Can Cicadas Lay Eggs in Your Skin? Debunking the Myth

Cicadas, the noisy insects that emerge in large numbers every few years, might have you wondering if they pose any risks to humans. One question that often arises is whether these creatures can lay their eggs in our skin. The simple answer is no, cicadas do not lay their eggs in human skin.

After mating, female cicadas seek out young, tender branches on trees to lay their eggs. They use a sharp, knife-like structure on their abdomen to cut a slit in the branch and deposit the eggs inside it Cicada Life Cycle. This behavior is specifically adapted to their unique reproductive cycle and doesn’t involve humans as hosts.

Though cicadas are not harmful to humans or pets, they can still cause damage to young trees and shrubs when laying eggs Cicadas | US EPA. It’s important to be mindful of their presence in your area to protect your garden if necessary.

Can Cicadas Lay Eggs in Your Skin?

Insects and Human Skin

Cicadas are harmless insects, often known for their distinct sound. These creatures do not possess any sting or bite mechanism, making them incapable of hurting humans. Their primary purpose is to mate and lay eggs on tree branches.

Female cicadas lay eggs in young, tender tree branches using a knife-like structure on their abdomen. They are not attracted to human skin and do not pose any threat as they seek entirely different environments for egg-laying.

Comparing cicadas with other insects:

Insects Sting/Bite Dangerous to Humans Lay Eggs in Human Skin Primary Habitat
Cicadas No No No Trees/Plants
Mosquitoes Yes Yes No Various
Ticks Yes Yes No Various

To emphasize, cicadas are:

  • Harmless to humans
  • Not attracted to human skin
  • Not capable of laying eggs in the skin

In summary, cicadas are not dangerous insects and have no interest in laying eggs in human skin. Their life revolves around mating, laying eggs in tree branches, and ultimately dying after fulfilling their purpose.

Cicada Life Cycle and Reproduction

Mating Process

Cicadas have a unique mating process where males sing to attract females. They do this by vibrating a membrane on the sides of their bodies. The females respond to the song by flicking their wings, which signals their acceptance of the male.

Egg Laying and Nymphs

After mating, female cicadas lay eggs in slits they make on tree branches. The eggs hatch into nymphs after six to seven weeks, then they fall to the ground and start living underground. As nymphs, they feed on sap from plant roots and molt their exoskeleton multiple times, growing larger with each molt. They spend 2-5 years underground as nymphs before emerging as adults to start the mating process again 1.

Periodical and Annual Cicadas

Cicadas are classified into two main types: periodical cicadas and annual cicadas2. Here’s a comparison table for easy reference:

Feature Periodical Cicadas Annual Cicadas
Emergence Cycle Every 13 or 17 years Every year
Appearance Black with red eyes/legs Green or black
Broods Size Contains thousands Smaller groups
Mating Strategy Mass synchronized emergence Individual emergence

Periodical cicadas are usually part of large broods that emerge in substantial numbers after 13 or 17 years underground. They often have a synchronized emergence, which overwhelms predators and ensures the survival of their species3. Annual cicadas, on the other hand, emerge every year and are more limited in numbers.

In summary, cicadas have a fascinating life cycle and reproduction process that includes unique mating habits, egg-laying methods, and differing emergence patterns between periodical and annual cicadas.

Geographical Distribution and Types of Cicadas

Brood X: Eastern U.S. and Midwest

Brood X, also known as the Great Eastern Brood, is one of the most prominent broods of periodical cicadas in North America:

  • Found in 15 Eastern U.S. states
  • Occurs every 17 years

States affected by Brood X include Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Other Prominent Broods of Cicadas

  • Brood XIII: Occurs every 17 years in Iowa and Wisconsin
  • Brood XIX: Occurs every 13 years and can be found in states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina

Cicadas vs locusts and grasshoppers:

  • Cicadas are not closely related to locusts or grasshoppers
  • Locusts and grasshoppers are part of the order Orthoptera, while cicadas are part of the order Hemiptera

Cicadas Around the World

Cicada species are found worldwide, except in cold regions such as Antarctica:

  • Over 3,000 cicada species worldwide
  • Annual and periodical cicadas can be found on every continent except Antarctica

Notable locations:

  • North America: Home to the periodical cicadas with the 13 and 17-year life cycles
  • India: Many cicada species are found in tropical and subtropical regions
Type Cicadas Description
Periodical Brood X Eastern U.S. & Midwest, every 17 years
Periodical Brood XIII Iowa & Wisconsin, every 17 years
Periodical Brood XIX Southern U.S., every 13 years

Cicadas and Their Impact on Humans and Nature

Cicada Sounds and Loudness

Cicadas are known for their distinctive loud sounds. Male cicadas create these noises by vibrating a membrane on the sides of their bodies. To give you an idea of how loud they can be:

  • Decibel levels of cicadas can reach up to 100 dB!
  • This is similar to the noise level of a motorcycle or a lawnmower.

Interaction with Plants

Cicadas interact with plants in several ways:

  • Female cicadas lay eggs in tree branches by making slits and depositing the eggs there.
  • When the larvae hatch, they fall to the ground and burrow into the soil to feed on plant fluids from plant roots.
  • This lifecycle can affect trees, shrubs, and other plants in their vicinity.

Effect on Predators and Prey

Periodical cicadas play a role in ecosystem dynamics:

  • They serve as food for various predators, including birds, mammals, and other insect-eating animals.
  • Their emergence in large numbers can lead to an increase in predator populations.
  • Conversely, the absence of cicadas during the majority of their life cycle (spent underground) may lead to a decrease in predator populations.

In summary, cicadas have noticeable effects on both humans and nature, particularly through their loud sounds and unique interactions with plants and predators. While they may seem like a nuisance, cicadas provide valuable insights into the workings of ecosystems and are a critical event for understanding ecological changes, particularly in the Eastern U.S. and Midwest regions.

Myth Debunking and Real Skin-Related Insects

Cicadas vs. Other Insects That Affect Human Skin

Cicadas are often misunderstood due to their loud mating calls and large size. However, they do not pose any threats to human skin. Cicadas lay eggs in branches of trees, not people’s skin. Their mandibles are not strong enough to penetrate human flesh.

On the other hand, insects such as mosquitos, mites, jiggers, and fleas affect human skin. These insects can cause various issues ranging from itchiness and rash to more severe problems like scabies. Here is a comparison table for Cicadas and other skin-affecting insects:

Cicadas Skin-affecting Insects
Mandibles Weak Strong
Bites No Yes
Affects Live tree branches Human skin
Symptoms N/A Itching, rash, scabies

Precautions and Treatments for Insect Invasions

  • Wear protective clothing outdoors
  • Use insect repellent
  • Install screens on windows
  • Regularly check for insect infestations

Examples of treatments to ease symptoms caused by skin-affecting insects include:

  • Anti-itch creams
  • Calamine lotion
  • Oral antihistamines
  • Anti-inflammatory medication

In severe cases, like scabies, stronger medication and specialized topical treatments are necessary. Always consult with a medical professional for accurate diagnosis and treatment of insect-related skin problems.

To summarize, cicadas do not lay eggs in human skin, and their mandibles are not strong enough to bite. Other insects, like mosquitos, mites, jiggers, and fleas, are real skin-related issues, and proper precautions should be taken to avoid complications.

Fascinating Cicada Facts

Unique Appearance Features

Cicadas are known for their distinct features. Some characteristics include:

  • Fly-like appearance: They are often mistaken for flies due to their size and shape.
  • Wings: Cicadas possess transparent wings, spanning more than twice their body length.
  • Color: These insects have a predominantly black body with green markings on the thorax.
  • Red eyes: A striking feature of cicadas is their large, bright red eyes.

Additionally, the male cicada has a unique structure responsible for producing its characteristic loud noises.

Entomologists and Cicada Studies

Entomologists have spent years studying cicadas, which are considered insects of significant interest. Such studies have revealed fascinating facts about their behavior, such as the purpose of their distinctive loud noises. For example, it has been found that the loud noise produced by male cicadas is actually a mating call intended to attract females.

