Cicadas of the United States and Canada

East of the 100th Meridian


 



** RECORDINGS AND IMAGES MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED ELSEWHERE.  SEE THE COPYRIGHT SECTION **


 

This website provides song recordings of the cicadas of the eastern United States and Canada, approximately 60 described species and subspecies (Family Cicadidae).  Cicada songs are loud and complex, and they are made by males to attract females for mating.  These sounds are nearly always species-specific, and they provide the most reliable means of identifying most species.  We have chosen the 100th meridian, which runs north-south through the western parts of the Great Plains states, as a cutoff between eastern and western states since it approximates the region where divergent eastern and western faunas meet.  Approximately 110 additional cicada species are found only in the western states, mainly in the genera Platypedia and Okanagana – song recordings of 30 of these species, mainly from the southwestern US, are included on the Western Cicada Species page.

Eventually, photographs of the species will be included, along with general distribution maps.  For now, the site emphasizes the song data – the map and photo links do not yet work.  In addition, detailed information on collecting localities for each of the species is available using the online database at Cicada Central.  General information on cicada ecology and behavior is readily available through the many cicada-related websites mentioned at the end of this page.

For now, the sounds are provided in MP3 format. If you have problems, try a different web browser first.  Apple seems to have broken MP3 functionality in OS X 10.6 and consequently the files may not play consistently in new versions of Safari.  The files do play in Windows Media Player.

The species are listed below by subfamily and then by genus.  We began with Tibicen because they're our favorites!  Author and date information are given for all taxonomic units.  Eventually these references will be included in a Literature Cited page here, but for now they can be found at the comprehensive Bibliography of the Cicadoidea website.

 



A NOTE ON CLASSIFICATION

The higher classification used here follows Moulds (2005: Records of the Australian Museum, Vol. 57: 375–446), who recently re-organized the Cicadidae into three subfamilies and changed the tribe assignments of many genera.

A NOTE ON NOMENCLATURE

Genera and species names are Latinized and so the words have genders (masculine, neuter or feminine, as in all Romance Languages).  By the rules of nomenclature, the gender of the genus and species must agree in certain cases.  Thus, the ending of a species epithet (the second part of a species' name) can shift gender when species are moved between genera.  So if you don't see the name you're looking for, (e.g., Tibicen pruinosa, species epithet feminine), look for an alternative ending (pruinosus, which agrees with the masculine Tibicen).  Similarly, a species may be located under a different genus name than expected – Melampsalta calliope, for example, is currently Cicadetta calliope.  We have included widely-recognized older names when possible so searching on them within the page may be useful.

A CALL FOR DISTRIBUTION INFORMATION

One purpose of this website is to increase awareness of the different species and their approximate distributions in order to generate new data. We are interested to hear about significant range extensions as long as they are backed up with a well-documented specimen (with accurate locality, date, and collector information) or recording.  Even a cell-phone recording of a cicada can be sufficient to identify a species.  Again, detailed information on collecting localities for each of the species is available using the online database at Cicada Central.

 



SUBFAMILY CICADINAE Latreille, 1802

Cicadas of the subfamily Cicadinae tend toward large size and loud, complex songs, often with complex frequency harmonics.  Some species, such as many from the genus Tibicen, sing distinct song phrases, while other species (especially in Diceroprocta) sing monotonous, continuous songs.  Pair-formation is variable, with males almost entirely stationary in some species (especially Diceroprocta, Beameria) and highly mobile (alternating song bouts with flight) in others.

 

Genus Tibicen Latreille, 1829

  • Tibicen contains most of the larger, louder North American cicada species, which are commonly referred to as the "Dog Day Cicadas".  All are large-bodied with green or orange, brown, and black coloration.  The eastern species of Tibicen emerge mainly during mid-to-late summer, while most western species appear in the spring.  Most have long song phrases, although some have continuous songs, and most prefer deciduous forest trees although a significant minority specialize on southern conifers.  Additional species are known from Mexico, Central America, Europe and Asia.


SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Tibicen auletes

(Germar, 1834)

 

SONG

  • Perhaps the largest North American cicada species.
  • Grating slow-pulsed song.
  • Calls from high in large trees.
  • Song similar to T. resh and T. resonans.

Tibicen auriferus

(Say, 1825)

SONG

  • Song similar to that of T. canicularis and T. davisi.
  • Calls from short to medium-high prairie vegetation.

Tibicen canicularis

(Harris, 1841)

SONG

  • Song similar to, but less resonant than, that of T. auriferus and T. davisi.
  • Often calls from conifers.

Tibicen davisi davisi

(Smith and Grosbeck,

1907)

SONG

  • Song similar to T. auriferus but more resonant than T. canicularis.
  • Often calls from southern conifers.

Tibicen davisi harnedi

Davis, 1918

SONG

  • No song difference known from T. davisi davisi?
  • This recording made at a site where subsp. harnedi was captured.

Tibicen dealbatus

(Davis, 1915)

SONG

  • Song identical to T. pronotalis.
  • Calls from cottonwoods and willows, usually along streams and rivers.

Tibicen dorsatus

(Say, 1825)

SONG

  • Song and morphology similar to T. tremulus.
  • Calls from short prairie vegetation.

Tibicen figuratus

(Walker, 1858)

SONG

  • Male sings a short phrase with long silent periods.
  • Prefers southern conifers.
  • Wings very narrow.

Tibicen latifasciatus

(Davis, 1915)

SONG

  • Commonly found in Atlantic coast junipers, also in FL.
  • Song nearly identical to T. winnemanna and T. pruinosus.
  • Prominent lateral white abdominal stripes (1 in males, 2 in females).
  • Does not sing much at dusk.

Tibicen linnei

(Smith and Grosbeck, 1907)

SONG

  • Sings from high in deciduous trees.
  • Song is occasionally confused with that of T. tibicen.
  • Specimens are easily confused with T. canicularis, T. pruinosus, T. winnemanna and T. robinsonianus.

Tibicen lyricen lyricen

(De Geer, 1773)

SONG

  • Song is a syrupy, constant drone, ca. 1/2 to 1 min.
  • Calls from high in deciduous trees.
  • Pronotal collar is black, dorsal thorax colouration varies from mostly black to having substantial green markings.

Tibicen lyricen virescens

Davis, 1935

SONG

  • Song is a syrupy drone, ca. 1/2 to 1 min.
  • Calls from high in deciduous trees.
  • Pronotal collar is black, dorsal thorax colour beautifully patterned with large patches of blueish green.

Tibicen pronotalis pronotalis

Davis, 1938

SONG

  • Song identical to T. dealbatus.
  • Calls from cottonwoods and willows, usually growing along streams and rivers.
  • Most individuals have black pronotal blotch.

Tibicen pronotalis walkeri

Metcalf, 1955

SONG

  • Song identical to T. dealbatus.
  • Calls from cottonwoods and willows, usually growing along streams and rivers.
  • Most individuals lack black pronotal blotch.

Tibicen pruinosus

(Say, 1925)

SONG

  • Calls from high in deciduous trees, "wee-ooo, wee-ooo".
  • Song nearly identical to T. winnemanna and T. latifasciatus.
  • Loves to call at dusk.

Tibicen resh

(Haldeman, 1852)

SONG

  • Calls from high in trees.
  • Song similar to T. auletes and T. resonans.

Tibicen resonans

(Walker, 1850)

SONG

  • Calls from high in southern pine trees.
  • Similar in morphology to T. figuratus but larger and wings wider.
  • Song similar to T. resh and T. auletes.

Tibicen robinsonianus

Davis, 1922

SONG

  • Green pronotal collar with faint dark median stripe.
  • Sings high in deciduous trees or junipers.
  • Unusual song with separated raspy echemes.

