When Do Cicadas Come Out? Discover Their Emergence Patterns and Seasonal Appearances

Cicadas are fascinating insects known for their distinctive song, often heard during warm summer months. You might be wondering when exactly these fascinating creatures emerge from their underground homes to serenade us with their symphony of sound.

The timing of cicada emergence depends on the species and geographic location. There are over 3,000 species worldwide, with 190 species occurring in North America. Some cicadas, known as periodical cicadas, have a fixed life cycle, with broods emerging either every 13 or 17 years. There are 12 broods of 17-year cicadas and 3 broods of 13-year cicadas, each associated with specific regions in the United States. Other species, called annual cicadas, emerge annually during warm months.

Knowing when cicadas emerge can help you prepare for their captivating song and natural spectacle. Whether your region is due for a periodic emergence or experiences the annual cicadas, watching these amazing creatures can be a unique and mesmerizing experience.

Understanding Cicadas

What are Cicadas?

Cicadas are large, thick-bodied insects measuring about 1 to 2 inches long. They have large compound eyes in shades of black and red, sometimes emerging with white or blue eyes. Their wings are large and have thick, prominent veins. These insects are known for their loud and distinctive singing, particularly by the males as they try to attract females for mating.

Life Cycle of Cicadas

Cicada life cycles can be quite long, depending on the species. Some cicadas, known as periodical cicadas, spend 13 or 17 years as nymphs underground before emerging en masse in large numbers. Once they come out, they climb trees or other structures, molt into adults, and engage in their intricate mating song.

On the other hand, annual cicadas emerge every year, completing their life cycle more frequently than periodical cicadas. Their life cycles may still take several years to complete, but they make an appearance each year, unlike the synchronized mass emergence of periodical cicadas.

Different Species of Cicadas

There are many cicada species, but two main types can be found in the United States:

  • Periodical cicadas (Magicicada): These can be further classified into two categories based on their life cycle duration:

  • Dog-day cicadas: These emerge annually and usually have a life cycle duration of 2-5 years, overlapping with each other, so they can be observed every year.

Here’s a comparison table to help you understand the differences between the two main types of cicadas:

Feature Periodical Cicadas Dog-day Cicadas
Life Cycle 13 or 17 years 2-5 years
Emergence Synchronized mass events Annually, overlapping
Appearance Smaller, black and red Larger, green or brown
Song Style High-pitched, fast trill Slower trill or buzzing

By knowing the differences and characteristics of cicadas, you can now identify and appreciate these fascinating insects and their unique life cycles. Their appearance marks an important natural event that reminds us of the incredible diversity and complexity of our world’s ecosystems.

Emergence of Cicadas

Periodical Cicadas

Periodical cicadas are fascinating insects that spend most of their lives underground. Their life cycles can be either 13 or 17 years long, depending on the species. These cicadas are known for their mass emergence events, such as Brood X, which occurs once every 17 years.

During the periodical cicadas’ long time underground, they feed off the sap of tree roots. They finally emerge when the soil temperature reaches about 64°F (18°C) to mate and lay eggs. Some cicadas, called stragglers, might emerge a year early or late.

Scientists believe that the prime-numbered life spans of periodical cicadas help them avoid syncing up with the life cycles of their predators. Let’s compare periodical cicadas with their annual counterparts:

Life Span Emergence Frequency Mass Emergence Events Example
13/17 Every 13/17 years Yes Magicicada
Annual Every year No Annual cicadas

Annual Cicadas

Unlike periodical cicadas, annual cicadas emerge every year. They have more flexible life cycles, which can vary from 2 to 5 years. Despite their name, different annual cicada populations emerge each year, ensuring that we hear their songs every summer.

These cicadas can also emerge based on soil temperature, but their emergence is not synchronized like the mass emergence events of periodical cicadas. As a result, annual cicadas are not part of particular broods.

The emergence of both periodical and annual cicadas provides a unique opportunity for you to witness and learn about the fascinating life cycles of these remarkable insects. Experience their deafening singing firsthand when they come out to attract mates and continue their life cycle.