In terms of their size, cicadas can vary greatly, though they commonly measure around 1 inch in length. As part of their research, entomologists also study the interaction between cicadas and their environment, focusing on factors including:

  • Sex: Mating behaviors and the reproductive process.
  • Lifecycle: Nymph stages lasting from 2 to 5 years, depending on environmental factors.
  • Pesticides: The potential impact of pesticides on cicada populations.

Comparison of Cicada Characteristics:

Trait Male Cicada Female Cicada
Noisemaking Produces loud calls Silent
Mating Purpose Attracts females Chooses male to mate
Reproduction N/A Lays 400-600 eggs

Cicadas, despite their unique features and fascinating life cycle, do not pose any direct threat to humans. It is important, however, to remain informed about these insects and take precautions when necessary to protect the environment and their ecosystem.

Footnotes

  1. Cicada Life Cycle
  2. Periodical Cicadas
  3. Annual and Periodical Cicada

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Scarab Beetle Grubs, NOT Periodical Cicadas

 

Subject:  Cicada???
Geographic location of the bug:  Delaware April 6
Date: 04/08/2021
Time: 10:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you tell me what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Robin

Scarab Grub

Our Auto-response: Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

Please help me.  I am trying to get this Id so I can send to local paper who wants it if it is a cicada.
Enjoy Life,
Robin Coventry

Scarab Grubs

Dear Robin,
We suspect your urgent identification request is related to the imminent appearance of the Brood X Periodical Cicadas, sometimes called 17-Year Locusts though they are not true locusts.  CicadaMania has information on Brood X which last appeared in 2004, when we were but a fledgeling website.  These are not immature Cicadas.  You did not indicate where they were located.  These are Beetle Grubs.  We suspect they may have been found in or near a rotting stump and we believe, due to their size, that they may be the Grubs of Eastern Hercules Beetles.  Here is an image from BugGuide of Eastern Hercules Beetle Grubs.  The adult male Hercules Beetle is an impressive creature, the heaviest North American Beetle.

Letter 2 – Small Grass Cicada

 

Subject: Clicking bug but I down think it’s a beetle
Location: Largo fl
July 19, 2017 7:45 am
It was on my mom’s scrunchy hairtie, she said it kept clicking and she pulled her hair out of a bun, and this bug didn’t even flinch.
It’s slightly red on its back and it’s like shaking one of its back wings. It’s not hurt but it won’t leave.
Signature: Cevanna

Small Grass Cicada

Dear Cevanna,
This is a Cicada, and based on the information you provided, we are guessing it was a very small Cicada, probably a Small Grass Cicada in the genus
Cicadetta, and according to BugGuide:  “These are small delicate cicadas often mistaken for “Tree/Leaf Hoppers”.  All members are less than an inch in length incl. wings.  They are variable in color from bright lime green to tan to boldly patterned with browns and/or greens.”  Cicadas are among the most vocal of all insects, and large Cicadas produce the loudest sounds in the insect class.

Thanks so much! It was driving me crazy because usually I can investigate Google until I find it but I couldn’t with this bug!

Letter 3 – Silhouetted Cicada

 

HUGE winged bug
Dear bugman,
After hearing a kind of a thud, I looked out and saw this bug had landed on my window screen. After the creepyness wore off, I was intrigued. I was able to take some pictures before my cat took notice and scared it away. It’s a bit dark, but would you be able to help me ID this bug. I could only see it from underneath, so I can’t say much about what it looks like. It was kind of dirty olive coloured, about 3cm long without wings, 4cm with wings. I’ve never seen a big winged bug like that! It looked like a giant fly. Thanks! I’m attaching a couple of pics. cheers!

The silhouette is definitely that of a Cicada.

Letter 4 – Six Spotted Tiger Beetle and Dog Day Harvestfly

 

Green beetle and cicada
Hello! I have two pictures for you, the first is a beetle I was hoping you could help me identify. I have seen this gorgeous metallic green beetle many times, but this time, I thought to grab a Ziploc to stick him in so he would be more cooperative while I tried to take his picture (he’s very fast for a beetle). Also, I thought I’d send you this cicada who I found singing his heart out on my deck the other day. He politely quieted down to pose for the picture. Do you know what those little red dots between his eyes are for? Thank you!
Gretchen Bertram, Iowa

Hi Gretchen,
What wonderful photos. The green beetle is a Tiger Beetle. It might take some time to identify an exact species. The Cicada is one of the Annual Cicadas known as Dog Day Harvestflies. The red dots are simple eyes known as ocelli. Many insects have ocelli as well as compound eyes.

Update (08/22/2006)
Hello Lisa Anne and Daniel,
I recently came across your website and I was pleased to see such a vibrant (and well-done) site. I’m an entomologist and evolutionary biologist (specializing on the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of tiger beetles and their close relatives) and I have to say that I’m impressed with your accuracy rate! It’s much, much better than other comparable sites I’ve come across over the years. The two of you must really love insects.
This is a specimen of Cicindela sexguttata. Although the name implies that they have six-spots, they regularly do not in a significant part of their range (especially in the midwest). They can have as many as 12 spots or often none at all. Nice find! Hope that helps. I thought there would probably be a lot of sexguttata photos, and it looks like there were. The name confuses so many people, especially in the midwest where they are usually immaculate (I’ve got some really weird variants as well, since I’m completing a revision of the entire clade that that species falls within). I’ll bookmark your site and check it out when I’m having trouble sleeping again!
Daniel P. Duran
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

Letter 5 – Periodical Cicada Metamorphosis

 

Brood X Photos
Well, better late than never. Here are web resolution versions of the first Broox X cicada that I saw here in Rockville, Maryland on May 14, 2004. These were taken with a Canon 10D digital SLR. I think these could be published in a magazine, don’t you? I have these two in 6.3 MP versions, or easily 8″ x 10″ in a magazine or twice that size on a digital printer. Anyway, just wanted to share these and mention that I could crop them to show amazing detail of a mysterious moment in nature. Take care.
Alex Campuzano

Hi Alex,
We love your images and like the two letters together. Your photos are of excellent quality. Good luck with publishing them.

Letter 6 – Periodical Cicada Swarm (last year: Brood X)

 

Greetings Bugman!
Last summer in may we were blessed with thousands of these creatures! I cannot remember if this is the 17 year cycle cicada, or if it is a different amount of time. being a night creature myself, I decided to watch the emergence of these wonderful bugs from its previous shell. the first two pictures were taken may 15th 2004 – 2:00 a.m., 4:00 am. (not included was the 1:00 pm next day of the completely dry cicada next to its shell.) The third might have been from another night. The 4th picture is just to show the abundance of them in our backyard. (Columbus, Indiana) When they first arrived, we only heard the gentle cooing hum of the females(?) and we all thought there was something wrong with the powerlines! I just thought you might like to add these to your collection!
Lydia C. Burris

Hi Lydia,
Thanks for your awesome images. These are the Periodical Cicadas, sometimes called the 17 Year Locust. There are many different broods, and yours are from Brood X, one of the largest. Every different locale gets these amazing creatures in a different yearly cycle. Having different cycles helps to ensure the perpetuation of the species. There are also 14 Year Periodical Cicadas.

Update from David Gracer (06/12/2006)
www.slshrimp.com
Cicadas both annual and, particularly, periodic have been popular human food for a very long time. Native Americans ate them; they’re popular in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Aristotle, extolling how delicious he found cicadas, preferred them still in the brown shell that the adult form hatches out of. In 2004 I drove to Princeton NJ and harvested several pounds off the trees. I even popped a couple of the newly emerged white ones down the hatch. Very soft, creamy and good, like asparagus (which other tasters have commented upon.) Cooked and crunchy-hard they’re still great; nutty.

