April 8, 2002: I email Chris Simon at U. of Connecticut to see if any research projects are being conducted on Brood XXIII and the newly-discovered Magicicada neotredecim species. I need a research problem for my degree, so doing one on an animal phenomenon that I'll be journalizing anyway would make things almost too easy...
April 9, 2002: Turns out there will be some research conducted in southern Illinois -- not too terribly far from here. So I send the email address of my advisor to Chris Simon so they can talk about how I must participate. Patiently I await a response...
April 25, 2002: Things are beginning to come together. I expect the cicadas in about two weeks or so. The weather's still a little too cool for me to expect an early emergence like the one in 1998, which is good because I have finals week plaguing me at the moment, and I'd have a real time conflict if the cicadas emerged now! =)
May 2, 2002: Reports of cicadas emerging in Mississippi are causing me to become anxious as I await Brood XXIII here in Arkansas. I will travel home tomorrow because I'm moving out of the college dorm next week and I need to take some unwanted stuff out of there before I actually make the move. Oh yeah... and I wouldn't mind seeing my family either. =) I plan to stop by my own personal Magicicada grounds, Holland Bottoms, while I'm there. Hopefully I'll at least get to see some exit tunnels or something. It's warmer there so maybe something will be happening...
May 3, 2002: Holland Bottoms Wildlife Management Area, Lonoke Co., AR; Temp: 62 F, Weather: intermittent drizzle; This is where it all began, 13 years ago (well, almost...) so I thought I'd come here first. No signs of life yet. But it's kind of cold and it's been misting off and on, so this really isn't a good day for cicada hunting anyway. I don't feel like getting muddy today, so I'm not even going to get off the gravel. I'll try to come back tomorrow a little more prepared...
May 5, 2002: Holland Bottoms W.M.A.; Temp: 73 F, Weather: Cloudy; No signs of life yet. This time I actually checked for any skins, tunnels, random chirping, etc. but nothing yet. Oh well. Worth a try.
Greetings from Brood XXIII!!!
A quick rundown of the four 13-year Magicicada species:
Magicicada tredecassini ("cassini"): the smallest, most abundant, and loudest of the four. About an inch in length excluding wings. Underside of abdomen completely black. Calling song is a 4-5 second series of ticks followed by a shrill buzz; chorus is a VERY intense shrill whining that is intermittently louder and softer.
Magicicada tredecula ("decula"): Similar but more variable in size to cassini. Underside of abdomen black with orange stripes. Call is a lengthy series of chirps that sounds similar to a lawn sprinkler. Chorus is a collection of high-pitched chirping, similar to the nocturnal chorus of the True ("leaf-winged") Katydid during the summer.
Magicicada tredecim ("decim B" or "tre"): Larger than the other two; about an inch and a half long. Underside of abdomen a uniform burnt orange. Call is a croaklike whistle ending in a downslur, sort of resembling the word "pharaoh." Chorus is a steady, intense whirring, like a jet engine or a spinning weed eater wire, or the sound you hear when you put your ear to a seashell.
Magicicada neotredecim ("decim A" or "neo"): Rare in Arkansas. Only found in Arkansas in Brood XIX. across the northern row of counties from Sharp County westward. This species borders decim B with its range, and is more common to the north, i.e. Illinois, Indiana, and parts of southeastern Missouri. Roughly the same size as decim B. Underside of abdomen burnt orange with varying degrees of dark crossbands, often similar to decula (Can be VERY difficult to distinguish from decim B by abdomen color, so be careful here!). Call and chorus are basically the same as decim B, but slightly higher pitched.
May 10, 2002: Holland Bottoms W.M.A.; Temp: 58 F, Weather: Cloudy; No singing is heard, but I venture in along the path. At first I see nothing, but a little perseverence leads me to find two holes in the ground that appear to be cicada holes. A little farther down the path, I come to a small area (about 5 yards squared) containing about 20 holes which are obviously the handiwork of Brood XXIII. From about a dozen of them, I see nymphs peering up at me from about an inch down, watching. I pick up an old piece of cardboard off the ground, under which I find two nymphs scurrying about and a third glaring at me from inside one of the tunnels. I collect the two and replace the cardboard. Then I find around 30 skins clinging to grass blades and 5 newly-emerged adults perched on some ragweed. Four are cassini and one is decula. I then find a female decim B on a low-hanging leaf, just a few inches above its cast-off nymphal skin. I collect four specimens and triumphantly head home.
Cabot, AR: Coming through my front door, I covertly place my female decim B on my mom's shirt as she gives me a hug. I then proceed to my room as if nothing happened. Within 10 seconds the insect has crawled up to her neck, causing her to scream and me to laugh maniacally. I then collect my startled cicada and replace it in the container. I put the two nymphs under a wicker trash basket. They promptly climb it and molt.