Cicadas and Their Environment

Cicadas and Trees

Cicadas spend most of their lives underground, feeding on the sap of tree roots. When they emerge, they molt their exoskeletons and climb trees to mate and lay their eggs on the tips of tree branches. This interaction benefits both cicadas and trees. For example, the cicadas gain nutrients from the sap, while their growth and molting processes can help aerate the soil, allowing water and nutrients to reach tree roots more easily.

Cicadas in Different States

Cicadas are found throughout North America, but their populations can vary by state and region. In some places, such as New York and Philadelphia, cicadas are native and play a significant role in the ecosystem. On the other hand, they may be less common or even absent in other parts of the country. This difference can be attributed to factors like forest cover and soil composition, which influence cicada habitat suitability.

Weather and Cicadas

Climate change can affect cicada life cycles by altering the weather conditions they depend on. Periodical cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years, synchronizing their life cycles with regular climate patterns. However, unpredictable shifts in temperature and precipitation due to climate change can disrupt their emergence patterns, potentially making them more vulnerable to predators like birds.

Cicadas rely on specific temperature cues from the soil to emerge en masse. If unseasonal weather patterns cause soil temperatures to fluctuate, this can result in cicadas emerging too early or too late, impacting their survival rates and overall populations.

In summary, cicadas are unique insects that interact closely with trees, hold an important place in the ecosystems of certain regions, and can be affected by climate and weather variations. By understanding these factors, we can better appreciate the complexity of their life cycles and their role in North American forests.

Socio-Economic Impact of Cicadas

Cicadas are fascinating insects that play a significant role in our ecosystem. In this section, we will explore their socio-economic impact, particularly on crops, gardens, and areas like Cincinnati.

You might notice an increase in cicadas population during certain periods, especially in regions like Cincinnati, where periodical cicadas with 17-year lifecycles are prevalent. These insects may become a symbol of rebirth, and they can impact local culture, art, music, and theater.

Regarding your crops and gardens, cicadas can have both positive and negative effects:

  • Positive effect: Cicadas help in aerating the soil when they dig their tunnels to emerge from the ground, promoting healthier root systems in plants.
  • Negative effect: The female cicadas lay their eggs in tree branches, causing some damage to the vegetation.

To minimize the negative impact of cicadas in your garden:

  • Keep trees and shrubs properly pruned and maintained.
  • Provide extra support to young trees by using stakes or cages when cicadas are abundant.

Overall, while the socio-economic effects of cicadas can vary, it’s essential to remember that these insects play a vital role in the environment. By understanding and managing their impact, you can maintain a thriving garden while also appreciating the cultural significance cicadas bring to our lives.

The Sound of Cicadas

Cicadas are well-known for their distinctive sound, which can be quite loud. Their songs are primarily produced by males, who create these noises as courtship calls to attract females.

Male cicadas generate sound by rapidly vibrating specialized structures called tymbals, located on their abdomens. This can result in noise levels ranging from 90 to 100 decibels. To better understand how loud this is, consider that a lawn mower typically generates around 90 decibels of sound.

Here’s a comparison table of common sounds and their corresponding decibel levels:

Source of Sound Decibel Level
Whisper 30 dB
Normal Conversation 60 dB
Vacuum Cleaner 70 dB
Lawn Mower 90 dB
Male Cicadas 90-100 dB

Cicada songs vary depending on the species, and each species has its own unique set of courtship calls. You may notice that different cicadas have different rhythms, pitches, and volumes in their songs.

Keep in mind that despite their loud calls, cicadas are mostly harmless creatures. They do not pose any significant threat to your hearing or well-being, and they typically keep to themselves in tree canopies and shrubs. So, if you come across these fascinating insects during their emergence, you can take a moment to listen and appreciate the unique symphony of nature that they create.

