First Cicada of the Season
News Category: Cicada General Info
First Cicada of the Season
I found my first Tibicen lyricen Cicadas of the season today. Where else but St. Patrick Cemetery? I knew it was getting to be about that time. Last year I started hearing the call of T. canicularis on July 9th. With what I have learned last year, I suspected that Cicadas should be emerging soon (prior to July 9th) so for about a week I have been hunting.
I suspected that a newly emerged male Cicada takes several days for their timbals to develop enough to call for females. I figured that they have to emerge earlier than when one starts to hear them, then the males will wait a few days before they start calling. Sure enough, that's exactly what has happened. There are no Cicadas calling in the trees today but some Cicadas are emerging. The males will hang out, wait for their timbals to develop, then they will start calling.
The first specimen I found was a Tibicen lyricen female on a pine tree at around 11:00 am in the morning. It was several feet away from its exuvium higher in the tree. What&s interesting about this female is that it is of the sub species of T. lyricen known as "variation engelhardti".Tibicen lyricen var. engelhardti is a very dark sub species. It has an almost completely black body with just the tiniest hint of brown. I should have dorsal pictures of this specimen soon for you. For now, look at how dark it is in this ventral view to the right. This specimen is only a few hours old. I found a male Tibicen lyricen var. engelhardti last year as well. They are considered quite rare.
The next specimen I found was on a downed branch several feet away from the pine tree where I found the female but also close to an Ash tree. I suspect that both of these specimens' host plant was the Ash tree as that was where I found a lot of T. lyricen specimens last year. It seems that they do indeed prefer Ash trees.
The image on the right shows the same specimen as above but with it's exuvium in the shot. Sorry about the blade of grass that's in the way of the specimen but I was really excited. I don't know why I didn't think about getting a photo shot from the other side. I almost picked up the branch to coax the female that I found on the pine tree with it. I've seen this a lot last year where cicadas molt just about anywhere even on downed branches laying on the ground. Below are thumbnails of the male Tibicen lyricen several hours after molting.
Note: Even though the female molted on the pine tree, the Ash tree was in proximity to it so I suspect that it too was hosting on the Ash tree same as the male but sought out the most convenient place relative to where it emerged from the ground and it found the pine tree like the male found the downed branch.