All about cicadas!

I just visited Washington DC and now obsessed with cicadas. My questions are what rare cicadas could I observe in Delmarva (if any) and how can I observe cicadas when they’re almost always high in a tree?

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The main cicadas available right now are Magicicada, or the Periodical Cicadas.

There are three species out this year: M. septendecim, cassinii, and septendecula.

Decim has red or orange between the eyes and wing bases, and strong red bands on the sternites that extend up the sides of the abdomen.

Cassinii has black between the eyes and wing bases, and the sternites are completely black. However, teneral cassinii has brownish-gray translucent bands on the sternites.

Decula is the rarest, and most in need of studying. This species has orange on the sternites, but not on the rest of the abdomen, and the area between the eyes and wing bases are black. If you find any that look even kind of like this, please upload them.

Edit: They emerge from the ground, of course, so there should be a lot at eye level and below to find. Going out in the evening is best, since that’s when the new waves emerge.


They sadly are 3+ hours away from me.

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If you’re in DC then they should be right there…?


I live in Delmarva and I just got back from a trip to DC.

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Oh, I see. You visited DC, now you’re in Delmarva. Okay.

Edit: posted this before I saw you send your most recent response.


For anyone interested, here’s a map of emergences by brood and year.

Some counties may be missing due to a lack of data when this map was published.



There isn’t a lot of diversity in eastern US cicadas. Besides Magicicada, it’s pretty much only Neotibicen, and none of these are particularly rare.


Hi, I’m joining the conversation to show my observation of a golden cicada that never got identified:
I had no idea cicadas could have that color, it really looked like it was spray painted.


I hope I’m allowed to share this here, but the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences just did a fabulous Lunchtime Lecture on cicadas, especially the Brood X cicadas emerging this year. The lecture gives some great information on how to identify them, how to view them, and how to contribute your observations to citizen science projects (in addition to iNat of course!). It is a great presentation start to finish:

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There’s a bit more diversity in the northeast than that. There are several Okanagana species that can be found around me in upstate NY, for example, one of which is a rare endemic to the Niagara River corridor.

Here’s a great paper on Cicada biogeography:

There may not be any “rare” species where you are (I’m not entirely sure where Delmarva is- Delmarva peninsula?), but there may be a couple dozen species (possibly including many Tibicen, maybe some Okanagana or Neocicada, even Dicerprocta). Seeing them is much more a challenge. Observation and identification of some cicadas can alternatively be done through audio recordings of their songs- some are very distinctive.


Very pretty photo! Thank you for showing it.

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Yes the Delmarva peninsula also thanks!

I suppose it also depends on what you want from your observation. If it is to confirm presence, or actually see what’s going on. As I don’t have a decent zoom lens, the only way I can make observations of birds is by publishing the sound they make. I don’t know if different cicada species make different enough sounds, or if they do, if there are enough people around who know them to help with the ID.

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