May 11, 2002: Holland Bottoms W.M.A.; Temp: 86 F, Weather: Mostly sunny; The first cicada calls can occasionally be heard. Sounds like a couple of cassini males have the urge and are trying to start the chorus all by themselves. I hear them every once in a while. I find a few more shells and a few more holes; and 1 nymph under some plywood (that's right, ONE periodical cicada. I'll remember this rare sight forever!!!). Other than that nothing much is new. I wanted to find a few adults because I have a camera and want to take some pictures. But no adults can be found, so I get a couple of shots of the little nymph and then leave.
Cabot, AR; I replace the branches for my 6 captive cicadas, which they immediately begin feeding on. One of them is trying to sing, but his voice is still too weak.
May 13, 2002: Cabot, AR; A few of my cassini cicadas are singing in captivity. It still amazes me how the members of this species can synchronize their song in the wild so that their phrases are articulated in synchronization with the rest of the group. For this reason the cassini have always been, and always will be, my favorite Magicicada species.
Holland Bottoms W.M.A.; Temp: 75 F, Weather: Mostly sunny; Along the path I find around 150-200 adults quietly assembling in the trees and brush. I see several hundred holes and at least 200 skins. I collect four more decim males, one of which has pink eyes! Another has a dent in the top of its thorax. With my newly-borrowed 35 mm camera complete with zoom lens, I take a few pictures of the assembling cicada swarm.
May 15, 2002: Hwy. 38, east side of Cache Bayou, Woodruff Co., AR; Temp: 83 F, Weather: Sunny; Cassini audible from the road. Not the chorus, but merely the calling phrases. I can hardly wait to see what their chorus will sound like!
Village Creek State Park, St. Francis Co., AR; Some cicada singing is faintly audible. The low droning of the decim B cicadas is definitely there, and some cassini chirping can be heard. There are a couple dozen skins here and there, and about 40 holes dot the head of the nature trail, but no adults can be seen. Probably just getting started here.
Wynne, AR; Cassini chirps can once again be heard faintly. This is a town I wouldn't mind revisiting in a week or so.
Jonesboro, AR; Back at the pad, I check the apartment complex for signs of the 13-year cicada. Plenty of old hardwood trees around, but no traces of the Magicicada yet. My cassini cicadas continue to call in their cage. I hope they don't bug my roommates, no pun intended, of course.=)
May 16, 2002: Lake Poinsett State Park, Harrisburg, AR; Temp: 81 F, Weather: Partly cloudy; The chirping of cassini and decula is audible at a moderate level, and the droning of decim B is faintly audible here and there. In patchy areas, emergence holes can be found as dense as 10-15 per square yard. I probably saw over 1000 of them throughout the park. A nymph, spying on me from its tunnel, quickly retreats as I approach. Most adults are in the treetops, but some dismembered and malformed adults litter the ground and understory. About 500 shells are seen clinging to trees, bushes, and other vertical surfaces throughout the park, with many more littering the ground. I suspect that this area, like Village Creek and Wynne, is just getting started. The park's interpreter seemed happy to receive that warning, as I suspect he'll have plenty of questions to answer from freaked-out campers over the next few weeks. I found one decula adult that seemed fairly healthy, as well as one cassini adult in likewise condition. The rest of the adults I found down low were in really bad shape. Two decim B adults were afflicted with the fungus infection.
--Saline County, AR
May 20, 2002: Lake Poinsett State Park, Harrisburg, AR; Temp: 68 F, Weather: Sunny; Decim B chorus and cassini calls growing louder. Decula cicadas are present, but it will be hard to distinguish their song from that of cassini until the chorusing begins. A few adults are found in some of the low vegetation, but for the most part, they are in the treetops and out of sight.
Hwy. 14 east of Harrisburg: Cassini calls audible from the road, but too much private property to get out and investigate. Probably not too many adults within reach anyway.
Jonesboro, AR; Three of my cassini cicadas are from the original 6 I collected at Holland Bottoms on May 10. My previous record for keeping a cicada alive is 12 days, and these three show no signs of slowing down (especially since I made sure not to provide any females for them to procreate with). I see no reason that these three, on their 11th day, will not survive to Wednesday and break the 7-year-old record.
May 21, 2002: Jonesboro, AR: My cassini trio is still alive and well, and they still sing in the daylight and when the light is on. I give them new branches to suck on every day. They seem to get more excited, vocally, when I listen to my CD's. I guess it's got something to do with the sound frequency of the chords or something, but some CD's seem to have a greater effect than others. Right now their favorite seems to be Linkin Park, although they have tried to "sing along" with SonicFlood, Metallica, Staind, and Skillet as well. =) My band has a gig tonight, so I don't go cicada-hunting, but rather spend most of the day preparing for the gig.
May 23, 2002: DeValls Bluff, AR; Temp: 77 F, Weather: sunny, windy; Cicadas audible from the road, cassini chorus beginning. Adult cicadas cover tree trunks; they kind of look like roaches from a distance. The decim B are singing loudly as well, but not as loud as the cassini, who are not yet in synch with each other at the moment. The entire town is infested, though, much like Hardy, AR in 1998. Many teneral, or newly-emerged, cicadas are present, indicating that the chorus will only grow louder in the coming days.