Letter 7 – Possibly Glowworm (or maybe Cicada Parasite Beetle)

 

Interesting Antennae
Mon, May 25, 2009 at 2:04 PM
Hello, Bugman,
A long time ago I spotted this interesting insect in my laundry room. It is dark brown, with black wings, thin, has a relatively small head and, maybe most importantly, has curled, feathery antennae. It is approximately 1.5 to 2 centimeters long. The bug was found in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in January (summer). The weather was quite hot on that night (about 30° Celsius).
Thanks in advance! Keep up with the great site!
Ricardo
Sao Paulo, Brazil

possibly Glowworm
possibly Glowworm

Hi Ricardo,
Often with exotica, we are totally clueless as to identity. That said, we believe this is a beetle, possibly a male Glowworm in the family Phengodidae, or maybe a Fire Colored Beetle in the family Pyrochroidae. We would favor a Glowworm. Hopefully, a reader will be able to assist in a more accurate identification.

possibly Glowworm

Update: A Differing Opinion
Hi Daniel:
Since the antennal appendages are lined up along one side only (bilaterally asymmetrical), I think this guy might be in the family Rhipiceridae (=Rhipiceratidae). It is difficult to find much useful information or photos for this relatively obscure group, but I believe it may be a species of the genus Rhipicera (=Rhipidocera) which occurs in Brazil (31_rhipiceratidae) and Australia . In Australia they are called feather-horn beetles. Another candidate genus could be Callirhipis (=Callirrhipis), another Old and New World genus. As you may have gathered, the taxonomy for this group is rather confusing. There is agreement that both of the above genera belong to the Suborder Polyphaga, along with the North and South American genus Sandalus, but there is little agreement regarding their placement in the same family, or even superfamily. Most “Rhipicerid” larvae are parasites on cicada larvae; the Bugguide refers to the Rhipiceridae as cicada parasite beetles (alternatively cedar beetles). Or I could be on the wrong track altogether. Regards.
Karl

Letter 8 – Possibly Hieroglyphic Cicada

 

A little cicada???
Location: Hinesville, GA
July 7, 2011 9:45 pm
I live in Georgia near Savannah and I’m from Indiana. I’ve been around Cicada’s all my life and I love them. But tonight I heard something hit the house (and it sounded big) but when I looked down this is what I found! I’ve never seen a cicada this tiny! A cicada larvae is bigger than this cicada! Could you please help me identify what type it is?
Signature: Elise Forsythe

Hieroglyphic Cicada

Hi Elise,
There are even smaller Cicadas in the world, and species that inhabit arid environments are often quite tiny.  We believe this may be a Hieroglyphic Cicada,
Neocicada hieroglyphica based on images posted to BugGuide.  The species if found in the South and it feeds on oaks.

Hieroglyphic Cicada

Letter 9 – Possibly Apache Cicada

 

Arizona cicada
Location: central Arizona (Aravaipa Canyon)
October 22, 2011 8:48 pm
This cicada was found (post-mortem, so no need to put this in the unnecessary carnage section! 🙂 ) in October in Aravaipa Canyon in south-central Arizona. I hate to bother you with it, but I’m stumped. I looked through all the cicada photos I could find on your site plus some other sites and I couldn’t find any with that interesting orange X on the back that appears to be between the thorax and the abdomen. (Or maybe I did but was so bug-eyed from looking at hundreds of cicada photos that I missed it.) That just seemed to me to be an important distinguishing feature that I did not see on any other species I found. If you could help me identify it, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks,
Signature: Brian Jones

Apache Cicada

Hi Brian,
After some research, we believe this may be
Diceroprocta apache, a species we have been unofficially calling the Apache Cicada.  You can see this posting to BugGuidethat explains how to differentiate the various members of the genus that are found in Arizona from one another.  We always welcome our readership to confirm or correct our sometimes questionable identifications.

Apache Cicada

Thank you so much for your amazingly fast response.  You guys perform an amazing service with your website.  It is both informative and entertaining.  Thank you for all of your efforts.
Take care,
Brian

 

Letter 10 – Periodical Cicada Nymph

 

This 17-year Cicada nymph missed the party 🙁
Location: Chicago, IL
December 8, 2011 12:29 am
I found this M. cassini nymph (judging by the fact this was the only song I heard in the area) on June 25, 2008 under a flat rock in my backyard on the far Southwest side of Chicago. It was a straggler from Brood XIII from 2007. I took this pic and let it crawl away.
Signature: Justin

Periodical Cicada Nymph

Hi Justin,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a “late” Periodical Cicada Nymph.  It is not unusual for individuals to be early or late, and if enough members of a brood emerge in a different year and mate and procreate, a new brood may be created once they return to the 17 year cycle.

Letter 11 – Possibly Salt Marsh Cicada

 

Subject: Newly Emerged Cicada
Location: North Fort Myers, FL
November 18, 2012 7:57 am
I was fortunate enough to spot this newly emerged cicada as it climbed these stalks. It finally made it to the top, only to tumble down. It slowly started all over again. Taken at Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve West in Nort Fort Myers, Florida.
Signature: Greg

Possibly Salt Marsh Cicada

Hi Greg,
Thanks for sending your photos.  You did not indicate if this is a recent sighting or if the photos were taken months or possibly years ago.  We looked at Cicadas on BugGuide and we believe this might be a Salt Marsh Cicada,
Diceroprocta viridifascia, based on images that are posted to BugGuide which states:  “Atlantic Coast: VA, NC, SC, GA, FL (perhaps a little further north than VA)  Gulf Coast: FL, AL, MS, LA, & TX  D. viridifascia ranges from the mid-Atlantic (Delmarva region) south into Florida. Its distribution around Florida is often patchy, but it can be abundant. Thgis cicada can be found on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the state, but seems to range only as far north as the “Big Bend” region of Florida in the west and appears absent along the Panhandle (?).  This species is common all around the Florida coast and abundant in the Palm Beach area.The season is listed as “May-September” so if this is a recent sighing, our identification might not be correct.

possibly Salt Marsh Cicada

The photos were taken yesterday.

Letter 12 – Periodical Cicadas: Brood II

 

Well written article.
East about to be overrun by billions of cicadas
AP SCIENCE | MAY 6, 2013
http://pulse.me/s/loVMt
WASHINGTON (AP) — Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East … read more
Lisa

Mating Periodical Cicadas
Mating Periodical Cicadas

Thanks Lisa,
We can’t wait to start getting photos of this impressive event.

Letter 13 – Periodical Cicada from 2007: Brood XIII

 

Subject: Magicicada sp. for identify
Location: Manteno, Kankakee County, Illinois
June 1, 2013 11:17 am
Hello WTB team,
I photographed in a collection this cicada, caught at Manteno, Kankakee County, Illinois on 15-VI-2007.
It’s clearly a Magicicada but seems to be about half dozen of species that I’m unable to distinguish. Please could you help me?
Thanks!
Isidro
Signature: Isidro

Brood XIII Periodical Cicada
Brood XIII Periodical Cicada

Dear Isidro,
We are catching up on unanswered mail that arrived during our holiday and we are especially interested in Periodical Cicadas right now, so your subject line caught our attention.  We turned to Magicicada.org and learned that this is most likely a member of Brood XIII, the Northern Illinois Brood that last appeared in 2007.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks a lot for your reply. I would be very interested in know the species, that is what I asked for. It’s the better known Magicicada septemdecim, or one of the more uncommon species like Magicicada cassinii, Magicicada neotredecim, Magicicada septemdecula, Magicicada tredecassini, Magicicada tredecim or Magicicada tredecula?
Best regards,
Isidro

Hi again Isidro,
We do not have the necessary skills or background to answer that question.

Thanks for reply Daniel.
What skills would you need for identification? I can ask the person that keeps the insect in his collection about photos of certain details.
Thanks,
Isidro

Hi again Isidro,
We here at What’s That Bug? are rank amateurs with no science background.  We have always considered this website to be more of an art project to help educate people to appreciate the lower beasts as well as on the interconnectivity of all things on the planet.  You should seek the assistance of an entomologist at the nearest natural history museum for your answer.  Some difficult species identifications require DNA analysis.  Just our of curiosity, why is the exact species so important?

