Dedicated to the Study of the Cicadas of Massachusetts and New England


Cross-Species Mating in O'Fallon, MO

Sightings Category: Cicadas

Cross-Species Mating in O'Fallon, MO

Captive mating observed between two different Tibicen species:
When I came home after a night of collecting cicadas in a movie theater parking lot, I opened up my collection box to the sight of two male T. tibicens mating with two female T. pruinosus!

I just thought you might be interested in that. Sorry for the grainy photographs. I think I had my ASA setting wrong, or something like that.


Bill Myers

Date Posted: 2011-08-02 Comments: (7) Show Comments Hide Comments


Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-02 | Website:

Hey Bill,

What an awesome series of photos. Actually this is not the first time this behavior has been noted. Cross species mating has also been reported by two captive cicadas by a colleague of mine. I believe it was a captive T. canicularis and T. linnei. In general, wild-caught males will even try to mate with each other.

Generally speaking, since these cicadas were in such close proximity, calling does not seem to be a prerequesite to mating. Even cicadas of the same species will mate in captivity.

It would be interesting to see if the eggs produced would be viable. And if so, what kind of offspring they would produce.

Finally, we have stongly suspected hybridization of species in the wild, most noteably between T. linnei and T. pruinosus as some pretty strange calls have been reported in Illinois and other places out west and even in North Carolina not to mention some strange morphologies.

Too bad the incubation period of the young is so long. In Tibicens, I believe its anywhere from 2 to 9 years depending on species. If you are able to keep the juveniles alive for that long, it would be interesting.

Posted By: Jake Readnour | On: 2011-08-02 | Website:

this is right were my intrest is...very good bill. i do not know if theese two species can produce hybrids or not. my guess is no. i have noted hybridization in illinois as gerry said but only in the green group. to bad we couldnt conduct some reserch on this matter. amazing thats all i can say

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-02 | Website:

If the genitalia fit together in order for them to mate, why not have viable offspring? We as humans can mate between the races and have offspring. We are all human.

The same should be true for cicadas they are after all "Cicadas". Finally, the offspring could be sterile though. Who knows?

Posted By: Bill Meyers | On: 2011-08-02 | Website:

I released the two females into the wild earlier this morning so that they could deposit their eggs. I made sure to annotate in my notebook the tree they were in. I'll keep an eye out for their offspring in the future.

By the way, I am curious as to the number of eggs laid by an annual Tibicen cicada. I have observed that the Tibicen nymphs usually come out in pairs. The most T. nymphs I have seen at one time on a tree is four. So, that kind of has me curious about the number of eggs a T. female lays.


Posted By: Jake Readnour | On: 2011-08-02 | Website:

well thats true gerry. they are in the same genus but who knows if their genetics would sync up. i have never seen any hybrid cicadas that are not in the so call green group. but i may have had a lyricin x pruinosus once. it was tan and had a faint black pronotal color but the rest of it looked like a pruinosus so it is possible like you said

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-03 | Website:

Hi Bill,

Like other things regarding cicadas, I'm not sure that anyone has actually sat there and counted the number of eggs each species of cicada lays. But it has been speculated that depending upon species, they lay anywhere from two to six hundred eggs.

Of course with such a high number per female there must be a substantial die-off of the offspring during the juvenile cycle. Who knows what really goes on underground where they develop?

Regarding nymph numbers, I have seen a lot more than those numbers on single trees. While annual cicadas are not developmentally synchronized, I would imaging that cicadas from the same brood year might have some localized periodicity especially if they come from the same female. That of course if they survive the juvenile cycle.

Its also been my experience as well as others that if you hit it right, one night can produce a lot of nymphs of the same species in a localized area. Jake for instance had great luck in finding T. robinsonianus nymphs and eclosing individuals on a single night.

Posted By: Jake Readnour | On: 2011-08-03 | Website:

yes yes very true. however i think if i went back to litchfeild i would find the same amount again. the robinsoniaus are so thick in that area becouse they only stratify on conifers in that area. its almost like treddecassini (very patchy and thick)i do think tibicens sync up as well. I have certain trees that produce T.lyricen for two weeks every night then they are gone. However this might be multiple females laying eggs in the same tree and it seems T.lyricen seem to emerge in july and realy slow down in august, so what i am observing may not be nymphs of the same female at all? One thing i would like to add is....we cut down a huge green ash that T.pronotalis stratifeid in and T,pronotalis nymphs were found four years after it was cut down indicating a possible four to five year life cycle for T.pronotalis

Add Comment

All Cicada Sightings

Cicada Sightings 2013

Cicada Sightings 2012

Cicada Sightings 2011

Cicada Sightings 2010

Cicada Sightings 2009

Cicada Sightings 2008

Cicada Sightings 2007

Cicada Sightings 2006

Submit Report

Did you spot an annual cicada or a cicada killer wasp? If you did and you have a photo and want to report it, please click the link below.

Brood I Information

The Brood I periodical cicada emergence happened in 2012 in Virginia, W. Virginia and Tennessee. Below are some of the highlights.

Brood XIX Information

The Brood XIX periodical cicada emergence has come and gone. Below is some information that you may find helpful.