Baseball Field about 3 miles east of DeValls Bluff, Hwy. 70, Prarie County, AR; Weather: 85 F, sunny, windy; Cassini chorus well organized and very loud. Adult cicadas cover tree trunks so densely that there is hardly two inches between each one. Thousands of shells litter the ground and cling to the understory. Emergence holes are not well seen because of a great deal of leaf litter on the ground; the holes would be underneath, and I'm not ABOUT to dig. Decim cicadas are congregated across a clearing and are not quite as dense.
Hwy. 38 @ Prarie/Lonoke County Line; This is where I found the sparse cicada populations in 1998 which emerged with Brood XIX. Because of their sparsity, I suspected them to be Brood XXIII stragglers, but this is not the case, as this area is void of cicadas completely. In fact, Brood XXIII's coverage seems to border around this area.
Holland Bottoms W.M.A.; Singing still growing louder. Cassini chorus is beginning in some areas, and decim B are now audible as well.
Billy Loop off Kerr Station Rd., Lonoke County, AR; Decim, cassini, and decula all audible. Again, the cicadas are covering the tree trunks impressively, although not quite as dense as those near DeValls Bluff.
May 27, 2002: Holland Bottoms W.M.A.; Temp: 88 F, Weather: Hazy; Cassini chorus has begun, but only in patches. For the most part, you have to leave the trail and actually go down into the bottoms to see anything. They have begun to synchronize and are covering some of the tree trunks and branch tips. Decim B cicadas are audible across the creek. I wanted to collect some, but there's no good way over there. I found only one teneral cicada, so it looks like the emergence is slowing down. The singing is weaker this time than it was in 1989, but then, a lot of trees have been taken since then along the trail, so that could have something to do with it.
Billy Loop off Kerr Station Rd.; All three species can be heard, and cassini cicadas can be seen swarming the branches. I take a couple of pictures, but I am soon politely run off by one of the locals. So I make friends with him and politely get the %$@* out of there. =)
Kerr Station Rd.; Hwy 321 to 2 miles south of Hwy. 294; All 3 cicada species can intermittently be heard from the car. Seems like they get thicker the farther south you go in this stretch. From here I head home for the day.
Cabot, AR; My cassini trio have all died as of yesterday. The best one officially made it 15.5 days, the other two checked out at 12.0 days. There are two remaining decim B cicadas from May 12 which have now completed day 15, so my cassini cicada may have a short-lived record.
May 28, 2002:West Main St., Jacksonville, AR; Temp: 83 F, Weather: Mostly Cloudy; Cassini, decim B, and decula all chorusing. Beginning to see dead adults lying about. Looks like mating and egg-laying has begun. Singing not as loud as one would expect with a Magicicada emergence. Such has been the case in many of the sites I've visited.
Holland Bottoms W.M.A.; Cassini chorusing loudly in select trees. Mating and egg-laying observed. Not as impressive as the 1989 emergence. Not by far. However, the cicadas are visible if you know where to look. Decim B audible on the other side of the creek.
Neocicada heiroglyphica: Arkansas' smallest and earliest annual cicada (see Guide to Annual Cicadas). Its song will be mixed with the Magicicada for the remainder of the emergence.
May 29, 2002: Hwy. 14 @ Bayou DeView Wildlife Management Area, Poinsett County, AR; Cassini very loud. Got my attention even though my windows were up and my CD player was going. I don't stop, but I listen. No cicadas in Waldenburg for some reason, but they are audible on either side of the town along Hwy. 14.
Lake Poinsett State Park: Decula chorusing, but are high in the treetops and not able to be observed. Such is also the case for decim B, whose sound is equally loud. Once again, this is not what I would have expected for a periodical cicada emergence. However, I do collect a strangely-colored teneral decim B female, which has brown eyes and paler than usual wing veins. That alone made the trip worth taking. The annual Neocicada heiroglyphica, the pygmy cicada, has emerged and is now audible amongst the Magicicada choruses. But I won't be fooled.
May 30, 2002: Jonesboro, AR; My collection from Holland Bottoms W.M.A. are all dead, but are now my longest-lived batch of cicadas. My two decim males went the longest. The one with the dented thorax went 16.5 days; the pink-eyed one went 16 days. The singer of the cassini trio (the one that liked my Linkin Park CD) was third, at 15.5 days. The decim female that scared the $@#% out of my mom (from my first batch) was fourth at 14 days, and the other two members of the cassini trio are tied at fifth, both checking out at 12 days. That leaves my previous best, the Tibicen dorsata (Grand Western Cicada) from 1994, in seventh with an adulthood of 11 days. The trip to Illinois looms near...
June 1, 2002: Bayou DeView Wildlife Management Area (Thompson Tract), 3 miles west of Weiner, AR; Temp: 92 F, Weather: Partly cloudy; Cassini loud and dominant; decim B also abundant. Patchy swarms on several low trees make for some good pictures, and numerous cassini males attempt to use my hair, nose, shirt, etc. as chorusing spots. Decula present, but in smaller numbers, as usual.
Weiner, AR; Cassini and decim B loud throughout the residential area. A few fences and low shrubs have skins all over them. Neocicada heiroglyphica is also audible among the Magicicada chorus.