Letter 14 – Putnam’s Cicada, we believe

 

Subject: utah cicada
Location: salt lake city, utah
June 22, 2013 10:46 pm
I’ve tried sending this a few times, but something been up with your site and it wouldn’t send. I found this guy at a barbecue, and it reminds me of a 17 year cicada, but it doesn’t look as orange or have the red eyes I’ve noticed in pictures.
Signature: curious

Putnam's Cicada
Putnam’s Cicada

Dear curious,
We are not certain why you were experiencing difficulty submitting this photo in the past.  It is a large photo file and perhaps there was some internet connectivity problem that prevented a successful delivery.  This is not a 17 Year Cicada, but we believe we may have correctly identified it as a Putnam’s Cicada,
Platypedia putnamiBugGuide has an image from Salt Lake City as well.

That does make better sense, thank you. And I’d agree with the id after seeing the bug guide photos.

Letter 15 – Periodical Cicadas: Brood XXIII emerging in Tennessee

 

Subject: periodical cidacas
Location: Jackson, TN USA
May 15, 2015 1:13 pm
Just sharing. Our big tree is a hatching ground for brood XXIII this year (At least due to our location I think they are 13 year and not 17 year periodicals). I’ve been out every night and have seen a handful each time. Last night looked like a scene from a horror flick if you looked over your head there were more cicadas than leaves. It was raining bugs under that tree. Bats were dive bombing past us and scooping them off the trunk. The ground and trunk were literally crawling as 100’s if not 1000’s of them were headed to molt. We caught some video last night. I snapped some pics this am and figured I would share some of the various stages of them molting.
Love your page!
Signature: Jess

Thirteen Year Cicada
Thirteen Year Cicada

Dear Jess,
We are positively thrilled by your submission, and we will be featuring your images to document this Brood XXIII emergence of 13 Year Cicadas.  As you have indicated, Periodical Cicadas are divided into two main groups, those that remain underground for 17 years and those that remain underground for 13 years, and the latter are found in more southern states.  Additionally, populations are further divided into broods based on the years they emerge and the locations of those broods.  To further complicate matters, some individuals emerge earlier or later, and if those individuals encounter favorable conditions, new broods may eventually result.  According to Magicicada.org, Brood XXIII is known as “The Lower Mississippi Valley Brood.”  According to the Brood page on Magicicada.Org, your Brood XXIII individuals are right on schedule.  According to Cicada Mania:  “As of May 10th, it would appear that the emergence has begun in Louisiana and Tennessee as well.  The 2015 Brood XXIII emergence has begun! ”  Cicada Mania also notes:  “The cicada species that will emerge are
Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868); Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley, 2000; Magicicada tredecassini Alexander and Moore, 1962; and Magicicada tredecula Alexander and Moore, 1962. These periodical cicadas have a 13-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 2002. According to John Cooley of Magicicada.org, Giant City State Park, Illinois is a good place to observe both M. tredecim and M. neotredecim.”   

Periodical Cicada:  Brood XXIII Molting
Periodical Cicada: Brood XXIII Molting
Periodical Cicadas:  Brood XXIII Emergance
Periodical Cicadas: Brood XXIII Emergence

Letter 16 – Send us your Brood V images of Periodical Cicadas

 

June 19, 2016
We just returned from a trip to Ohio and we read in The Youngstown Vindicator that Brood V Periodical Cicadas had just begun to emerge in West Virginia.  Our cousin heard and saw them while fishing in Eastern Ohio, but we have no images to post.  Cicada Mania has a posting from a few days ago.  If you are in Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania or Maryland, please send us your images of Brood V Periodical Cicadas so we can post them.  Thanks for your assistance.  We are using a Brood XIII individual taken by Venom in Glenview, Illinois in June 2007.  Periodical Cicadas emerge every 17 years or 13 years, depending upon the Brood, and they are sometimes called 17 Year Locusts, though they are unrelated Cicadas.

Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII from 2007
Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII from 2007

Subject: regarding your cicada post
Location: atlanta
June 19, 2016 10:00 am
Signature: dee

Thanks dee,
Your nymph is not that of a Periodical Cicada, and Georgia is beyond the known range for Brood V, but your image is gorgeous.  So, we are still awaiting images of true Brood V Periodical Cicadas.

Letter 17 – Periodical Cicadas: Brood X stragglers

 

Subject: Brood X Cicadas emerging 4 years early
Location: Silver spring, MD
May 17, 2017 12:28 pm
Our cicadas aren’t supposed to emerge till 2021, but we are being flooded right now. I’ve never understood why some broods have 13 year cycles, other broods have 17 year cycles. Is it possible that our population of Brood X cicada, which last emerged in 2004, is converting from a 17-year cycle to a 13 year cycle? Is there a precedence for this?
Signature: Divya

Periodical Cicada: Brood X straggler

Dear Divya,
Thank you for sending in your marvelous images and for posing such an interesting theoretical question.  First thing is that not all Periodical Cicadas are the same species.  According to BugGuide, there are at least seven species in North America, with three of them being on a 17 year cycle and four on a 13 year cycle.  More northern species have a 17 year cycle while southern species are on a 13 year cycle.  According to Cicada Mania, 2017 will see the emergence of Brood VI, but there is a note that reads:  “If you’re in VA, MD, DC, DE, IN, TN, & OH head over to our Brood X straggler page.”  There is a further note that reads:  “Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, & Kentucky! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time. HOT weather this week will cause even more to emerge, and they may begin to chorus (synchronized singing) as well.  Note: because of the significant number of cicadas emerging ahead of time, this might be an acceleration event. Periodical cicada accelerations occur when a significant group of an established brood emerge in years ahead of the main brood, and sometimes the accelerated group are able to reproduce and create what is essentially a new brood. Brood VI was likely part of Brood X at one point of time1. We’ll have to see if the Brood X stragglers are able to survive predation, and reproduce in significant numbers to sustain future populations.”   We would not discount global warming as a contributing factor in the acceleration.  We are featuring your submission on our home page banner.

Periodical Cicada: Brood X straggler

Letter 18 – Periodical Cicada Metamorphosis

 

Ed. Note:  When we learned the Periodical Cicadas from Brood X stragglers were emerging off schedule this year, we wrote to Susie who lives outside of the Washington DC area to see if they are emerging near her.

Subject:  Brood X Periodical Cicada Emergence
Location:  Springfield, Virginia
May 17, 2017 5:34 PM
Yes Indeed!

Periodical Cicada Metamorphosis

Letter 19 – Periodical Cicada Nymph

 

Subject: What is this thing?
Location: Buffalo MN
July 9, 2017 2:13 pm
I found this under the soil in my shade garden. It has big red orange eyes. It looks like a slug of some sort but has legs that look almost like spider legs. Can I feed it to my son’s pet toad???
Signature: John and Nessa

Periodical Cicada Nymph

Dear John and Nessa,
This is a Cicada nymph, and immature Cicadas spend their juvenile lives underground feeding of fluids from plant roots.  We believe the red eyes are evidence that this is the nymph of a Periodical Cicada, commonly called a 17 Year Locust in northern states where the nymph survives underground for 17 years, emerging in late spring with 1000s of other Periodical Cicadas.  Here is a FlickR image of a Periodical Cicada nymph.  This year we documented an unusual Brood X emergence of stragglers.  You may enjoy the information on the Minnesota Gardener page.

Periodical Cicada Nymph

Letter 20 – Red Form Citrus Cicada

 

Subject: Rare insect
Location: Las Vegas NV.
July 26, 2017 2:28 am
This flew in my cousins house, it took her a few days to catch it when she did she noticed that it was dead so she though but as she !over the jar it got up. It was playing dead. It did it a cold times. She went to let it out the jar and as she opened the jar it flew out the jar but right back in her house and now she can’t find it but she hears it and has seen it flying around. Can you help us
Signature: Nosy cindi

Red Form Citrus Cicada

Dear Nosy Cindi,
Based on this BugGuide image, we have learned that this is the Red Form of the Citrus Cicada,
Ciceroprocta apache f. ochroleuca.  According to BugGuide:  “D. apache f. ochroleuca is a pallid reddish-brown color form most frequently found in n. Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California. ”  The sound produced by some Cicadas is quite loud.

