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Cicada Images from Concord, MA.

Sightings Category: Cicadas

Cicada Images from Concord, MA.

Hello, I live in Concord, Massachusetts and am an avid gardener and nature lover, but I really don't know much about insects. I was poking around the butterfly garden on Saturday, August 5th, and found this strange bug underneath a Tithonia leaf (Tithonia is an annual that butterflies love aka Mexican Sunflower). It was about 1 1/2 inches long. There was also a shell nearby so I figured it had just emerged from the shell and was "drying off" or something similar to what butterflies do when they emerge from the chrysalis. I posted a thread on the Gardenweb website requesting an ID and the knowledgeable people there told me it was a cicada and one person provided a link to your site and suggested that I email you a sighting. I hope this information is helpful for your research. I have always been fascinated by the loud buzzing sound that seems to come from the trees, and had no idea that this the bug that makes those sounds! Susan

Date Posted: 2006-08-07 Comments: (1) Show Comments Hide Comments


Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2010-11-26 | Website:

Hi Susan

Thanks for the photos. Yes you are correct, this is a species of cicada known as Tibicen canicularis - Dog Day Cicada. They sound like a buzz saw. It is one of the more common species here in Massachusetts. These are indeed the insects that make the sounds in the trees.

Your photos show that this specimen is in what is known as the "teneral" like "general" only with a "t". It has recently emerged from its nymphal skin. It will darken up significantly as the day goes on.

It lives underground as a nymph anywhere from 2 to 9 years (no one knows for sure) going through a series of 5 molts each time becoming a bigger nymph until it finally emerges. It lives above ground only for a month or so where the males make the buzzing sounds in the trees singing for a female. The females are not equipped with any sound organs at all so they are silent.

The other common species here is another Cicada known as Tibicen lyricen - the Lyric Cicada. These sound like an air conditioner that goes on and on and on and are larger than Tibicen canicularis.

As a final note, your specimen is indeed a male. Thank the people from the Gardenweb web site for mentioning me and yes your data is very important for my distribution mapping. Also, I live very close to Concord and was there a few weeks ago in early July. There is a rather large cemetery just off the center which I have been to in my study of cicadas. Cemeteries are ideal places because the trees are old and well-established and there is no undergrowth making them ideal for finding emerging cicadas.

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