Waldenburg, AR; I stop at a gas station for a 7-up and find three smashed adults in the parking lot. I guess someone wasn't as happy to see them as I would have been. Cassini calls audible across the street.
Bayou DeView W.M.A. (Lake Hogue); Cicadas swarming, chorusing, ovipositing, and fornicating. Cassini and decim B very loud. Many trees are covered by both species, sometimes mixed. I finally find some decim males low enough to collect. I wanted to take 5 or so back with me. Then I remember that they bug my roommates. With that in mind, I collect about 20 of them, shoot some more pictures, and head back.
June 3, 2002: Lake Hogue; Cassini, decula, and decim B chorusing loudly. All three equally dominant in most areas. Neocicada also present. I finish off my roll of film and head to Cabot. The data collection in Illinois begins tomorrow.
Hwy. 14 west of Bayou DeView W.M.A., W Poinsett and E Jackson Counties, AR; Cassini audible intermittently. I hadn't noticed them in these areas on my previous trips through here.
Hwy. 14 @ Locust Creek, Jackson Co., AR; Looks like the locals named this creek accordingly...
June 4, 2002: We go through Arkansas early in the morning, so the cassini choruses along Hwy. 14 at Locust Creek, Bayou DeView, and other spots are not yet audible.
Cairo/Future City, IL; No cicadas yet, but this place sure is a dump. Looks like no one's moved here in decades. Future City?! Well, I guess it's good to know that there will be a city here someday; there certainly isn't one now...
I-57 from Ullin exit to just south of Marion; N Pulaski, Union, NE Johnson, and W Williamson Counties, IL; Cassini audible from the interstate almost continuously, sometimes with windows up and radio & air conditioner on.
Rest Stop @ Cache River, Union Co., IL; We stop here for lunch and can hear cassini, decim B, and decula all at moderate levels. No cicadas can be found low enough to see closely, though.
Hwys. 13, 45, & 1 from Marion, IL to Phillipstown, IL, E Williamson, Saline, and White Counties; We lose the cicadas through this area. This is likely Brood XIX's territory. Brood XIX in most respects occupies the lower Midwest everywhere except areas close to the lower Mississippi and lower Ohio River Valleys while Brood XXIII occupies these valley areas.
Phillipstown, IL, E White County; Cassini chorus heard briefly before another small dead spot near the Wabash River.
New Harmony, IN; Cassini very loud throughout the town. We can't stop because we are in a hurry to meet up with John Cooley, Dave Marshall, and the research team, whom we should have touched base with several hours ago (I underestimated the time it would take to cross Illinois).
Harmonie State Park, Posey Co., IN; Cicadas become louder the farther into the park we go. Cassini, decim B, and decula audible at varying levels. Decim A faintly audible in places. At the campground bathrooms the cassini are so thick that their chorus is ear-piercing. They are swarming many of the trees and flying back and forth across the road and between trees. We get pelted by them several times just on our way into the bathrooms. I stay outside and allow the cicadas to light on me; they often call as they do so. Many are mating, and "honey-dew" (a watery secretion produced by the adults) falls from the sky within 20 feet of any tree. I'd stay here all day, but we have to find the team. We finally meet up with Cooley & Company behind the pool. Their large SUV with Connecticut tags and its load of scientific equipment was a giveaway. One lone Neocicada heiroglyphica is heard behind the research area. After touring the research site, we all head to Evansville for the night.
June 5, 2002: University of Southern Indiana, Vanderburg County; Temp: 90 F, Weather: Partly cloudy; On John's suggestion, we head here to get a feel for the two decim choruses. Just as predicted, both of them can be heard. Decim B is more dominant than decim A, though. Cassini loud and swarming almost everywhere. Our objective is to find mating decim and collect them. Unfortunately, they appear to be finishing mating, because females can be seen ovipositing everywhere. Cassini still mating and swarming, and we get pelted with them on a fairly continuous basis as we skirt along the edge of the woods. We are chased away by a line of thunderstorms around noon. Our next site is north in search of the switchoff from decim B to A, which will be to our north. So we head toward Vincennes, in Knox County.
Vincennes, IN; Temp: 63 F, Weather: drizzle; The rain and subsequent cold front have left the weather cold, wet, and all-around bad for cicada hunting. All we can do is find a motel and bed down for the remainder of the day.
June 6, 2002: White Oak Fishing Area near Bruceville, Knox Co., IN; Temp.: 65 F, Weather: Partly cloudy; This area is listed as a collection spot for Brood XXIII, but we don't see or hear any cicadas anywhere in the park. The same went for Hwy. 67 between Vincennes and Bruceville, not to mention Bruceville Rd. and Wheatland Roads east of Vincennes. We are not sure if there are no cicadas here or if they are not singing because of the low temperature. Because the day is turning out to be a total waste, our only positive course of action is to return to USI, where we know the cicadas are, and see how they are behaving in this weather.
