Brood XIIII 2007 Cedar Rapids
News Category: Cicada Missions
Brood XIIII 2007 Cedar Rapids
Last night was the first night I slept in a real bed for a week. It was shear bliss. I also stopped at a Chinese restaurant and had myself a great meal. It sure beat hamburgers and hot dogs and sandwiches out of a cooler. Now I'm rested and ready to go. This will be my last full day of distribution mapping.
First Stop, Cedar Valley Nature Trail
I arrived from the hotel to Cedar Valley Nature Trail at 8:18 am. Unfortunately this was a negative data point for me. But Cedar Valley Nature trail is just north of Hiawatha on the eastern side of route 380. I was at the start of the trail which meanders through the Cedar River bottomlands, along forested banks of the river and across fields where stands of trees are punctuated by open vistas and it goes for 52 miles through two counties! Any other time I would really like to visit this place but since there are no Periodical Cicadas calling, I need to get going!
First Positive of the Day, Usher's Ferry Historic Village
After leaving Cedar Valley Nature Trail I stopped at several other places which gave me nothing but negative data points. However, like I said before negatives are just as good as positives. My first stop where I received a positive data point was in a small area along Seminole Valley Trail N.E.. This is a road and not a trail. Its strange because 500 ft up Seminole Valley Trail N.E. there was nothing but negatives. I continued along Seminole Valley Trail and came to it's end where I ended up at a small historic village known as Usher's Ferry Village.
I met some really nice people here who told me that the Periodical Cicadas have been present in and around Cedar Rapids for about a week and a half. I basically went into the biology of periodical cicadas and what I did. They were very surprised to learn that I was so far away from home. Anyway, these were very cool people. Click the thumbnail above and to the left for a group photo of the staff of Usher's Ferry History Village. I recommend a visit.
Male M. septendecim Calling Behavior - First Attempt.
I'm going to jump ahead here. I stopped at many points today and took a myriad of positive and negative data points. But I did stop at the Lewis Preserve County Park along the Lewis Access Road. This place was really hopping with both M. cassini and M. septendecim Periodical Cicadas.
I wanted to try my luck and duplicate what I learned from John Cooley and the folks at U.C. Storrs to see if I could entice an M. septendecim to call for me by using a simulated male call and following with fake wing flicking. Click the thumbnail to the right to watch a short video of my dismal first attempt.
Male M. septendecim Calling Behavior - Second Attempt.
I know, it's kind of embarrassing. I decided to take one specimen and bring it inside my car so that I could block out all the ruckus outside. I had a better second attempt. Click the thumbnail to the left to watch the second attempt. If you'll notice in the video it starts off on the steering wheel and when I imitate another male call then follow-up with a female wing-flick (snapping my fingers) the specimen ends up flying towards the sound of the wing flicking. I had to stop the recording because when it flew on me, I had a hard time locating it. Click the video above and to the left to watch the hilarity.
Male M. septendecim Calling Behavior and Interference Buzz
At last, after my third attempt, I managed to get this male M. septendecim to call with simulated male calling and fake wing flicking. Another interesting behavior that has already been noted in a published paper by John Cooley and David Marshall is what's known as an "interference buzz." This is an interesting courting behavior that a male if it detects a female present will "throw competing males off". The male who suspects a female in the area will create a "buzz" sound right at the end of another male's call that hopefully will stop competing males from hearing a female's wing-flick response.
In the video, notice how I start by snapping my fingers to simulate a female's wing flick, then when the male flies onto my hand, I just snap my thumbnail and middle fingernail together to simulate a subtle wing flick. This drives the M. septendecim to walk totally around my hand in order to locate the female. When it cannot find the female, I simulate a competing male's call then it introduces the interference buzz.
The Last Data Point
Well, this has sure been a lot of fun. I took my last data point in a small town known as Shellsburg at 4:30 pm on the corner of Commercial St and Canton St. Shellsburg is a sleepy little town that has a set of railroad tracks running right through the center of it. I heard one lone male M. cassini calling. Today I made it as far north as Vintonia, Iowa and circled back around following the Cedar River. Now its time to think about going home. I got a long drive ahead of me and it looks like I'm going to get stuck in work traffic.