Friday, May 12, 2017

Ijams Cicada news got bigger

Ijams Education Director Jen Roder examines the specimens collected 
in May 2004

It's a male, but is it M. cassini
or M. septendecula?
Our Big Bug news just got bigger. It got national. But the mystery deepens.

You do not want to miss this program. We are scrambling to pull it together. Because it's late, call me to register. The national cicada people are going to fly here next week to help us figure out what's going on at Ijams.

The 17-year cicadas that are climbing out of the ground are four years early. They are not due until 2021. Jen located the handful I collected in May 2004 and discovered that 13 years ago we had two different species emerging at the same time. News to me.

"In 2004, there was definitely Magicicada septendecium. It's the big one. The little one is either Magicicada cassini
or Magicicada septendecula. I'm leaning toward cassini, but it's hard to tell. The two species are significantly smaller," writes Jen. Their call is the defining identifier and the 2004 specimens are mute.

So what is happening at Ijams now, four years early? Is it one species or two like in 2004? So far it is mostly males emerging. Jen has heard one calling, by Sunday there should be a lot more out and calling.

Sign up for our Cicada-ology Pop-up Program and learn all about our annual cicadas and these 17 year ones in particular. After a short indoor program we will go on a great cicada hunt.

(865) 577-4717, ext. 119

Call and leave me a voicemail. Leave your name and the number of people with you. You can pay (Members $5, non-members $8) at the Ijams front desk on Sunday afternoon. Be a part of the cicada fun!

Help us solve the mystery. This is nature nerd cool stuff.

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