BugFinder Insects by State Spiders Butterflies & Moths Bees, Ants, & Wasps Beetles All Bugs Videos (YouTube)

Periodical Cicada (Magicicada septemdecim)

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

Loading SVG image placeholder
Image Credit: the United States Department of Agriculture
Full-sized image of the Periodical-Cicada Thumbnail image of the Periodical-Cicada
Image Credit: Image copyright www.InsectIdentification.org; No Reproduction Permitted
Full-sized image #2 of the Periodical-Cicada Thumbnail image #2 of the Periodical-Cicada
Image Credit: Engin T.
Full-sized image #3 of the Periodical-Cicada Thumbnail image #3 of the Periodical-Cicada

The 17-year Periodical Cicada is both seen and heard every cycle of massive population explosion.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 exoskeleton body shells on window screens, fence posts, tree trunks, plant stems, and anywhere else they can stand. Long pulses of high-pitched screeching calls are produced by the males in search of female partners. Different species of cicada produce their own distinct sound. The adult life span is somewhat short, so reproduction is the main focus of all their energy once cicadas 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 like wasps. Their abundance in the years that their population explodes means an easy feast for all of their predators. They have no personal defense against a predator save being one of 1,000s - a neighboring cicada may be more appetizing and convenient to catch.

Though cicadas are generally found in forested areas and grasslands, the species can become a common sight (and sound) in residential 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 crunchy insects (brings to mind the buggy cave scene in "Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom").

Females insert eggs into a tree branch or bark and the hatched nymphs eventually make their way down the tree into the ground. They burrow underground near 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 beneath the surface and begin molting its early exoskeleton. There are always a few that develop a year or two before or after the masses, so it is possible to see at least a handful in 'off' years.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Periodical-Cicada

tree sap; tree roots
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.InsectIdentification.org. It is the product of hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, educators, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at InsectIdentification AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmless insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Cicadidae
View More
          Genus: Magicicada
View More
            Species: septemdecim

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Magicicada septemdecim
Other Name(s): Cicada; Seventeen-Year Cicada
Category: Cicada and Planthopper
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 50mm (0.78" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; black; silver; red; yellow; gold
Descriptors: flying; harmless; noisy; shell; hammerhead; eyes

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 35mm
Hi: 50mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above 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 is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects 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. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Periodical Cicada. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Sitemap
Beetle Identification Butterfly Identification Caterpillar Identification Spider ID Fungal Infections on Insects Nursery Web Spider Official State Insects Termite Basics Insect Molting Process Bugs of Tennessee House Centipede

2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • Content ©2006-2024 InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved. The InsectIdentification.org logo, its written content, and watermarked photographs/imagery are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and is protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (regarding bites, etc...).Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. By submitting images to us (InsectIdentification.org) you acknowledge that you have read and understood our Site Disclaimer as it pertains to "User-Submitted Content". Images in JPG format are preferred with a minimum horizontal dimension of 1000px if possible. When emailing please include your location and the general estimated size of the specimen in question if possible. Please direct all inquiries and comments to insectidentification AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

©2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2006-2024 (18yrs)