Tibicen similaris

(Smith and Grosbeck, 1907)

SONG

  • Distinctive, clacky song with sudden acceleration.
  • Calls from high in deciduous and coniferous trees.

Tibicen superbus

(Fitch, 1855)

SONG

  • Distinctive sputtering song phrases.
  • Bright green with a black mask across the eyes.
  • Calls from deciduous trees, not too high.

Tibicen texanus

Metcalf, 1963

(=T. tigrinus Davis, 1927)

SONG

  • Song similar to T. davisi, T. canicularis and T. auriferus but continues for long periods.
  • Calls from medium height in trees in Texas.

Tibicen tibicen australis

(Davis, 1912)

SONG

  • Bright green mesothorax colouration.
  • Green pronotal collar.
  • Call from medium height in trees.

Tibicen tibicen tibicen

(Linnaeus, 1758)

(= Thopha chloromera

Walker, 1850)

SONG

  • Mesothorax black or with faint green/brown markings.
  • Black pronotal collar.
  • Most commonly encountered Tibicen, partly because it often sings from lower branches of deciduous trees.
  • Until recently referred to as Tibicen chloromera.

Tibicen tremulus

Cole, 2008

SONG

  • Song and morphology similar to T. dorsatus.
  • Calls from short prairie vegetation.

Tibicen winnemanna

(Davis, 1912)

SONG

  • Calls from high in deciduous trees, "wee-ooo, wee-ooo".
  • Song nearly identical to T. pruinosus and T. latifasciatus.
  • Loves to call at dusk.

 


Genus Diceroprocta Stål, 1870

  •  Diceroprocta species are generally medium-to-small in size, with a range of colors possible.  Most species produce long, comparatively monotonous "buzzy" songs.  Diceroprocta tend to emerge in early summer, and they are often found in soils associated with river floodplains or sandhills.  Many additional species are found in Mexico and Central America.

 

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Diceroprocta aurantiaca

Davis, 1938

SONG

  • Just approaches the 100th meridian from the west in south Texas.
  • Originally descibed as a subspecies of D. delicata.
  • Song is usually a continuous buzz, recorded male may be courting.

Diceroprocta averyi

Davis, 1941

SONG

  • Found in far southern Texas.
  • Morphologically similar to D. texana, but with wings not infuscated.
  • Song is a continuous rattly buzz.

Diceroprocta azteca

(Kirkaldy, 1881)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous train of rapid pulses.
  • Bright shiny green cicada.

Diceroprocta bequaerti

(Davis, 1917)

SONG

  • Larger than D. vitripennis, with a much wider head.
  • This recording was taken from near the Neuces River, within the published distribution in central southern Texas. Songs from another site where we collected a confirmed D. bequaerti male were very similar.

Diceroprocta biconica

(Walker, 1850)

SONG

  • These cicadas sang only once every hour during the day!
  • We have not observed them at dusk.
  • Song is a loud buzz, call from quite high in trees.
  • Found only in far southern Florida.

Diceroprocta cinctifera

(Uhler, 1892)

SONG
  • May extend just east of the 100th meridian.
  • Song and morphology is similar to D. apache and D. semicincta (two western species).

Diceroprocta delicata

(Osborn, 1906)

SONG

  • Several meadow katydids are also singing in this recording.
  • Song is usually a continuous buzz.

Diceroprocta eugraphica

(Davis, 1916)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous buzz, usually ending with several ticks.
  • Calls from low on herbs and small shrubs.

Diceroprocta olympusa

(Walker, 1850)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous buzz.
  • Calls from medium height in trees, but when common can sometimes be found in grasses and small shrubs.
  • Observed ovipositing in fence posts and palm tree bark.

Diceroprocta marevagans

Davis, 1928

SONG

  • Song is a harsh continuous buzz, ending with several ticks.

Diceroprocta texana texana

(Davis, 1916)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous train of medium-speed pulses.

Diceroprocta viridifascia

(Walker, 1850)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous train of medium-speed to rapid pulses.
  • Calls from trees and shrubs, often conifers, near beaches.