University of Southern Indiana; Temp: 73 F, Weather: Partly cloudy; The cicadas are chorusing just as though it was still hot. Safe to say that there were no cicadas where we were in Knox County. Not to say the county was void of them, just not in or en route to any of the areas we visited up there. In any event, we need to collect, and fast, so Knox County will not be worth another trip for us.
Hendricks Rd. west of Evansville, Vanderburg Co., IN; Temp: 75 F, Weather: Partly cloudy; Cassini chorusing, and decula calling. Decim A and B chorusing together, but no mating is observed with them, only ovipositing. There are still mating cassini, though. Flagging damage is visible on some of the trees.
Burdette Park, Vanderburg Co., IN; The park is completely infested. All four species are present, and all except decula are present in large numbers. However, the decim again appear to be finished mating. Flagging and ovipositing is observed. Thousands of egg cases can be found in outer branches. Cassini thick once again, and very loud.
Posey Lane Campground, Vanderburg/Posey Co. Line; This area shows a similar situation to Burdette Park, only without the decula. Too bad we're not looking for mating cassini, although even they aren't mating much anymore.
Harmonie State Park; We report our hardships to Dave, who gives us an alternate plan to just collect decim in areas where both types are present if finding mating pairs is impossible. At least that way there can be more data on decim A to B ratios in more locations than just the ones in Simon et al., 2000. We head back to Evansville and prepare for a VERY early start tomorrow.
June 7, 2002: Posey Lane Campground; It's early, about 8:30 a.m., so the singing is almost exclusively decim A & B. The cassini are low in the trees and present in amazing abundance. They begin stirring and squawking as we examine the trees. This is our first collection site, and we collect 64 decim for the research team. We leave the ones that are ovipositing, otherwise we'd have gotten much more.
Burdette Park; This is our second collection site, and our best. We collect 130 cicadas here, and could have caught twice that many had we not stopped for practical reasons. The cassini are here in ungodly numbers and are beginning to chorus already (it's only 10:30 a.m.), maybe because us stirring them got them excited??
Hwy. 62 east of Evansville, E Vanderburg, Warrick, and extreme W Spencer Counties, IN; We are mapping this area and are approaching Brood X's territory. Brood XXIII is appropriately fizzling as we go east. Nothing is heard from Evansville to Boonville. Calls become audible in Boonville.
Scales Lake, near Boonville, Warrick Co., IN; Cassini calling some. A few lone decim B calls here and there. Not nearly enough cicadas for a collection, though. It appears the cicadas were here in somewhat greater numbers, but are disappearing already.
Hwy. 62 east of Boonville, Warrick Co.; Cassini chorus is audible for a few miles, then fades again for about 10 miles.
Hwy. 62 @ Little Pigeon Creek, Spencer Co., IN; Cassini very loud. They get our attention so we stop. Decim B loud also. A resident family allows us onto their property so we can investigate. It appears this area is dying out, despite the cicadas' abundance. Emergence holes number greater than 50 per square yard, and dead adults are everywhere. We manage to collect 14 decim, presumably all B. We then proceed to the east. The cicadas fizzle out again soon after we leave this area, and are not heard again as we continue east for another 25 miles or so. We've apparently found the edge of Brood XXIII, found that decim B frequency increases as you go east, and, judging from this area's progression, that the brood's emergence spread not only from south to north, but from east to west, as well. This correlates well to what I saw a month ago. Reports of cicada emergence in northern Mississippi flooded in well before the first cicadas appeared in central and eastern Arkansas.
June 8, 2002: Evansville, IN; On Chris Simon's OK, we decide to work our way back toward Arkansas, mapping southern Illinois as we do so.
Harmonie State Park; We turn in our collected specimens from Posey Lane, Burdette Park, and Litle Pigeon Creek to Dave, then proceed west. But before we go we visit the campground area at my request because I want some pictures of the cassini swarm. I shoot a few pictures, then we leave Indiana.
Phillipstown, IL; Cicadas heard briefly; mostly cassini, then we don't hear them again until we get west of Marion.
Carterville, IL, Williamson Co.; Cassini swarming and chorusing again, this time outside an abandoned gas station. Decim B audible to our south, so we investigate.
Crab Orchard Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 2 miles south of Carterville, Williamson Co., IL; Decim B and some decim A is audible. Cassini chorusing distantly to our north and south. Here we collect 29 decim specimens and find our only mating pair of decim on the entire trip. We walk all the way to the lake, where we find cassini swarming, fornicating, and chorusing loudly, most likely disturbing the people fishing, as the insects are flying all around along the shore.
Hwy. 13, Carterville to Carbondale, Williamson and Jackson Counties, IL; Cassini audible intermittently, fading to only chirps as we pass through Carbondale, then chorus reappearing briefly on the other side of town.
Murphysboro, IL; Cicadas faded about 4 miles east of here and have not been heard since. There are none in town, and none in the city park on the Big Muddy River. We continue westward.
Lake Murphysboro State Park, Jackson Co., IL; Cassini and decim B heard faintly, but certainly not enough to record or collect.