Human Interaction with Cicadas

Cicadas and Science

Cicadas are fascinating insects that have captured the attention of scientists and researchers. For instance, periodical cicadas have unique life cycles, emerging every 13 or 17 years to mate and lay eggs. Entomologists, who study insects, often collaborate with citizen scientists to better understand cicada behavior. You can help by documenting your own cicada observations through apps like iNaturalist and contributing to projects sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

Misconceptions About Cicadas

Many people mistakenly associate cicadas with locusts, aggressive plants-eating bugs. However, cicadas do not swarm or invade, and they are not related to locusts, which are actually grasshoppers. Cicadas feed on tree sap rather than plants. Some individuals worry about being bitten or stung by cicadas. Luckily, cicadas are harmless to humans, as they neither bite nor sting. For more information on the nature of cicadas, check out resources like University of Connecticut’s FAQ page.

Protecting Trees from Cicadas

Although cicadas pose no threat to people, they can cause minor damage to trees when they lay their eggs in branches. To reduce potential harm to your trees, you can take a few precautions. One option is using netting to cover your young or vulnerable trees, which prevents cicadas from accessing the branches. Proper tree care and maintenance also strengthen your trees against any disturbance cicadas may cause.

Overall, it’s essential to understand and respect cicadas for their unique characteristics and place in our ecosystem. By actively participating in citizen science projects, debunking misconceptions, and protecting trees, you contribute to a creative and informed relationship with these incredible insects.

Predation of Cicadas

Cicadas often fall prey to a variety of predators, such as birds and animals. Their emergence in large numbers serves as a survival tactic, ensuring some of them complete their life cycle.

Birds, in particular, are major predators of cicadas. You might have observed examples like robins, starlings, and crows feasting on these insects during emergence events. Birds fill their bellies because cicadas are high in protein and essential nutrients.

Animals also participate in cicada predation. Squirrels, raccoons, and even domestic pets, like cats and dogs, can be seen consuming these insects. For these animals, cicadas are an additional food source that arrives unpredictably and in abundance.

  • Predators of cicadas include:
    • Birds
    • Squirrels
    • Raccoons
    • Cats
    • Dogs

Nevertheless, the sheer number of cicadas makes it nearly impossible for predators to consume them all. This strategy, known as “predator satiation,” helps to ensure the continuation of the cicada species.

In summary, various birds and animals take advantage of cicada emergences to supplement their diets, feasting on these nutritious insects. Despite facing predation, cicadas employ a mass emergence strategy allowing their species to continue thriving.

Reproduction of Cicadas

Cicadas are fascinating insects that play a significant role in the ecosystem. When it’s time to reproduce, their unique behavior makes them an interesting species to observe.

During the mating season, male cicadas sing loudly to attract a female. If you happen to be near a large population of cicadas, you’ll notice the deafening noise they create.

Once the males have attracted a female, they begin the mating process. After mating, female cicadas lay their eggs on tree branches, allowing the larvae to hatch and drop to the ground. The larvae then burrow into the soil and feed on tree roots for several years, depending on the cicada species.

There are two main types of cicadas: periodical and annual. Periodical cicadas have either a 13 or 17-year lifecycle, while annual cicadas have a shorter life cycle that lasts 2-5 years. The difference in their life cycle affects when you’ll witness their emergence as adults.

When the time comes, vast populations of periodical cicadas emerge from the ground together, synchronizing their reproduction efforts. Adult cicadas have distinctive features, such as large, thick bodies and eyes that come in various colors, including red or black.

As the adults reach the end of their life cycle, you might notice empty shells on trees or the ground, which are their discarded exoskeletons. This is a common sight during cicada emergence and an indicator of their successful reproduction.

In conclusion, the reproduction of cicadas is a fascinating process, from their mating calls to their synchronized emergence. Studying their unique life cycle can provide valuable insights into the workings of nature and the importance of these insects in our ecosystem.

Miscellaneous Information

Cicadas are fascinating insects that spend most of their lives underground as nymphs, feeding on tree roots. They emerge periodically to mate and lay eggs. One notable group of cicadas is Brood X, which is expected to emerge in parts of the United States every 17 years.

