Batches of cicadas, those giant, singing insects that emerge in a massive swarm every 17 years, have begun to poke their heads out of the earth ... Similar early risers have been detected all along the Eastern Seaboard ... Some of the obnoxiously loud insects have been seen, and heard, in Wolfe's Pond Park in Huguenot and in Great Kills backyards in recent weeks.I wrote last year about Magicicada, the genus of periodical cicadas, last year, in anticipation of the emergence of Brood XIV in Brooklyn. Alas, they never showed up; they seem to have been extirpated in Brooklyn, historically part of their range.
- Cicadas are out, loud and early, Phil Helsel, Staten Island Advance, 2009-06-04
In any given area, adult periodical cicadas emerge only once every 13 or 17 years, they are consistent in their life cycles, and populations (or "broods") in different regions are not synchronized. Currently there are 7 recognized species, 12 distinct 17-year broods, and 3 distinct 13-year broods, along with 2 known extinct broods, found east of the Great Plains and south of the Great Lakes, to the Florida Panhandle.The next brood in the NYC area was Brood II, a 17-year brood, expected in 2013. But it has emerged four years early, in 2009.
- Magicicada Mapping Project
Some periodical cicadas belonging to Brood II are emerging in several states along the east coast. ... The extent of this year’s acceleration is not known, but could occur anywhere in the Brood II distribution ...Off-year emergence, whether it precedes or follows the expected year, is called "straggling":
- Cicadas, College of Mount St. Joseph
The exact causes, or even the prevalence, of straggling is not well understood. Straggler records have long confounded attempts to make accurate maps of Magicicada broods, which is one of the reasons the Magicicada mapping project exists. Among 17-year cicadas, straggling seems particularly common 1 or 4 years before or after an expected emergence (e.g., cicadas emerging in 13, 16, 18, and 21 years), although stragglers with other life cycle lengths have also been found. Straggling has been detected in all seven Magicicada species.The historical range of Brood II does not, unfortunately, include Brooklyn.
- Stragglers, Magicicada Mapping Project
Similar early risers have been detected all along the Eastern Seaboard, and an Ohio researcher who has studied the bugs for 35 years is sure warmer winters are to blame.[bit.ly]
"This is the fifth brood where part of it is coming out early," said Gene Kritsky, an entomologist and professor at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. "When you have a phenomenon that is that widespread, the most likely candidate is some kind of climate-driven response." ...
Parts of broods coming out four years too early is a phenomenon first documented in 1969 in Chicago, but prior documents suggest it may have occurred earlier. The last time Brood II came out in full force was in 1996, and most of that brood still will burrow out of their underground homes on time in 2013.
Kritsky, who has studied cicadas for 35 years and expects his most recent findings to be published this month in Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, said the fluid disruption caused by warm winters affects cicadas only during their first five years of life, and it always results in emerging four years too early.
- Cicadas are out, loud and early
Related Content(Magi)Cicada Watch, 2008-05-21
LinksCicadas are out, loud and early, Phil Helsel, Staten Island Advance, 2009-06-04
Cicadas Appear Four Years Early, Joe MY God, 2009-06-04
Brood II, Magicicada Mapping Project
Brood XIV, Massachusetts Cicadas
Cicada Central, University of Connecticut
Cicada Web Site, College of Mount St. Joseph, Cincinnati, OH
Mathematicians explore cicada's mysterious link with primes, Michael Stroh, Baltimore Sun, May 10, 2004