Diceroprocta vitripennis

(Say, 1830)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous train of rapid pulses.
  • Calls from high in deciduous trees.

 


 

Genus Neocicada Kato, 1932

  • Neocicada belongs to the tribe Cicadini, which is otherwise mainly found in southeast Asia, with relatives in Europe as well.  Three of the five Neocicada species/subspecies are found in the U.S, but one is limited to western Texas.

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Neocicada hieroglyphica hieroglyphica

(Say, 1830)

SONG

  • Abdomen translucent.
  • Slightly more darkly patterned than N. h. johannis.
  • Calls from high in trees.

Neocicada hieroglyphica johannis

(Walker, 1850)

POSSIBLE

SONG

  •  This recording is from within the published range of N. hieroglyphica johannis (near Ocala, FL).  There may be no consistent differences in song between the subspecies.

 

 

Genus Pacarina Distant, 1905


  • Pacarina belongs to the tribe Fidicinini. There is only one described species of Pacarina in the USA, and other species in Central America.

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Pacarina puella

Davis, 1923

(= "Cicada signifera" Walker 1858)

SONG

  • Song is a train of very rapid, high-pitched pulses.
  • Commonly on mesquite or juniper.
  • Eyes widely set with black mask.
  • This is one of the smallest eastern cicadas.

 


Genus Beameria Davis, 1934


  • Beameria belongs to the tribe Fidicinini. These are very small cicadas with high pitched songs that sing low to the ground.

 

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Beameria venosa

(Uhler, 1888)

SONG

  • Song is a very high pitched continuous buzz.
  • Calls from very low in grasses and herbs.
  • This is one of the smallest eastern cicadas.

 

 

Genus Quesada Distant, 1905

  • Quesada is a mainly tropical genus in the tribe Hyantiini. The most common species, Q. gigas, ranges from southern Texas all the way south to northern Argentina.

 

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Quesada gigas

(Olivier, 1790)

SONG

  • A very large cicada, nearly as large as Tibicen auletes.
  • Song has been likened to a locomotive whistle.
  • Calls sporadically during the day and vigorously at dusk.
  • External website on this species.


 


 

SUBFAMILY TETTIGADINAE Distant, 1905

The subfamily Tettigadinae is well-represented in North America, with seven genera together containing the lion's share of our cicada species.  Only a small fraction of these species reach the eastern region and all belong to the genus Okanagana.  Some Tettigadinae species in the Western states (in the genera Platypedia and Neoplatypedia) have lost their timbals and communicate entirely by wing-banging.


Genus Okanagana Distant, 1905

  • Songs of these species are generally monotonous, and males sing for long periods from one site. Many prefer to sing from pines or other conifers. Most species are active in spring or early summer. Some northern species have very large distributions reaching across the continent. Most species are black with orange, red or yellow markings, but a few have green colouration.

 

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Okanagana balli

Davis 1919

SONG

  • Song clip provided by John Cooley.
  • Similar to but smaller than O. rimosa and O. canadensis.

Okanagana canadensis

(Provancher, 1889)

SONG

  • Song is a train of high-pitched pulses.
  • Call from high in northern conifers.

Okanagana hesperia

(Uhler, 1876)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous sharp buzz.
  • Call from short prairie vegetation.

Okanagana noveboracensis

(Emmons 1854)

 
  • We have not yet collected this species.
  • Morphology very similar to O. rimosa and O. canadensis.

Okanagana rimosa ohioensis

Davis, 1942

 
  • We have not yet collected this subspecies.
  • Morphology very similar to O. r. rimosa, but larger.

Okanagana rimosa rimosa

(Say, 1830)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous whining buzz.
  • Morphology very similar to O. canadensis, but with red rather than yellow.

Okanagana synodica

(Say, 1825)

SONG

  • Smallest eastern Okanagana with two distinct color forms.
  • Song consists of irregularly produced buzzes.