When cicadas emerge, they shed their exoskeletons in a process called molting. As they do this, they reveal new, clear wings. When they reach adulthood, male cicadas serenade the females by using the tymbal, a membrane on their abdomen. This process is crucial for their survival and reproduction.

Cicadas are known for their distinct appearance, which includes:

  • Large compound eyes, usually red or black
  • Large bodies, about 1 to 2 inches long
  • Three simple eyes (ocelli) on their head

Young trees can be at risk during a cicada emergence, as female cicadas lay eggs by making slits in tree branches. To ensure the survival of young trees, it’s essential to protect them with netting during this period.

In a recent app called Cicada Safari, developed by Dr. Gene Kritsky, users can track the emergence of cicadas, particularly Brood X, and contribute valuable data to the scientific community.

Important facts about cicadas include:

  • They are not grasshoppers, although they may be mistaken for them.
  • They are closely related to leafhoppers.
  • Their life span as adults is relatively short, often just a few weeks.

Once cicadas have completed their brief period of romance and reproduction, they die, leaving behind billions of exoskeletons. These can be collected and added to your compost to provide nutrients to your garden. It’s essential for people living in Southern Indiana and other affected regions to be aware of these fascinating insects and their unique behaviors.

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 – Wait 17 Years to see their Progeny: Periodical Cicadas Mating

 

Something else…
To add to your mating bugs photos. I took a trip down to the Dayton, Ohio area last summer during the emerging of Brood X Cicadas. They only come out every seventeen years, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to witness it. It was truly an awesome experience.
Elizabeth A. Fisher

Hi Elizabeth,
We are truly honored to post your mating Brood X Cicadas. The one time I saw them was 34 years ago in Ohio and it was spectacular. Thank you again.

Letter 2 – What's That Decapitated Head??? MIght it be a Cicada???

 

What is this? Prehistoric??
Location:  Indiana
August 12, 2010 2:21 pm
Hi, I was outside waiting for a friend, I was leaning on my door frame, and I felt a like pinch or sting, and so I stood up and this is what I saw!!
I live in Indiana, it has been in the high 90’s all week, we have had some rain this summer and high humidity.
I have some pics for you, this bug is about 1/2 inch long nmd maybe same wide, probably not as long..
Please let me know if you can, thanks!
Heather Kreeger

Decapitated Head, but from what???

Hi Heather,
We believe this is a decapitated head.  It looks similar to the head of a Preying Mantis (see BugGuide), but not exactly.  We will contact Eric Eaton for assistance.  We suspect the body of this insect was eaten by a predator.

Update:  We believe we figured it out after sleeping on it.
August 13, 2010
It looks like the head of a Cicada (see BugGuide).  Perhaps a bird feasted upon the body and left the head behind.  Cicadas have piercing and sucking mouthparts, and it is possible that there were still some nerves active, and though the Cicada was “dead”, the head was still able to bite.  Though Cicadas are not considered to be biting insects, we have received reports in the past that a person has been bitten, and it was reported to be quite painful.

Letter 3 – Where are the Magicicada PHotos???

 

June 1, 2013
We have only recieved one image of a Brood II Cicada this year and we don’t know why.  Sue resent us these wonderful images of her Brood XIII emergence outside Chicago in 2007 and we are posting them in an attempt to get our readership to send images of Brood II.

Periodical Cicada
Periodical Cicada


Though we will be on holiday, we promise to post Brood II photos upon our return if any readers send them in.  Please use Brood II Cicada as the subject line to get our attention.

Brood XIII from 2007
Brood XIII from 2007

Letter 4 – What Parasitized the Cicada??? Tachinid Fly Perhaps

 

Subject: parasite update!
Location: Hugh MacRae Park Wilmington, NC
September 13, 2013 11:18 am
Hi Curious Creature Catcher here!!
I have an update from my last message:
September 13, 2013 2:09 pm
Three new parasites have exited the body of the cicada. My thoughts would be that they feasted on the insides, as they have left the shell of the body intact. I know for sure that they did come from the inside, but I do not know how they exited other than through the anus. Could these be Cicada Parasite Beetles?
Thanks in advance!!