Letter 21 – Small Grass Cicada, we believe

 

Subject: Small cicada
Location: Eastern Nebraska
August 15, 2017 9:54 am
I was looking for information on small cicadas and found this post; I’m from Nebraska and was wondering if that’s what you think this might be. (Observed at the beginning of July). 2008/07/13/unknown-cicada-from-texas/
Signature: Stephanie

Possibly Small Grass Cicada

Dear Stephanie,
We believe this might be a Small Grass Cicada in the genus
Cicadetta, and according to BugGuide:  “These are small delicate cicadas often mistaken for ‘Tree/Leaf Hoppers’.  All members are less than an inch in length incl. wings.  They are variable in color from bright lime green to tan to boldly patterned with browns and/or greens.”

Thank you.  I think that southern grass cicada (cicadetta calliope) looks like it.  I’m usually able to identify “bugs” right away thanks to your site.  That one had me confused so thanks for the help. Stephanie

Letter 22 – Possibly Little Juniper Cicada

 

Subject:  Small Texas cicada
Geographic location of the bug:  Bellville Texas
Date: 05/14/2018
Time: 09:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I seen a couple of pictures on this site of this small little cicada. I took this picture this morning with a macro lens.  First time ever seen one in person .
How you want your letter signed:  Rick

Possibly Little Juniper Cicada

Dear Rick,
The closest match we could find on BugGuide of a tiny Cicada is the Little Mesquite Cicada,
Pacarina puella, but that species has dark marks on the wings that your image does not reveal, though that might be a combination of the lighting and the shallow depth of field of the wing veinage.  BugGuide does provide this description of the genus:  “Quick tips for id:  Pacarina puella (associated with Mesquite) usually has more pronounced pattern in the wings  US Range: AZ, NM, CO, TX. OK. & LA  Pacarina shoemakeri (associated with junipers) usually has less infuscation (i.e. dark pattern) US Range: AZ, NM, CO, and parts of OK & TX.”  That leads us to believe this might be the Little Juniper Cicada, which is not pictured on BugGuide.  Perhaps you should submit your image to BugGuide to request an identification.

Letter 23 – Brood X Periodical Cicadas

 

Subject:  BROWN EYED MAGICICADA!!
Geographic location of the bug:  Fairfax, Va
Date: 06/02/2021
Time: 07:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Hello! Here’s some Magicicadas that we found today-the larger one has the typical red eyes and the small guy has brown eyes!! Pretty sure they are both males. I love coming across ones with unusual eyes (I sent in a photo of a “mustard” eyed magicicada back in 2013.) They are so beautiful!!
How you want your letter signed:  Katie from Sumerduck

Periodical Cicadas

Dear Katie,
According to CNN, the Brood X Periodical Cicadas that are emerging in your area now are known as the Great Eastern Brood.  We located your Brood II submission on June 6, 2013 and also one on May 28 the same year.  It is wonderful that your location allows you to experience the 17 year emergence of two different Broods of the Periodical Cicada.

Periodical Cicadas

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Scarab Beetle Grubs, NOT Periodical Cicadas

 

Subject:  Cicada???
Geographic location of the bug:  Delaware April 6
Date: 04/08/2021
Time: 10:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you tell me what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Robin

Scarab Grub

Our Auto-response: Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

Please help me.  I am trying to get this Id so I can send to local paper who wants it if it is a cicada.
Enjoy Life,
Robin Coventry

Scarab Grubs

Dear Robin,
We suspect your urgent identification request is related to the imminent appearance of the Brood X Periodical Cicadas, sometimes called 17-Year Locusts though they are not true locusts.  CicadaMania has information on Brood X which last appeared in 2004, when we were but a fledgeling website.  These are not immature Cicadas.  You did not indicate where they were located.  These are Beetle Grubs.  We suspect they may have been found in or near a rotting stump and we believe, due to their size, that they may be the Grubs of Eastern Hercules Beetles.  Here is an image from BugGuide of Eastern Hercules Beetle Grubs.  The adult male Hercules Beetle is an impressive creature, the heaviest North American Beetle.

Letter 2 – Small Grass Cicada

 

Subject: Clicking bug but I down think it’s a beetle
Location: Largo fl
July 19, 2017 7:45 am
It was on my mom’s scrunchy hairtie, she said it kept clicking and she pulled her hair out of a bun, and this bug didn’t even flinch.
It’s slightly red on its back and it’s like shaking one of its back wings. It’s not hurt but it won’t leave.
Signature: Cevanna

Small Grass Cicada

Dear Cevanna,
This is a Cicada, and based on the information you provided, we are guessing it was a very small Cicada, probably a Small Grass Cicada in the genus
Cicadetta, and according to BugGuide:  “These are small delicate cicadas often mistaken for “Tree/Leaf Hoppers”.  All members are less than an inch in length incl. wings.  They are variable in color from bright lime green to tan to boldly patterned with browns and/or greens.”  Cicadas are among the most vocal of all insects, and large Cicadas produce the loudest sounds in the insect class.

Thanks so much! It was driving me crazy because usually I can investigate Google until I find it but I couldn’t with this bug!

Letter 3 – Silhouetted Cicada

 

HUGE winged bug
Dear bugman,
After hearing a kind of a thud, I looked out and saw this bug had landed on my window screen. After the creepyness wore off, I was intrigued. I was able to take some pictures before my cat took notice and scared it away. It’s a bit dark, but would you be able to help me ID this bug. I could only see it from underneath, so I can’t say much about what it looks like. It was kind of dirty olive coloured, about 3cm long without wings, 4cm with wings. I’ve never seen a big winged bug like that! It looked like a giant fly. Thanks! I’m attaching a couple of pics. cheers!

The silhouette is definitely that of a Cicada.

Letter 4 – Six Spotted Tiger Beetle and Dog Day Harvestfly

 

Green beetle and cicada
Hello! I have two pictures for you, the first is a beetle I was hoping you could help me identify. I have seen this gorgeous metallic green beetle many times, but this time, I thought to grab a Ziploc to stick him in so he would be more cooperative while I tried to take his picture (he’s very fast for a beetle). Also, I thought I’d send you this cicada who I found singing his heart out on my deck the other day. He politely quieted down to pose for the picture. Do you know what those little red dots between his eyes are for? Thank you!
Gretchen Bertram, Iowa

Hi Gretchen,
What wonderful photos. The green beetle is a Tiger Beetle. It might take some time to identify an exact species. The Cicada is one of the Annual Cicadas known as Dog Day Harvestflies. The red dots are simple eyes known as ocelli. Many insects have ocelli as well as compound eyes.

Update (08/22/2006)
Hello Lisa Anne and Daniel,
I recently came across your website and I was pleased to see such a vibrant (and well-done) site. I’m an entomologist and evolutionary biologist (specializing on the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of tiger beetles and their close relatives) and I have to say that I’m impressed with your accuracy rate! It’s much, much better than other comparable sites I’ve come across over the years. The two of you must really love insects.
This is a specimen of Cicindela sexguttata. Although the name implies that they have six-spots, they regularly do not in a significant part of their range (especially in the midwest). They can have as many as 12 spots or often none at all. Nice find! Hope that helps. I thought there would probably be a lot of sexguttata photos, and it looks like there were. The name confuses so many people, especially in the midwest where they are usually immaculate (I’ve got some really weird variants as well, since I’m completing a revision of the entire clade that that species falls within). I’ll bookmark your site and check it out when I’m having trouble sleeping again!
Daniel P. Duran
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

Letter 5 – Periodical Cicada Metamorphosis

 

Brood X Photos
Well, better late than never. Here are web resolution versions of the first Broox X cicada that I saw here in Rockville, Maryland on May 14, 2004. These were taken with a Canon 10D digital SLR. I think these could be published in a magazine, don’t you? I have these two in 6.3 MP versions, or easily 8″ x 10″ in a magazine or twice that size on a digital printer. Anyway, just wanted to share these and mention that I could crop them to show amazing detail of a mysterious moment in nature. Take care.
Alex Campuzano

Hi Alex,
We love your images and like the two letters together. Your photos are of excellent quality. Good luck with publishing them.

