May 01, 2004

Magicicadas Brood X

It is time to go out and look for the cicada chimneys after the rain tomorrow. Remember: cicadas are not only harmless, they are good for our environment. Don't hurt them.

There are 3 species in this brood. The songs differ a bit as does appearance.

  1. Magicicada septendecim (L.) the largest; will have orange stripes on the under abdomen; sing the word "pharoh"
  2. Magicicada cassini (Fisher) smaller; mostly black abdomen; sing tick tick and buzz
  3. Magicicada septendecula (Alexander and Moore) the rarest; about the size of M. cassini but with orange abdomen stripes like M. septendecim, though less dramatic.

How to tell a males from a female? Turn the cicada over and look at the abdomen. The female will have a groove for the ovipositor, the male a square flap at the end.

We have a number of books about insects. Two of the most attractive and interesting are:
595.7051 EVANS Life on a little-known planet by Howard Evans and 595.7051 WALDBAU Insects through the seasons by Gilbert Waldbauer (wonderful cicada drawing on page 28).

Websites:

Cicadamania (Are you reading this web log in XML sydication? You can also subscribe to the Cicadamania RSS feed)

The official cicada site of the College of Mount St. Joseph Help with the brood mapping by reporting your emergence here.

University of Michigan periodic cicada page Great pictures and wav files of the songs. You can see the differences between males and females and among species. The Indiana University cicada page hasn't emerged yet.

National Geographic news story on brood X.

Cicada recipes from the University of Maryland (pdf file)

The prime number periodical cicada problem (pdf) The cicadas aren't the problem. The question as to why the cycles are primes is the problem. Because 17 is not divisible by a parasite's life cycle? You can see an visual demonstration at music of the primes (choose play).

We do see some cicadas in other years. We also get brood II (17 yr, last seen 1996) and brood XIV (17 yr, 1991). And some cicadas just don't follow the rules.

What happens if the tree your cicadas fell from 17 years ago died? Were cicadas more prevalent in the forests when they weren't being mashed by cars? Is brood X splitting up? Read the Economist article.

Still convinced they are dangerous, poisonous and our enemies? Visit Cicadaville

Eating cicadas? Be careful if you have food allergies.

Posted by library at May 1, 2004 08:19 PM
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