Kinkaid Lake (South Side), Jackson Co.; No cicadas seen or heard. Now it's beginning to get too late to hear the decim sing, so we call it a day and head back to Murphysboro. There our motel has an indoor pool and a hot tub, which I take full advantage of.
June 9, 2002: Carterville, IL; We return to our abandoned gas station to collect some of the cassini that are still swarming the trees. The owner of the motel we're staying at wants a picture of some live ones for their newspaper or something. Besides, I want some cassini for myself anyway. We collect about 12 and head back to Murphysboro with them. After showing them off, we head north.
Hwy. 13-127, Murphysboro to Perry County Line; No cicadas heard as we go north, but soon after we turn east just over the Perry Co., line, we begin to hear the cassini again.
Pyramid State Park, Perry Co., IL Cassini present in huge numbers, but not chorusing yet. Decim A and B can be heard singing, so we venture in and begin collecting. We collect 71 specimens and record the chorus. I take some more pictures, then we begin to move south again.
Kinkaid Lake (North Side), Jackson Co., IL Cassini swarming. Their chorus is very loud once again. Both decim are present, but in small numbers. Too few to collect. An approaching thunderstorm hurries us along, and we continue south.
Hwy. 127 south of Murphysboro; Cicadas become audible again just south of town, and continue southward...
Cedar Lake, Jackson Co., IL; Cicadas audible; cassini present and swarming, but not enough decim. We only collect 3 of the latter, which would not be worth the ethanol it would take to preserve them. Decula present and calling. We continue south.
Jonesboro, IL, Union County; Cassini chorusing; decim nearly absent.
Anna, IL; Cassini again very loud. All except for the main business district, this town is infested with them. Decim elusive once again, though. We stop at Sonic to eat, then accidentally find ourselves at the dead end of main street when we should have been on Vienna instead. Oh well, even great map-readers make mistakes once in a while...
Hwys. 51 and 5 south of Anna, Union and Pulaski Counties, IL; Cassini audible almost continuously. We lose them for good near Mounds in southern Alexander County. By the time we reach Poinsett County, AR, where we would pick them up again, it will be dark and they won't be singing.
June 11, 2002: Holland Bottoms W.M.A., Lonoke Co., AR; Cassini and decim B still audible, but fading for sure. I find a few cassini and 1 decula but not a single decim anywhere. Some of the choruses along Kerr Station and Graham Roads are already gone. The Neocicada have become more numerous. I give this area no more than 5 more days to be completely silent of the Magicicada. :-(
June 12, 2002: Hwy. 14, Jackson and Poinsett Co., AR; Cicadas are dying down. They are greatly diminished from a week ago everywhere. In some places they are already gone.
Lake Hogue; I need a decim collection for Simon and company from Arkansas and I figured this would be the place if any. Unfortunately, as I feared the decim are practically gone, but I do find a few fluttering around in some of my more familiar trees from earlier. I only find 1 male, which I steal from a grass spider (the kind that builds the funnel-web). I collect around 15 females which I find by imitating the male call and listening for their wing-flick. Looks like this is the only place in Arkansas I'll even have a fighting chance of getting a collection. As for the cassini, they are greatly diminished, but they can still be found swarming in a few places. And the decula can still be heard chorusing some in their sector of the park. Many tree branches are "flagged" and egg nests are visible in many of the lower branch tips. For all intents and purposes, the Magicicada emergence in Arkansas is over. But Missouri and Illinois may be another story...
June 14, 2002: Jonesboro, AR; Looks like I'll be helping with the mapping phase in Illinois and Missouri. The Neocicada heiroglyphica are singing here at the apartment complex, and the first Tibicen pruinosa are singing tonight as well (See Guide to Annual Cicadas).
June 16, 2002: St. Louis, MO; After picking up Chris Simon at the airport, we head south and begin mapping in eastern Missouri.
Hwy. 61 south of Ste. Genevieve, MO; Cicadas are heard for the first time, all cassini. We try to move westward, but the cicadas fade out within just a few miles of the Mississippi River. As we work our way south toward Cape Girardeau it is very obvious that the cicadas are on their way out. They are heard patchily throughout southern Ste. Genevieve, eastern Perry, and Cape Girardeau Counties, but very spotty and weakened.
Trail of Tears State Park, Cape Girardeau Co., MO; We find enough of a decim population to make a collection, and collect 15 specimens. The population is mostly decim B, but some A are present as well. We head through Cape Girardeau and into Illinois to meet up with the rest of the research team at Giant City State Park.
Giant City State Park, Jackson Co., IL; I clumsily set up my tent in the dark in the light of my car headlights. Naturally, I lose track of the time and unwittingly let the lights drain my car battery. I assure Chris that the battery will charge back up overnight enough to start the car in the morning...
June 17, 2002: Giant City St. Park; I wake up to find three Magicicada on my tent. The decim are already singing, although John, who showed up sometime while I was asleep, said they had been much louder last week. Dead cicadas are everywhere, and the emergence holes are incredibly numerous. We pack up our tents, thinking that we won't be there tonight and we head out with plans to map either side of the river and meet in Pyramid State Park tonight. The car starts, just as promised, and we set off.