Letter 6 – Periodical Cicada Swarm (last year: Brood X)

 

Greetings Bugman!
Last summer in may we were blessed with thousands of these creatures! I cannot remember if this is the 17 year cycle cicada, or if it is a different amount of time. being a night creature myself, I decided to watch the emergence of these wonderful bugs from its previous shell. the first two pictures were taken may 15th 2004 – 2:00 a.m., 4:00 am. (not included was the 1:00 pm next day of the completely dry cicada next to its shell.) The third might have been from another night. The 4th picture is just to show the abundance of them in our backyard. (Columbus, Indiana) When they first arrived, we only heard the gentle cooing hum of the females(?) and we all thought there was something wrong with the powerlines! I just thought you might like to add these to your collection!
Lydia C. Burris

Hi Lydia,
Thanks for your awesome images. These are the Periodical Cicadas, sometimes called the 17 Year Locust. There are many different broods, and yours are from Brood X, one of the largest. Every different locale gets these amazing creatures in a different yearly cycle. Having different cycles helps to ensure the perpetuation of the species. There are also 14 Year Periodical Cicadas.

Update from David Gracer (06/12/2006)
www.slshrimp.com
Cicadas both annual and, particularly, periodic have been popular human food for a very long time. Native Americans ate them; they’re popular in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Aristotle, extolling how delicious he found cicadas, preferred them still in the brown shell that the adult form hatches out of. In 2004 I drove to Princeton NJ and harvested several pounds off the trees. I even popped a couple of the newly emerged white ones down the hatch. Very soft, creamy and good, like asparagus (which other tasters have commented upon.) Cooked and crunchy-hard they’re still great; nutty.

Letter 7 – Possibly Glowworm (or maybe Cicada Parasite Beetle)

 

Interesting Antennae
Mon, May 25, 2009 at 2:04 PM
Hello, Bugman,
A long time ago I spotted this interesting insect in my laundry room. It is dark brown, with black wings, thin, has a relatively small head and, maybe most importantly, has curled, feathery antennae. It is approximately 1.5 to 2 centimeters long. The bug was found in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in January (summer). The weather was quite hot on that night (about 30° Celsius).
Thanks in advance! Keep up with the great site!
Ricardo
Sao Paulo, Brazil

possibly Glowworm
possibly Glowworm

Hi Ricardo,
Often with exotica, we are totally clueless as to identity. That said, we believe this is a beetle, possibly a male Glowworm in the family Phengodidae, or maybe a Fire Colored Beetle in the family Pyrochroidae. We would favor a Glowworm. Hopefully, a reader will be able to assist in a more accurate identification.

possibly Glowworm

Update: A Differing Opinion
Hi Daniel:
Since the antennal appendages are lined up along one side only (bilaterally asymmetrical), I think this guy might be in the family Rhipiceridae (=Rhipiceratidae). It is difficult to find much useful information or photos for this relatively obscure group, but I believe it may be a species of the genus Rhipicera (=Rhipidocera) which occurs in Brazil (31_rhipiceratidae) and Australia . In Australia they are called feather-horn beetles. Another candidate genus could be Callirhipis (=Callirrhipis), another Old and New World genus. As you may have gathered, the taxonomy for this group is rather confusing. There is agreement that both of the above genera belong to the Suborder Polyphaga, along with the North and South American genus Sandalus, but there is little agreement regarding their placement in the same family, or even superfamily. Most “Rhipicerid” larvae are parasites on cicada larvae; the Bugguide refers to the Rhipiceridae as cicada parasite beetles (alternatively cedar beetles). Or I could be on the wrong track altogether. Regards.
Karl

Letter 8 – Possibly Hieroglyphic Cicada

 

A little cicada???
Location: Hinesville, GA
July 7, 2011 9:45 pm
I live in Georgia near Savannah and I’m from Indiana. I’ve been around Cicada’s all my life and I love them. But tonight I heard something hit the house (and it sounded big) but when I looked down this is what I found! I’ve never seen a cicada this tiny! A cicada larvae is bigger than this cicada! Could you please help me identify what type it is?
Signature: Elise Forsythe

Hieroglyphic Cicada

Hi Elise,
There are even smaller Cicadas in the world, and species that inhabit arid environments are often quite tiny.  We believe this may be a Hieroglyphic Cicada,
Neocicada hieroglyphica based on images posted to BugGuide.  The species if found in the South and it feeds on oaks.

Hieroglyphic Cicada

Letter 9 – Possibly Apache Cicada

 

Arizona cicada
Location: central Arizona (Aravaipa Canyon)
October 22, 2011 8:48 pm
This cicada was found (post-mortem, so no need to put this in the unnecessary carnage section! 🙂 ) in October in Aravaipa Canyon in south-central Arizona. I hate to bother you with it, but I’m stumped. I looked through all the cicada photos I could find on your site plus some other sites and I couldn’t find any with that interesting orange X on the back that appears to be between the thorax and the abdomen. (Or maybe I did but was so bug-eyed from looking at hundreds of cicada photos that I missed it.) That just seemed to me to be an important distinguishing feature that I did not see on any other species I found. If you could help me identify it, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks,
Signature: Brian Jones

Apache Cicada

Hi Brian,
After some research, we believe this may be
Diceroprocta apache, a species we have been unofficially calling the Apache Cicada.  You can see this posting to BugGuidethat explains how to differentiate the various members of the genus that are found in Arizona from one another.  We always welcome our readership to confirm or correct our sometimes questionable identifications.

Apache Cicada

Thank you so much for your amazingly fast response.  You guys perform an amazing service with your website.  It is both informative and entertaining.  Thank you for all of your efforts.
Take care,
Brian

 

Letter 10 – Periodical Cicada Nymph

 

This 17-year Cicada nymph missed the party 🙁
Location: Chicago, IL
December 8, 2011 12:29 am
I found this M. cassini nymph (judging by the fact this was the only song I heard in the area) on June 25, 2008 under a flat rock in my backyard on the far Southwest side of Chicago. It was a straggler from Brood XIII from 2007. I took this pic and let it crawl away.
Signature: Justin

Periodical Cicada Nymph

Hi Justin,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a “late” Periodical Cicada Nymph.  It is not unusual for individuals to be early or late, and if enough members of a brood emerge in a different year and mate and procreate, a new brood may be created once they return to the 17 year cycle.

Letter 11 – Possibly Salt Marsh Cicada

 

Subject: Newly Emerged Cicada
Location: North Fort Myers, FL
November 18, 2012 7:57 am
I was fortunate enough to spot this newly emerged cicada as it climbed these stalks. It finally made it to the top, only to tumble down. It slowly started all over again. Taken at Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve West in Nort Fort Myers, Florida.
Signature: Greg

Possibly Salt Marsh Cicada

Hi Greg,
Thanks for sending your photos.  You did not indicate if this is a recent sighting or if the photos were taken months or possibly years ago.  We looked at Cicadas on BugGuide and we believe this might be a Salt Marsh Cicada,
Diceroprocta viridifascia, based on images that are posted to BugGuide which states:  “Atlantic Coast: VA, NC, SC, GA, FL (perhaps a little further north than VA)  Gulf Coast: FL, AL, MS, LA, & TX  D. viridifascia ranges from the mid-Atlantic (Delmarva region) south into Florida. Its distribution around Florida is often patchy, but it can be abundant. Thgis cicada can be found on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the state, but seems to range only as far north as the “Big Bend” region of Florida in the west and appears absent along the Panhandle (?).  This species is common all around the Florida coast and abundant in the Palm Beach area.The season is listed as “May-September” so if this is a recent sighing, our identification might not be correct.

possibly Salt Marsh Cicada

The photos were taken yesterday.

