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Periodical Cicada (Magicicada septemdecim)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Periodical Cicada.


 Updated: 8/24/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Periodical Cicada  
Picture of Periodical-Cicada
Picture of Periodical-Cicada Picture of Periodical-CicadaPicture of Periodical-Cicada


The 17-year Periodical Cicada is both seen and heard when huge population explosions occur.





The Periodical Cicada is generally more well known in the Midwest as the Seventeen-Year Cicada due to their periodical emergence every thirteen or seventeen years. Cicadas during this time can appear in the hundreds, if not thousands, as mating season commences. These collections - called 'broods' - leave behind many molted, brown, crunchy body exoskeleton shells on window screens, fence posts, tree trunks, plant stems and anywhere else they can stand. The long periods of high-pitched screeching calls are produced by the males in search of female partners. Different species of Cicada produce their own distinct sound. Their life spans as adults is somewhat short, so reproduction is the focus of all their energy once they mature into adults.

Periodical Cicadas are large, chunky insects with bulging eyes on the sides of their heads. They are slow fliers and easy to catch by birds and other flying insects (i.e. wasps). Their abundance in the years their population explodes means an easy feast for their predators. They have no real defense against predators except large numbers - the neighboring cicada may be more appetizing.

Though Cicadas are generally found in forested areas and grasslands, the species can become a common sight (and sound) in neighborhoods during the summer. Folks from the Mississippi River basin to the eastern United States and Canada are pretty familiar with the Periodical Cicada. While they are completely harmless, large numbers of them can become a nuisance to some people, covering cars and driveways, making it 'uncomfortable' to walk outside or drive on the unwitting insects (brings to mind the buggy cave scene in "Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom").

Females will insert eggs into a tree branch or bark and the hatched nymphs eventually make their way down the tree into the ground. They burrow down by the tree's root system. Total maturity time of the nymph is about 13 to 17 years (hence 'periodical'). They eventually resurface after almost 2 decades underground and begin molting its early exoskeleton. There are always a few that develop a year or two before or after the masses, meaning you are likely to see at least a handful in 'off' years.
Basic Information
Common Name: Periodical Cicada
Other Name(s): Cicada; Seventeen-Year Cicada
Scientific Name: Magicicada septemdecim
Category: Cicada and Planthopper


General Identification
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: green; black; silver; red; yellow; gold
Additional Descriptors: flying, harmless, noisy, shell, hammerhead, eyes




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Cicadidae
Genus: Magicicada
Species: septemdecim




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Periodical Cicada may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
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State of New Mexico graphic
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State of North Carolina graphic
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Images Gallery for the Periodical Cicada
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