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


About Massachusetts Cicadas

The Different Species of Cicadas in Massachusetts

Living in Massachusetts does not afford one the opportunity to study many different species of cicadas. This is because there just aren't that many this far north. While studying species in Massachusetts is important, this site also focuses on the all cicadas of New England. More species of cicadas are readily available in Connecticut than there are here in Massachusetts. However, the further north one travels, even fewer species can be found.

So far, several different species of cicadas have been documented in Massachusetts. Those being Tibicen auletes, Tibicen lyricen, Tibicen canicularis, Tibicen tibicen (formerly T. chloromerus) and Okanagana rimosa.

Massachusetts even has Periodical Cicadas from Brood XIV, a species that appears en masse once every 17 years along Cape Cod in Barnstable county and to a lesser extent, Plymouth county.

Okanagana rimosa has proved to be an elusive little insect. Fortunately, in the summer of 2007 shortly after a return trip from the mid west to study Brood XIII periodical cicadas, a sustainable population of Okanagana rimosa was found in a town in central Massachusetts known as Montague. More information on this interesting periodic-like little insect can be found here.

Another species in the same genus as Okanagana rimosa is Okanagana canadensis. While records are sketchy as to whether this species can be found in Massachusetts, this species is known to be abundant in the northern parts of Maine. It is only a matter of time until actual voucher specimens are obtained for Massachusetts.

What This Site is About

This site is divided into the following sections:

  1. News Articles - On the home page is a listing of articles in chronological order. The articles are further broken down into the following sub-categories:
    1. General News Articles - contain articles such as reports from contributors, information on first emergences during a cicada season as well as information on areas where the site author has revisited.
    2. Cicada Information Articles - These articles discuss cicada biology and distribution, behaviors and systematics. Basically anything pertaining to the life cycle of cicadas that have been observed by the site author or information that has been reported or learned through established literature.
    3. Cicada How To Articles - Contains articles that discuss such things as the best methods to employ to catch cicadas or how to preserve your cicadas to enjoy later. Articles will discuss best killing methods or how to maintain cicadas in captivity for study.
    4. Cicada Missions Articles - Contains articles that involve travel to do work with other researchers and colleagues or to expand knowledge of distribution of cicada species around New England and other parts of the United States. Articles usually involve overnight stays in a location for a particular research subject.
    5. Cicada Projects Articles - Contains articles of two different types. Type one pertains to those subjects where the author is trying to find out something new and interesting about cicadas. Type two pertains to subjects where the author hosts visiting researchers in projects that involve Massachusetts and New England.
  2. Cicada and Cicada Killer Sightings - This sections contains user-submitted cicada and cicada killer sightings information. The section is divided into two categories, "Cicadas" and "Cicada Killers". Clicking on the thumbnail or sighting location link will transport you to detailed information. Cicada and Cicada Killer sightings are being solicated from the public because they help in filling in gaps in the distribution of cicadas and cicada killer species.
  3. Species - This section is currently in development and not live. - While this site focuses on New England cicada species, other species outside of New England are also featured. The purpose of the species section is to provide information on Morphology, Distribution, Habitat, Calling Songs in order to help you identify species.
  4. Videos - The video section contains videos that span over five years. They are listed in chronological order starting from the videos section home page. If there is a referring article from the various news section, a link to the video-specific article is also added. The videos are further broken down into several different categories:
    1. Behaviors - These videos note different and unusual cicada behaviors. For instance, alarm squawks, fake wing flicking responses among others.
    2. Calling Songs - Different species have a species-specific calling song. Single male individuals are often isolated from other males in order to record their single distinct call. This video section catalogues the various calling songs the author of this site has accrued and even include videos submitted by contributors.
    3. Chorusing - Chorusing is when multiple male cicadas of the same species come together in a general area to set up "aggregations" of singing. These videos feature multiple males calling in a single location.
    4. Cicada Killers - These videos document behaviors regarding cicada killer wasps.
    5. Miscellaneous - Like the category name implies, these videos do not fall under the other categories but are still interesting.
    6. Ovipositing - Ovipositing is the act of a female cicada laying eggs. Cicadas of the genus Tibicen have a propensity to oviposit in dead wood like dead tree branches, bark or twigs. Sometimes they'll even oviposit in wooden railings or fence posts. These videos not only document ovipositing instances by cicadas but also tries to note what substrates they oviposit into.

Inviting Discussion

Every article and sighting now has the ability for the reader to comment. Should you want to add your own thought or experiences, feel free to comment. Commenting opens up new insghts and discussions on the data and even to correct any inaccuracies. Should something not be right then its up to those in the know to chime in to correct it.

Latest Sightings

Submit Report

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

Brood I Information

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

Brood XIX Information

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