Cicada with Parasites
Cicada with Parasites

my last comment:
”September 13, 2013 8:55 AM
Hello! I was in a park in Wilmington N.C. and picked up a cicada that was lying on a black paved walkway. It seemed to have just recently died, as it’s limbs and body were not stiff. I decided to take it home and placed it in the center of an empty console of my car. Upon arriving home in addition to the cicada I saw what appeared to be a parasite wiggling around in the console that measures just over a half of an inch. In observing the cicada even closer I have noticed that several body parts (head, beak and anus) are moving as if something is inside of it! Back to the parasite- it seems to have one tooth or claw like feature in the front that helps it move about. If it did come from inside the cicada I am not sure how it came out unless it was through the opening of the anus, as there are no other openings that appear on the cicada. Could this be the larva stage of a cicada killer wasp? If so, could the wasp have laid more than one egg and there are more inside of th e cica
da. Also, I thought the wasp would have taken the cicada underground- not left it on a paved walkway…”
Signature: Curious Creature Catcher

Cicada and Parasite
Cicada and Parasite

Dear Curious Creature Catcher,
This will require a bit more research on our part, but we want to post it with our initial reaction.  We do not think this parasite looks like it will metamorphose into a beetle.  You are correct that Cicada Killers drag the prey to a burrow where a single egg is laid.  Our gut instinct is that this is a fly larva, perhaps that of a Tachinid Fly.  According to BugGuide:  “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars. Most tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of their host, and it is not uncommon to see caterpillars with several tachinid eggs on them. Upon hatching the larva usually burrows into its host and feeds internally. Full-grown larva leaves the host and pupates nearby. Some tachinids lay their eggs on foliage; the larvae are flattened and are called planidia; they remain on the foliage until they find a suitable host.”

Possibly Tachinid Fly Larva
Possibly Tachinid Fly Larva

Letter 5 – Western Lyric Cicada, we believe

 

Subject:  THIS INSECT
Geographic location of the bug:  MICHIGAN
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 03:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS INSECT.I FOUND IT IN THE BACKYARD DEAD.
How you want your letter signed:  DEAR

Western Lyric Cicada, we believe

Dear DEAR,
The short answer is that this is an Annual Cicada or Dogday Cicada in the genus
Neotibicen.  Its markings are quite unusual, and we believe we have correctly identified it as a Western Lyric Cicada, Neotibicen lyricen lyricen, thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults often congregate in large numbers during the heat of the day to feed/drink on the sap of several hardwoods (preferred adult hosts seem to incl. Pecan, Hickory, Walnut, Wild Cherry, Apple, Pear + many other species in the rose and walnut families).”  Are you certain it was dead?  It legs appear to be in different positions in your images, and according to BugGuide:  “Behavioral note: When ALIVE, lyric cicadas will usually tuck their legs tightly to the sides of their body and ‘play dead.'”

Western Lyric Cicada, we believe

Letter 6 – What Decapitated the Cicada???

 

Subject:  Wtf is this?!?
Geographic location of the bug:  New Orleans, LA
Date: 08/25/2018
Time: 01:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this alien on my cactus pot. It looks like it has antenna coming from the top and is about 1 inch wide. I’ve never seen anything like it.
How you want your letter signed:  Chris

Head of a Cicada

Dear Chris,
This is the head of a Cicada, and we have several images in our archives of decapitated Cicada heads.  Our best educated guess is that a bird or some other predator fed on the fatty body of the Cicada, and neglected to eat the hard and not especially nutritious head.

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 – Wait 17 Years to see their Progeny: Periodical Cicadas Mating

 

Something else…
To add to your mating bugs photos. I took a trip down to the Dayton, Ohio area last summer during the emerging of Brood X Cicadas. They only come out every seventeen years, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to witness it. It was truly an awesome experience.
Elizabeth A. Fisher

Hi Elizabeth,
We are truly honored to post your mating Brood X Cicadas. The one time I saw them was 34 years ago in Ohio and it was spectacular. Thank you again.