Anna, IL??? We stop at a Wal Mart to get supplies. I simply followed John, so I didn't pay good attention to where we were going. Once we leave, though, I soon realize we are not in Anna, which we went through last night and saw a Wal Mart there at a similar intersection. Turns out we took the north exit from Giant City and are now in Carbondale, which explains why the Wal Mart was so much bigger than I though it would be. I've gone east on Hwy. 13 for a few miles before I realize where I'm at. I end up at Crab Orchard Lake, and from there I know exactly where I'm going. The plan is to go back into Missouri and get more mapping data, and a better collection at Trail of Tears State Park...
Cape Girardeau, MO; We finally find a Missouri gazetteer at a Barnes & Noble. I always wanted to see this town anyway...
Trail of Tears State Park; We record the decim chorus (or what's left of it), and collect 43 more adults, making 58 in all. Chris is a lot better at collecting the high ones with the net than I am, and I felt rather inept by the time we left, but simply serving as an extra set of hands and eyes was a role I wasn't terribly dissatisfied with.
Perry Co., MO; We look for choruses to record and cicadas to collect, but have little luck. The Neocicada are singing, and sometimes they overshadow the residual decim calls. The periodical cicadas are just finished. One Tibicen chloromera is heard in Perry County also. We do manage to get a few adults (6) from a church parking lot somewhere south of Perryville, MO. Then we trek back into Illinois.
Pyramid State Park, Perry Co., IL; Upon arriving in the dark, we stop at the park office and get a map. There I find a few cassini fluttering around the light and several dead ones littering the steps of the office. Toward the campground we run into John and Thomas, who emphatically suggest returning to Giant City to camp. We take their word for it and follow them there.
Giant City State Park; Once again I set up in the dark, but this time I use my flashlight. Dying cicadas can be heard tumbling out of the trees all around, along with the distress calls of males who are writhing about on the ground in their final hours.
June 18, 2002: Perry, Cape Girardeau and Bollinger Counties, MO; We zigzag our way south looking for the boundary between Broods XXIII and XIX, and also the shift from tredecim ("B") to neotredecim ("A"). We find a population that appeared to be all A in eastern Bollinger Co. near the edge of Brood XXIII and hypothesize that the B-A shift may roughly coincide with the XIX-XXIII boundary. Satisfied that Missouri is of no further use to us, we head back to Giant City once again.
Anna, IL; Yes, we are actually in Anna, this time. We stop to eat here again. Tibicen pruinosa is audible twice as we drive through town.
Giant City State Park; For the first time all six of us are in one place. Chris, John, Dave, Kathy, Thomas, and myself are all camped here together in preparation to map the rest of southwestern Illinois tomorrow. As we talk, a raccoon gets into Dave's van and steals a bag of bagels. We manage to get the bag away from it, but the bagels are ruined already. The coon runs up a tree, and after a reasonable amount of harassing, we leave the animal alone and go to bed.
June 19, 2002: This would turn out to be the most trying day of the trip as far as cicada hunting goes. I pack up my tent, shaking at least six cassini cicadas from under the canopy as I do so. We divide southwestern Illinois into three sectors to map as thoroughly as possible. Chris and I got the middle sector, which covered parts of Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington Counties. In all areas, we find the cicadas to be on the decline. We run into John and Thomas near Oakdale, in St. Clair Co., and collect a few decim there. Although our sample size is very small, the population appears to be mostly A, and like the other such population in Bollinger County, MO, it is near the boundary between Broods XIX and XXIII. We find this boundary of Brood XXIII in Illinois to run roughly from Ste. Genevieve, MO; north to Prarie du Rocher, IL; northeast along the Kaskaskia River to just northeast of New Athens, then south-southeast to Pinckneyville to just south of Marion; and south to the Ohio River. After a LOT of driving, we all end up at an Applebees in Mount Vernon, IL.
Mount Vernon, IL (Applebee's); We eat, then we all six get our picture taken beside John's SUV, and me beside my Camaro. We then part ways. John and Thomas go back to the west to finish mapping the Kaskaskia, Dave and Kathy go east to Harmonie State Park to wrap up the experiments there, and Chris and I will trek north to the isolated Brood XXIII population around Clinton Lake. We won't make it that far tonight, so we settle to camp at Stephen A. Forbes State Park, which is about 30 miles north of Mt. Vernon.
June 20, 2002: Western DeWitt Co., IL; Along Salt Creek, we run into the Magicicada once more. Criss-crossing western DeWitt County, we find the cicadas to be colonizing only along Salt Creek and a small part of Deer Creek. They are out in greater abundance up here, and the cassini and decim A can be heard in chorus again.
Clinton Lake, DeWitt Co., IL; We map along the lake and find that the cicadas are colonized only within a mile of the lake shore and Salt Creek (which empties into Clinton Lake), and only on the western half of the lake. They disappear east of a north-south line running through the town of DeWitt on the southern side of the lake, and on the north side, they disappear just east of the power plant. Cassini chorusing is quite loud in some areas, among the best I've ever heard. A nice Magicicada finale awaits...
Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton, IL; As we enter the park it is obvious that we are in cicada territory. The cassini are very abundant and very loud here, and what's better, they're the thickest in the campground. The decim A and decula are here as well, and I get some pictures of them, as well as the swarming cicadas on the tree trunks at one of the picnic areas. There are smashed cicadas on the ground all around the bath houses, not to mention in them. They are everywhere!!! Needless to say, I insist that we camp here amongst the cassini, although Chris complains of the smoke from the campfires.
June 21, 2002: Weldon Springs State Park; The decim A have begun chorusing, and we set out to the other side of the park to collect some. Most are fairly easy to collect, feeding on the tree trunks with the cassini. The decula are scarce anywhere you go, though, and I have trouble getting my hands on any. Fortunately Chris finds a few; enough to satisfy her, so I can stop worrying about that. On a strange note, we find some decim A here that are very small, like the cassini. Weird...
Allerton State Park, Piatt Co., IL For lack of anything better to do, we head here to check for Brood XIX stragglers. We don't find any, but there are a LOT of old egg scars from 1998 in many of the trees.
Weldon Springs State Park; Cassini chorusing very loudly in the RV park. I walk through it watching and listening, as I know this will be the last I hear of this favorite species of mine. Everyone is talking about the noise, and a lot of people shriek and/or flail as cicadas land on their shirts, arms, and faces. They're on everything. Tree trunks, walls, power poles, outdoor furniture, EVERYTHING. Chris works on some manuscripts on her computer, and both nights here she shows me some of the slides from her cicada studies in New Zealand, including many of the cicada species that she worked with. Tomorrow we leave for St. Louis, where we will meet John and Thomas and then go our separate ways.
June 22, 2002: Weldon Springs State Park; Once again, I awake to decim A singing. Three cassini have crawled up on my tent, as if to bid me farewell. My tent was the only one that ever seemed to get covered in cicadas in the night. I leave them there, and when I get back from the bath house I find that one of them has flown inside my tent. I send them on their way and pack up. Once in a while a wave of cassini singing erupts from the RV park, then dies away. I reluctantly leave, and we head for St. Louis.
Troy, IL; This is as close as we would get to St. Louis as a group. We stop at Perkins to eat, then I part ways with the research team. Chris has to fly back to Connecticut. John and Thomas are going to map for stragglers in Illinois. And I'm going to meet my family at Buffalo Point, AR, where they've been camped this week. I'll catch the end of the camp out and drive back to Cabot with them tomorrow. It's a good 5 hours from here, and it's noon now, so I have to insist on leaving quickly, even though it means being somewhat brief with the research team in parting ways. :-(
Buffalo Point, AR; Took me forever to get here!! But I finally do, and I show off my collected cicadas and tell about some of the outing. It's time to kick back for a while.
June 23, 2002: Cabot, AR; I collect a female Tibicen pruinosa nymph climbing our ash tree. I bring it in and put it under the trash basket, where it molts.
June 24, 2002: I take the T. pruinosa, now an adult, along with a slightly crippled T. lyricen I found this morning, and photograph them alongside some of my Magicicada specimens remaining from Weldon Springs. It might be the first time live Magicicada and live Tibicen have been photographed together. It's certainly the first time I've ever seen them together. My periodicals would hang on for a few more days, dying off one by one. The annual cicadas have been singing here. So far we've heard the Neocicada as well as the Tibicen pruinosa, chloromera, and linnei. I've found a couple of T. lyricen, but haven't heard its call yet.
June 28, 2002: Cabot, AR A very healthy male T. pruinosa that I collected last night warrants another round of photographs, and his picture is taken alongside my last living Magicicada, a male cassini. Sensing that the latter is weak, I allow him to wander about my left hand until he finally gives up the ghost about an hour and a half later. With one last screech my last Brood XXIII cicada is dead, and I declare the 2002 emergence over.
In closing I would like to thank:
*Chris Simon and John Cooley, for including me in their study of Brood XXIII
*My mom, for accompanying me on the first Illinois trip, offering her car on that trip as well as the DeValls Bluff, AR trip, and never running out of patience with my nearly endless enthusiasm for these insects.
*My roommates in Jonesboro, for also never running out of patience.
*The many people in Illinois and Indiana who allowed me to collect on their property.
*And finally, my poor Camaro for not giving up on me on the second Illinois trip.
That Camaro of mine survived a 2300-mile trip through God's Country, Illinois the week of June 16-22. And that doesn't count all the trips through the backwoods of Arkansas it made back in May. All it did was use a couple quarts of oil. That also excludes the 1400 miles on the first Illinois trip and the 130 miles on the DeValls Bluff trip that were put on my mom's car. Some people say I have a few screws loose, but if I do, I certainly don't make any apologies for it!!
So will it be 13 years before I see the Magicicada again? Well, I'll certainly plan on being around for Brood XIX in 9 years, and with a little luck I may be able to see Broods IX and X, which are 2003 and 2004, respectively. I guess I'm just too impatient to wait out my own brood again. So until next time, happy cicada hunting! =)
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