Letter 12 – Periodical Cicadas: Brood II

 

Well written article.
East about to be overrun by billions of cicadas
AP SCIENCE | MAY 6, 2013
http://pulse.me/s/loVMt
WASHINGTON (AP) — Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East … read more
Lisa

Mating Periodical Cicadas
Mating Periodical Cicadas

Thanks Lisa,
We can’t wait to start getting photos of this impressive event.

Letter 13 – Periodical Cicada from 2007: Brood XIII

 

Subject: Magicicada sp. for identify
Location: Manteno, Kankakee County, Illinois
June 1, 2013 11:17 am
Hello WTB team,
I photographed in a collection this cicada, caught at Manteno, Kankakee County, Illinois on 15-VI-2007.
It’s clearly a Magicicada but seems to be about half dozen of species that I’m unable to distinguish. Please could you help me?
Thanks!
Isidro
Signature: Isidro

Brood XIII Periodical Cicada
Brood XIII Periodical Cicada

Dear Isidro,
We are catching up on unanswered mail that arrived during our holiday and we are especially interested in Periodical Cicadas right now, so your subject line caught our attention.  We turned to Magicicada.org and learned that this is most likely a member of Brood XIII, the Northern Illinois Brood that last appeared in 2007.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks a lot for your reply. I would be very interested in know the species, that is what I asked for. It’s the better known Magicicada septemdecim, or one of the more uncommon species like Magicicada cassinii, Magicicada neotredecim, Magicicada septemdecula, Magicicada tredecassini, Magicicada tredecim or Magicicada tredecula?
Best regards,
Isidro

Hi again Isidro,
We do not have the necessary skills or background to answer that question.

Thanks for reply Daniel.
What skills would you need for identification? I can ask the person that keeps the insect in his collection about photos of certain details.
Thanks,
Isidro

Hi again Isidro,
We here at What’s That Bug? are rank amateurs with no science background.  We have always considered this website to be more of an art project to help educate people to appreciate the lower beasts as well as on the interconnectivity of all things on the planet.  You should seek the assistance of an entomologist at the nearest natural history museum for your answer.  Some difficult species identifications require DNA analysis.  Just our of curiosity, why is the exact species so important?

Letter 14 – Putnam’s Cicada, we believe

 

Subject: utah cicada
Location: salt lake city, utah
June 22, 2013 10:46 pm
I’ve tried sending this a few times, but something been up with your site and it wouldn’t send. I found this guy at a barbecue, and it reminds me of a 17 year cicada, but it doesn’t look as orange or have the red eyes I’ve noticed in pictures.
Signature: curious

Putnam's Cicada
Putnam’s Cicada

Dear curious,
We are not certain why you were experiencing difficulty submitting this photo in the past.  It is a large photo file and perhaps there was some internet connectivity problem that prevented a successful delivery.  This is not a 17 Year Cicada, but we believe we may have correctly identified it as a Putnam’s Cicada,
Platypedia putnamiBugGuide has an image from Salt Lake City as well.

That does make better sense, thank you. And I’d agree with the id after seeing the bug guide photos.

Letter 15 – Periodical Cicadas: Brood XXIII emerging in Tennessee

 

Subject: periodical cidacas
Location: Jackson, TN USA
May 15, 2015 1:13 pm
Just sharing. Our big tree is a hatching ground for brood XXIII this year (At least due to our location I think they are 13 year and not 17 year periodicals). I’ve been out every night and have seen a handful each time. Last night looked like a scene from a horror flick if you looked over your head there were more cicadas than leaves. It was raining bugs under that tree. Bats were dive bombing past us and scooping them off the trunk. The ground and trunk were literally crawling as 100’s if not 1000’s of them were headed to molt. We caught some video last night. I snapped some pics this am and figured I would share some of the various stages of them molting.
Love your page!
Signature: Jess

Thirteen Year Cicada
Thirteen Year Cicada

Dear Jess,
We are positively thrilled by your submission, and we will be featuring your images to document this Brood XXIII emergence of 13 Year Cicadas.  As you have indicated, Periodical Cicadas are divided into two main groups, those that remain underground for 17 years and those that remain underground for 13 years, and the latter are found in more southern states.  Additionally, populations are further divided into broods based on the years they emerge and the locations of those broods.  To further complicate matters, some individuals emerge earlier or later, and if those individuals encounter favorable conditions, new broods may eventually result.  According to Magicicada.org, Brood XXIII is known as “The Lower Mississippi Valley Brood.”  According to the Brood page on Magicicada.Org, your Brood XXIII individuals are right on schedule.  According to Cicada Mania:  “As of May 10th, it would appear that the emergence has begun in Louisiana and Tennessee as well.  The 2015 Brood XXIII emergence has begun! ”  Cicada Mania also notes:  “The cicada species that will emerge are
Magicicada tredecim (Walsh and Riley, 1868); Magicicada neotredecim Marshall and Cooley, 2000; Magicicada tredecassini Alexander and Moore, 1962; and Magicicada tredecula Alexander and Moore, 1962. These periodical cicadas have a 13-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 2002. According to John Cooley of Magicicada.org, Giant City State Park, Illinois is a good place to observe both M. tredecim and M. neotredecim.”   

Periodical Cicada:  Brood XXIII Molting
Periodical Cicada: Brood XXIII Molting
Periodical Cicadas:  Brood XXIII Emergance
Periodical Cicadas: Brood XXIII Emergence

Letter 16 – Send us your Brood V images of Periodical Cicadas

 

June 19, 2016
We just returned from a trip to Ohio and we read in The Youngstown Vindicator that Brood V Periodical Cicadas had just begun to emerge in West Virginia.  Our cousin heard and saw them while fishing in Eastern Ohio, but we have no images to post.  Cicada Mania has a posting from a few days ago.  If you are in Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania or Maryland, please send us your images of Brood V Periodical Cicadas so we can post them.  Thanks for your assistance.  We are using a Brood XIII individual taken by Venom in Glenview, Illinois in June 2007.  Periodical Cicadas emerge every 17 years or 13 years, depending upon the Brood, and they are sometimes called 17 Year Locusts, though they are unrelated Cicadas.

Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII from 2007
Periodical Cicada: Brood XIII from 2007

Subject: regarding your cicada post
Location: atlanta
June 19, 2016 10:00 am
Signature: dee

Thanks dee,
Your nymph is not that of a Periodical Cicada, and Georgia is beyond the known range for Brood V, but your image is gorgeous.  So, we are still awaiting images of true Brood V Periodical Cicadas.

Letter 17 – Periodical Cicadas: Brood X stragglers

 

Subject: Brood X Cicadas emerging 4 years early
Location: Silver spring, MD
May 17, 2017 12:28 pm
Our cicadas aren’t supposed to emerge till 2021, but we are being flooded right now. I’ve never understood why some broods have 13 year cycles, other broods have 17 year cycles. Is it possible that our population of Brood X cicada, which last emerged in 2004, is converting from a 17-year cycle to a 13 year cycle? Is there a precedence for this?
Signature: Divya

Periodical Cicada: Brood X straggler

Dear Divya,
Thank you for sending in your marvelous images and for posing such an interesting theoretical question.  First thing is that not all Periodical Cicadas are the same species.  According to BugGuide, there are at least seven species in North America, with three of them being on a 17 year cycle and four on a 13 year cycle.  More northern species have a 17 year cycle while southern species are on a 13 year cycle.  According to Cicada Mania, 2017 will see the emergence of Brood VI, but there is a note that reads:  “If you’re in VA, MD, DC, DE, IN, TN, & OH head over to our Brood X straggler page.”  There is a further note that reads:  “Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, & Kentucky! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time. HOT weather this week will cause even more to emerge, and they may begin to chorus (synchronized singing) as well.  Note: because of the significant number of cicadas emerging ahead of time, this might be an acceleration event. Periodical cicada accelerations occur when a significant group of an established brood emerge in years ahead of the main brood, and sometimes the accelerated group are able to reproduce and create what is essentially a new brood. Brood VI was likely part of Brood X at one point of time1. We’ll have to see if the Brood X stragglers are able to survive predation, and reproduce in significant numbers to sustain future populations.”   We would not discount global warming as a contributing factor in the acceleration.  We are featuring your submission on our home page banner.

