T. canicularis Nymphs Caught at Fairview
News Category: Cicada General Info
T. canicularis Nymphs Caught at Fairview
Tonight was a good night for obtaining Tibicen canicularis cicadas at Fairview Cemetery in Westford. I showed up around 10:15pm and the first tree I went to had a nearly completed molting specimen. Walking around for a while I discovered two more molting specimens and an additional three emerging nymphs!
But I had a problem. If you read the article on How To Catch Cicadas, you know that it is always a good idea to keep cicada nymphs separated. If you don't they'll cling to each other in the same container and try to molt off of each other. You see, as long as you can keep a nymph from anchoring its legs, then it won't molt, at least that is what I have learned so ALWAYS KEEP THEM SEPARATED.
Unfortunately I didn't have my trusty plastic box that is separated into individual compartments and I only had three glass jars with me, so this meant that I had to use the jars to keep the specimens separated but then, I would've had nothing to hold the three molting cicada specimens. So what I did was drive home really quickly (by this time it was around 11:00pm). I set up a mesh bag on a tree branch which I wrote about in the previous update.
I put the nymphs in the bag then I drove back. I walked around and saw that all three molting cicadas where just about completed and I was just about to collect them when I discovered two additional nymphs! Not to mention another two nymphs that were too high to reach but I decided to not be greedy so I left those alone.
So what I did was put two completely molted cicadas in one jar and put another cicada in a jar by itself. Then I found an extra jar without a lid and I put one of the nymphs in there and the other nymph in another jar by itself.
Ever try to drive while holding four jars at the same time while driving very carefully so as not to jostle newly molted cicadas so their wings won't get damaged? Let me tell you it's real tough!
I finally made it home in one piece but it was well after midnight and I had a long day ahead of me. I planned on leaving early to go to Connecticut and continue with the distribution mapping of Tibicen chloromeraTibicen tibicen there as well as see if I could find the exact spot where my friend Mike Neckermann heard that wonderful T. auletes calling on the 3rd of August. I knew that they were dusk calling cicadas so that meant for a very long day.
Take a look at the image by clicking on the thumbnail above and to the right. This nymph is exhibiting a behavior that I reported on a few years ago where it is playing dead. Some cicada nymphs do this especially in Tibicen canicularis. This behavior even carries over into adulthood but not all cicadas do this.
I looked in the first bag with the three nymphs I dropped off earlier and I saw that they were molting nicely. They were not yet complete but I was satisfied. I took the two new nymphs that I found and put them in another mesh bag and left the completely molted specimens in the jar. I will separate males from females when I got back from Connecticut.
Off To Connecticut Again
But prior to that I got up this morning to check on the cicada nymphs and cicadas that I collected the night before, before I start off for my long ride to Connecticut. I see that the three original nymphs have molted completely and they are well on their way to being full-fledged adults. The cicadas in the jars are doing nicely from the night before. I will have pictures of them all up during my next update.
Another Strange Observation:
However, and this is really strange but the two nymphs I brought back and put in the second bag have not molted at all! I've seen this happen once before where a nymph just never really molted. It was with a Tibicen lyricen nymph I found last year in the same cemetery.
In fact they were in the exact spot I placed them in last night. They didn't look dead however but they never really even started molting. I thought that they were damaged and probably would never molt. Usually, I can obtain a nymph, take it home, stick it on a stick and within a half hour it will start to molt. These two specimens didn't at all.
Anyway, when I got back from my trip to Connecticut, I seen that they finally molted. But from the time I placed them in the mesh bag the night before up until I left for Connecticut, at least 6 hours had passed and they still hadn't started to molt. Very strange! Oh well, I'm glad it worked out anyway.
More Reader Sightings of Cicadas and Cicada Killers
The email is flowing hot and heavy now. I've been receiving a ton of email with regards to cicada and cicada killer sightings. Click here to see the latest from around the country. Keep them coming because these help greatly with distribution mapping of all the cicada species in New England as well as Cicada killers.
The only thing I ask is to supply a picture if you possibly can when sending email. Without visual confirmation I cannot accept the datapoint. Especially with cicada killers. Already I have received email containing pictures of other wasps that didn't turn out to be Cicada Killers, so I figured if images are coming in being mis-identified, it will be difficult for me to just accept a report without a corresponding image.
Off to Martha's Vineyard
Starting Thursday August 10 I will be gone for 5 days. I will be on Martha's Vineyard doing cicada research. I'm going to investigate a report of T. auletes being there back in the 1920's. I want to see if this information is still valid. If it isn't then the records need to be updated.