Okanagana viridis

Davis, 1918

SONG

  • A bright green, glossy cicada.
  • Song is a continuous, thin buzz lasting around 30 seconds.
  • Calls from very high in deciduous trees.
  • Found in rare lowland forest patches of south-central states.

 



 

SUBFAMILY CICADETTINAE Buckton, 1809

All North American cicadas of the subfamily Cicadettinae are medium-sized to small, and all possess a pair-forming system in which males alternate short song bouts with short flights.  Songs are often high-pitched and contain broad-spectrum, "clicky" or "buzzy" sound.

 

Genus Cicadetta Kolenati, 1857

  • These small, overlooked cicadas are the few American representatives of the largest cicada tribe, the Cicadettini, which contains many hundreds of species.  Most are found in Australasia, with other centers in South Africa and southern Europe.  Their songs are usually high pitched and difficult to hear, and they have a duetting mode of pair-formation in which the female responds to the male's song with a timed wing-flick that attracts him for mating. Frequency-downshifted versions of some of the songs are provided below which roughly maintain the song pattern.  Most of these species have been discussed at one time or another under the genus Melampsalta.

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

PHOTOS NOT READY YET MAPS NOT READY YET COMMENTS

Cicadetta calliope calliope

(Walker, 1850)

SONG

LOW-PITCH VERSION

  • Song is very high-pitched short echemes followed by longer ones.
  • Calls mainly from grasses.

Cicadetta calliope floridensis

(Davis, 1920)

SONG

LOW-PITCH VERSION

  • Song is high-pitched sets of clicks.
  • Calls mainly at late dusk.
  • Calls from low scrubby vegetation.

Cicadetta camerona

(Davis, 1920)

SONG

  • Song is a fast train of sharp, resonant pulses.
  • Calls from shrubs and grasses.
  • Only in far south Texas.

Cicadetta kansa

(Davis, 1919)

SONG

  • Song is a slow train of short "peeps".
  • Produces a long buzz during flight.
  • Song is the same as C. texana.
  • Calls from grasses.

Cicadetta texana

(Davis, 1936)

SONG

  •  Recording is slightly overloaded which decreases the apparent pitch.  Buzz toward the end occurred during a flight to a new perch.
  • Song is the same as C. kansa.
  • Calls from grasses.

 

 

Genus Magicicada Davis, 1925

  • Magicicada contains the seven "periodical cicada" species, famous for their synchronous emergences of millions of adults once every 13 or 17 years, depending on species.  In all species females reply to males with timed wing-flick signals, so males can be easily attracted and induced to produce courtship behavior with well-timed finger-snaps.
  • The links below connect to the Periodical Cicada section of Cicada Central at the University of Connecticut, which also contains recordings of the unique courtship songs of these species, photographs, and extensive life-history and distributional information.
  • There are three species groups identifiable by the ending of the species epithet (-decim, -cassini, -decula).  Each species group contains cicadas with very similar songs and morphology, but usually with different life-cycles.  Species of the same life-cycle length are commonly sympatric and synchronic, emerging in the same 13th or 17th year.  However, communities in different regions of the country are out of phase, creating 13- and 17-year "broods".  The distributions of these broods are mapped in detail at the Cicada Central site.


** Please report observations on Magicicada emergences to www.magicicada.org, maintained by John Cooley (The Ohio State University). **

 

SPECIES

SONG

(MP3 - CLICK LINK)

COMMENTS

Magicicada cassini

(Fisher, 1851)

EXTERNAL LINK

  •  17-year species.

Magicicada neotredecim

Marshall and Cooley 2000

SONG

  • 13-year species.

Magicicada septendecim

(Linnaeus, 1758)

EXTERNAL LINK

  • 17-year species.

Magicicada septendecula

Alexander and Moore, 1962

EXTERNAL LINK

  • 17-year species.

Magicicada tredecassini

Alexander and Moore, 1962

EXTERNAL LINK

  • 13-year species.