Letter 2 – What's That Decapitated Head??? MIght it be a Cicada???

 

What is this? Prehistoric??
Location:  Indiana
August 12, 2010 2:21 pm
Hi, I was outside waiting for a friend, I was leaning on my door frame, and I felt a like pinch or sting, and so I stood up and this is what I saw!!
I live in Indiana, it has been in the high 90’s all week, we have had some rain this summer and high humidity.
I have some pics for you, this bug is about 1/2 inch long nmd maybe same wide, probably not as long..
Please let me know if you can, thanks!
Heather Kreeger

Decapitated Head, but from what???

Hi Heather,
We believe this is a decapitated head.  It looks similar to the head of a Preying Mantis (see BugGuide), but not exactly.  We will contact Eric Eaton for assistance.  We suspect the body of this insect was eaten by a predator.

Update:  We believe we figured it out after sleeping on it.
August 13, 2010
It looks like the head of a Cicada (see BugGuide).  Perhaps a bird feasted upon the body and left the head behind.  Cicadas have piercing and sucking mouthparts, and it is possible that there were still some nerves active, and though the Cicada was “dead”, the head was still able to bite.  Though Cicadas are not considered to be biting insects, we have received reports in the past that a person has been bitten, and it was reported to be quite painful.

Letter 3 – Where are the Magicicada PHotos???

 

June 1, 2013
We have only recieved one image of a Brood II Cicada this year and we don’t know why.  Sue resent us these wonderful images of her Brood XIII emergence outside Chicago in 2007 and we are posting them in an attempt to get our readership to send images of Brood II.

Periodical Cicada
Periodical Cicada


Though we will be on holiday, we promise to post Brood II photos upon our return if any readers send them in.  Please use Brood II Cicada as the subject line to get our attention.

Brood XIII from 2007
Brood XIII from 2007

Letter 4 – What Parasitized the Cicada??? Tachinid Fly Perhaps

 

Subject: parasite update!
Location: Hugh MacRae Park Wilmington, NC
September 13, 2013 11:18 am
Hi Curious Creature Catcher here!!
I have an update from my last message:
September 13, 2013 2:09 pm
Three new parasites have exited the body of the cicada. My thoughts would be that they feasted on the insides, as they have left the shell of the body intact. I know for sure that they did come from the inside, but I do not know how they exited other than through the anus. Could these be Cicada Parasite Beetles?
Thanks in advance!!

Cicada with Parasites
Cicada with Parasites

my last comment:
”September 13, 2013 8:55 AM
Hello! I was in a park in Wilmington N.C. and picked up a cicada that was lying on a black paved walkway. It seemed to have just recently died, as it’s limbs and body were not stiff. I decided to take it home and placed it in the center of an empty console of my car. Upon arriving home in addition to the cicada I saw what appeared to be a parasite wiggling around in the console that measures just over a half of an inch. In observing the cicada even closer I have noticed that several body parts (head, beak and anus) are moving as if something is inside of it! Back to the parasite- it seems to have one tooth or claw like feature in the front that helps it move about. If it did come from inside the cicada I am not sure how it came out unless it was through the opening of the anus, as there are no other openings that appear on the cicada. Could this be the larva stage of a cicada killer wasp? If so, could the wasp have laid more than one egg and there are more inside of th e cica
da. Also, I thought the wasp would have taken the cicada underground- not left it on a paved walkway…”
Signature: Curious Creature Catcher

Cicada and Parasite
Cicada and Parasite

Dear Curious Creature Catcher,
This will require a bit more research on our part, but we want to post it with our initial reaction.  We do not think this parasite looks like it will metamorphose into a beetle.  You are correct that Cicada Killers drag the prey to a burrow where a single egg is laid.  Our gut instinct is that this is a fly larva, perhaps that of a Tachinid Fly.  According to BugGuide:  “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars. Most tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of their host, and it is not uncommon to see caterpillars with several tachinid eggs on them. Upon hatching the larva usually burrows into its host and feeds internally. Full-grown larva leaves the host and pupates nearby. Some tachinids lay their eggs on foliage; the larvae are flattened and are called planidia; they remain on the foliage until they find a suitable host.”