Periodical Cicada: Brood X straggler

Letter 18 – Periodical Cicada Metamorphosis

 

Ed. Note:  When we learned the Periodical Cicadas from Brood X stragglers were emerging off schedule this year, we wrote to Susie who lives outside of the Washington DC area to see if they are emerging near her.

Subject:  Brood X Periodical Cicada Emergence
Location:  Springfield, Virginia
May 17, 2017 5:34 PM
Yes Indeed!

Periodical Cicada Metamorphosis

Letter 19 – Periodical Cicada Nymph

 

Subject: What is this thing?
Location: Buffalo MN
July 9, 2017 2:13 pm
I found this under the soil in my shade garden. It has big red orange eyes. It looks like a slug of some sort but has legs that look almost like spider legs. Can I feed it to my son’s pet toad???
Signature: John and Nessa

Periodical Cicada Nymph

Dear John and Nessa,
This is a Cicada nymph, and immature Cicadas spend their juvenile lives underground feeding of fluids from plant roots.  We believe the red eyes are evidence that this is the nymph of a Periodical Cicada, commonly called a 17 Year Locust in northern states where the nymph survives underground for 17 years, emerging in late spring with 1000s of other Periodical Cicadas.  Here is a FlickR image of a Periodical Cicada nymph.  This year we documented an unusual Brood X emergence of stragglers.  You may enjoy the information on the Minnesota Gardener page.

Periodical Cicada Nymph

Letter 20 – Red Form Citrus Cicada

 

Subject: Rare insect
Location: Las Vegas NV.
July 26, 2017 2:28 am
This flew in my cousins house, it took her a few days to catch it when she did she noticed that it was dead so she though but as she !over the jar it got up. It was playing dead. It did it a cold times. She went to let it out the jar and as she opened the jar it flew out the jar but right back in her house and now she can’t find it but she hears it and has seen it flying around. Can you help us
Signature: Nosy cindi

Red Form Citrus Cicada

Dear Nosy Cindi,
Based on this BugGuide image, we have learned that this is the Red Form of the Citrus Cicada,
Ciceroprocta apache f. ochroleuca.  According to BugGuide:  “D. apache f. ochroleuca is a pallid reddish-brown color form most frequently found in n. Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California. ”  The sound produced by some Cicadas is quite loud.

Letter 21 – Small Grass Cicada, we believe

 

Subject: Small cicada
Location: Eastern Nebraska
August 15, 2017 9:54 am
I was looking for information on small cicadas and found this post; I’m from Nebraska and was wondering if that’s what you think this might be. (Observed at the beginning of July). 2008/07/13/unknown-cicada-from-texas/
Signature: Stephanie

Possibly Small Grass Cicada

Dear Stephanie,
We believe this might be a Small Grass Cicada in the genus
Cicadetta, and according to BugGuide:  “These are small delicate cicadas often mistaken for ‘Tree/Leaf Hoppers’.  All members are less than an inch in length incl. wings.  They are variable in color from bright lime green to tan to boldly patterned with browns and/or greens.”

Thank you.  I think that southern grass cicada (cicadetta calliope) looks like it.  I’m usually able to identify “bugs” right away thanks to your site.  That one had me confused so thanks for the help. Stephanie

Letter 22 – Possibly Little Juniper Cicada

 

Subject:  Small Texas cicada
Geographic location of the bug:  Bellville Texas
Date: 05/14/2018
Time: 09:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I seen a couple of pictures on this site of this small little cicada. I took this picture this morning with a macro lens.  First time ever seen one in person .
How you want your letter signed:  Rick

Possibly Little Juniper Cicada

Dear Rick,
The closest match we could find on BugGuide of a tiny Cicada is the Little Mesquite Cicada,
Pacarina puella, but that species has dark marks on the wings that your image does not reveal, though that might be a combination of the lighting and the shallow depth of field of the wing veinage.  BugGuide does provide this description of the genus:  “Quick tips for id:  Pacarina puella (associated with Mesquite) usually has more pronounced pattern in the wings  US Range: AZ, NM, CO, TX. OK. & LA  Pacarina shoemakeri (associated with junipers) usually has less infuscation (i.e. dark pattern) US Range: AZ, NM, CO, and parts of OK & TX.”  That leads us to believe this might be the Little Juniper Cicada, which is not pictured on BugGuide.  Perhaps you should submit your image to BugGuide to request an identification.

Letter 23 – Brood X Periodical Cicadas

 

Subject:  BROWN EYED MAGICICADA!!
Geographic location of the bug:  Fairfax, Va
Date: 06/02/2021
Time: 07:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Hello! Here’s some Magicicadas that we found today-the larger one has the typical red eyes and the small guy has brown eyes!! Pretty sure they are both males. I love coming across ones with unusual eyes (I sent in a photo of a “mustard” eyed magicicada back in 2013.) They are so beautiful!!
How you want your letter signed:  Katie from Sumerduck

Periodical Cicadas

Dear Katie,
According to CNN, the Brood X Periodical Cicadas that are emerging in your area now are known as the Great Eastern Brood.  We located your Brood II submission on June 6, 2013 and also one on May 28 the same year.  It is wonderful that your location allows you to experience the 17 year emergence of two different Broods of the Periodical Cicada.

Periodical Cicadas

Authors

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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11 thoughts on “Can Cicadas Lay Eggs in Your Skin? Debunking the Myth”

  1. Staten Island, NY – has seen a very patchy, but very large emergence of Magicicada Brood II. They have been here for just about a month now. I had taken a few photos earlier in the month which I will post, and I’ll take pictures of the population that is still around and post as well.
    Its so unfortunate that I just found your site today, so late in the emergence. Hope I can still get some decent pictures.

    Reply
  2. I’m glad you enjoyed them. Everyone looks at me strange since I’m so excited about these bugs. I figured you folks would appreciate them. I am so thrilled that my new home has a massive population of periodicals to watch. If you would like any more pics please let me know. We also have some video but it’s not great as our camera is not great at night. I can’t wait until they start calling.

    Reply
  3. I have seen this green “tiger’ beetle in Colombia but he has 2 large white dots on his back. Is this a variation of the tiger beetle or another creature all together. I also saw a moth that I’m having a hard time identifying. One looks exactly like the Arched Hooktip,except he doesn’t have the tips on the wings. He’s completely rounded.I’ll see if I can post the pictures. That will help! Thanks!

    Reply
  4. I recall from David Attenborough’s wonderful documentary “Life in the Undergrowth” that while the male cicadas make the extremely loud buzzing or whining sounds, the females make a click with their wings to tell the males where they are. At one point Attenborough found a male on a twig and kept snapping his fingers to attract it. Every time he snapped, the cicada would turn around to go in that direction.

    The documentary showed 17-year cicadas, but I’m thinking that perhaps this is true of all cicada species. Maybe the cicada above was clicking because it was a female.

    Reply
  5. I recall from David Attenborough’s wonderful documentary “Life in the Undergrowth” that while the male cicadas make the extremely loud buzzing or whining sounds, the females make a click with their wings to tell the males where they are. At one point Attenborough found a male on a twig and kept snapping his fingers to attract it. Every time he snapped, the cicada would turn around to go in that direction.

    The documentary showed 17-year cicadas, but I’m thinking that perhaps this is true of all cicada species. Maybe the cicada above was clicking because it was a female.

    Reply

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