are down low proved difficult. I did find two spots though, one of these spots I found this year and is known as the Ossipee Pine Barrens. This habitat seems very similar to Montague Plains, Massachusetts site. It has pitch pine and scrub oak forrests with a lot of undergrowth and yes it includes areas with blueberries. (This seems to be key).

Okanagana Exuvia Found!

O. rimosa exuviaFor the first time since 2004, I finally found Okanagana rimosa cast of exuvia at Ossipee Pine Barrens. I actually found spots that had 2 exuvia on the trees. Distribution of the exuvia seemed to be anywhere from 1 inch off the ground at the base of pitch-pine trees or as high as 6 feet. Unfortunately though, I was unable to find live nymphs. But it's only a matter of time until I do.

Okanagana exuvia are strikingly different from Tibicen exuvia or even Magicicada exuvia since they possess exceedingly prominent black stripes. I managed to find a total of 8 exuvia at Ossipee Pine Barrens, including some that were from last year. At the bases of some of the trees was littered with old exuvia from previous years. One could tell the difference from these prior year exuvia because the black stripes were extremely faded. Click the images below to familiarize yourself with them.

Date Posted: 2010-05-30 Comments: (2) Show CommentsHide Comments


Posted By: Jakob Yahkima | On: 2014-12-14 | Website:

I wonder about the U.K.

Has there ever been remnants left behind of the cicada species?

Posted By: Brandy | On: 2017-08-24 | Website:

Do you know the distribution of these guys? Or maybe that was your overall point- that you only know of two locations worldwide...? My family does not get my cicada fascination; thank goodness for the internet to let me know I'm not *entirely* alone!

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