Possibly Tachinid Fly Larva
Possibly Tachinid Fly Larva

Letter 5 – Western Lyric Cicada, we believe

 

Subject:  THIS INSECT
Geographic location of the bug:  MICHIGAN
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 03:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS INSECT.I FOUND IT IN THE BACKYARD DEAD.
How you want your letter signed:  DEAR

Western Lyric Cicada, we believe

Dear DEAR,
The short answer is that this is an Annual Cicada or Dogday Cicada in the genus
Neotibicen.  Its markings are quite unusual, and we believe we have correctly identified it as a Western Lyric Cicada, Neotibicen lyricen lyricen, thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults often congregate in large numbers during the heat of the day to feed/drink on the sap of several hardwoods (preferred adult hosts seem to incl. Pecan, Hickory, Walnut, Wild Cherry, Apple, Pear + many other species in the rose and walnut families).”  Are you certain it was dead?  It legs appear to be in different positions in your images, and according to BugGuide:  “Behavioral note: When ALIVE, lyric cicadas will usually tuck their legs tightly to the sides of their body and ‘play dead.'”

Western Lyric Cicada, we believe

Letter 6 – What Decapitated the Cicada???

 

Subject:  Wtf is this?!?
Geographic location of the bug:  New Orleans, LA
Date: 08/25/2018
Time: 01:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this alien on my cactus pot. It looks like it has antenna coming from the top and is about 1 inch wide. I’ve never seen anything like it.
How you want your letter signed:  Chris

Head of a Cicada

Dear Chris,
This is the head of a Cicada, and we have several images in our archives of decapitated Cicada heads.  Our best educated guess is that a bird or some other predator fed on the fatty body of the Cicada, and neglected to eat the hard and not especially nutritious head.

Authors

    by
  • 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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts

4 thoughts on “When Do Cicadas Come Out? Discover Their Emergence Patterns and Seasonal Appearances”

    • Hi lula,
      We just awoke and went back to the picture and we figured it out. We believe you are correct as well. A Cicada head seems correct.

      Reply
  1. We just picked up a very fresh cicada on a walk, and my grand daughter wanted it on the tray of her stroller. We hadn’t gone far when she got very upset and said there was a slug. I looked, and it was exactly the white larva in the message above. Same story, couldn’t figure where it came from as the cicada had no openings. I assumed it must have fallen from a branch above, removed it, and we continued on our way. Soon another white larva showed up. Again, there was no damage to the cicada. In fact, at first, I thought perhaps is was a newly arrived cicada, and not a dead one. After the second larva, we removed the cicada to a nearby yard. We looked up cicada parasites, and found the very thing we had just found. Thank you!

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  2. Some years ago as I stood in a concrete driveway a cicada dropped out of the sky onto the concrete at my feet. Thinking it odd I picked up the cicada to have a close look. As I held the cicada inches from my nose a slug-like creature wriggled out of the underside of its thorax exactly like the “Alien” movie where the thing bursts out of its host’s chest.
    Shocked, I dropped the cicada as saw the slug begin to crawl away. Curious, I picked up the cicada again to have another look, again, inches from my nose a second slug burst of the the cicada’s chest; and again, I dropped it in shock. I resolved not to pick it up again and turned my attention to the slugs crawling away. Though they moved exception fast for a shapeless body and were making a bee-line for the grass a few feet away, one of them was engulfed in ravenous ants feasting on it energetically.
    I’ve never been able to learn what type of animal parasitized the cicada, but to my recollection they didn’t look like this photo. They were whiter and greasy looking, like snot.

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