Magicicada tredecim

(Walsh and Riley, 1868)

SONG

  • 13-year species.

Magicicada tredecula

Alexander and Moore, 1962

EXTERNAL LINK

  • 13-year species.

 


 

Methods Notes

The recordings on this page were made by the authors using a variety of digital audio recorders (e.g., SONY TCD-D8 DAT, Marantz PMD 660, 670, or 680 compact flash models) sampling at either 44.1 or 48 kHz.  Microphones used were Sennheiser ME62 omnidirectional microphones installed in SONY PBR-330 parabolic reflectors, or similar-quality Sennheiser short- and long-gun shotgun mikes with no parabola.  (Note that parabolic reflectors introduce small "pre-click" artifacts because sound waves are recorded twice, once weakly as they arrive and then again after reflection, but these are noticeable only during very fine-scale analysis.)  Files were processed (e.g., filtering) using Canary or RavenPro v1.4 software (Cornell Bioacoustics) on Macintosh G3, G4 and intel computers, and the 128 Mbps, constant-bitrate MP3 files were generated using open-source Audacity 1.3.12-beta software.

These examples have been selected because they represent the typical song behavior as well as possible given what we have in our archives.

Most of the recordings have been filtered to remove sound below around 4 kHz, where most automobile, wind, and other environmental noise is found.  In a few cases frequencies higher than those of the target cicada have been removed, for example when a loud katydid overlapped the song of the target.  Some of the recordings have a "tinny" feel as a result of this filtering.

Many of the sound files have also been modified with "fade in" and "fade out" effects, especially when the song of the cicada is not structured into distinct phrases.

 


 

Other Websites on North American Cicadas and Singing Insects


Cicadamania – the oldest and best-known general website for cicada enthusiasts.

Songs of Insects – a companion website for a book of the same name, contains an online identification guide for songs.

New Zealand Cicadas: A Virtual Identification Guide – comprehensive information on the New Zealand species.

Cicadas of Central-Eastern Australia – an extensive website on Australian cicadas, with songs, photos, maps, and natural history.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – general cicada identification plus information on cicada morphology, ecology, and evolution.
Cicadas of Massachusetts – extensive site on New England cicadas, collecting techniques, etc.
Cicadas.info – focuses on cicadas of the mid-Atlantic states.

Cicadasong.eu – songs and other content on European cicadas.
Japanese Cicadidae Homepage – includes a database form for accessing songs of Japanese and Korean cicadas.
S.E. Asian Cicada Songs – from the Slovenian Museum of Natural History.
Cicada Songs from Borneo – with sonagrams and some phenological data.
Checklist of South African Cicadas – from the Villet Lab, Rhodes University.
Magicicada.org – established to solicit and organize distribution records for periodical cicada broods from the public.
Cicadas of Michigan – focuses on Michigan cicadas with songs and identification keys.
University of Michigan Periodical Cicada Site – comprehensive site on periodical cicadas; better brood maps now found on Cicada Central.
BugGuide.net – a general insect identification site with many cicada photos; some photo IDs may not be correct.

Singing Insects of North America – an extensive general resource with songs, maps, and keys. Cicada section under development.

Cicada Central – established as a clearinghouse for research on world Cicadidae.

Bibliography of the Cicadoidea – a web database of scientific publications on cicadas.

 


 

Copyright Information

The sound and image files linked on this site are for personal, not-for-profit viewing and listening only and must not be duplicated, sold, or reproduced elsewhere without written permission from David Marshall [cicada "at" insectsingers.com]; Nonetheless, we're usually happy to oblige requests for educational purposes and limited use in other projects.

 


 

Credits and Acknowledgments


Website constructed by David C. Marshall and Kathy Hill, researchers at the University of Connecticut in the lab of Chris Simon.  This research has benefited from substantial synergistic support under NSF grants DEB 04-22386, DEB 05-29679, and DEB 07-20664 to Chris Simon and from discussions with many cicada enthusiasts and collaborators.

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