Do Cicadas Prefer Certain Trees?

Do cicadas prefer certain trees over others? When looking around trees in my yard, I find way more cicada shells around my Callery Pear tree than around my Red Maple and Silver Maple, but then I’ve also found none at all around my second Callery Pear.


I just couldn’t wrap my head around trying to explain this so I’ll leave this to @WeeCorbie and @willc-t… Lol.

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i don’t much know about north american cicadas however new zealand cicadas do often prefer to lay their eggs on/feed on certain species of trees over others. however i don’t know why they would prefer a tree of the same species over another. it could be because one has a more developed root system or is larger?

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All the ones I find in my area are in Pinus & Quercus ilex.
But idk if this is the case in other areas with other types of vegetation

Edit: I refer to Cicada Orni

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For my group (Okanagana) there does appear to be some host specificity on what they’ll lay their eggs on, and in some cases they will only use a single species of plant. The host is unknown for the majority of Okanagana species though, and some of the northern taxa such as Okanagana rimosa have been shown to be associated with 5+ species of trees.
Periodical Cicadas (Magicicada) don’t have a preference for tree type that I know of nor do the “Dog-day” cicadas. I don’t think Magicicada use pines, but I could be wrong.
Basically the answer is: it depends of the group/species about whether there is any kind of preference.

In your yard, is there different sun exposures between the two Callery Pear? Cicadas do like to be in the sun when they can, so that might be a bigger aspect of what you are noticing rather than whether or not they’re laying eggs. On that related note, isn’t that ‘pear’ an introduced species?


As for the Magicicada thing, I think it happens occasionally. A park down south of me part of Brood II has had an obs of Magicicada, and a large part of the park is pine. But, I think that means I’ll have to wait until 2030 to be sure, lol. The park also has very sandy soil, so I’m not too sure why there’s a population there lol.

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Yes, definitely. Some do not have clear preferences, but I have never seen the Australian genus Pauropsalta on anything other than Myrtaceae. Ewartia seems to feed only on Acacia.


Magicicada do demonstrate a preference for certain trees - it especially seems to prefer fruit trees. One site that we visited during Brood IX was a grassy area bordering a forest of oak, tulip poplar, hickory, and other nice native trees, and I was quite surprised that, with all these other trees available, the greatest concentration was on a few Callery pears that stood with other trees in a sort of hedgerow that extended out of the woods. There were several young oaks in the hedgerow as well that seemed like they’d make great oviposition sites, but the oaks were quiet while the pears were screaming with cicadas, with mating pairs and ovipositing females present.

When the density of Magicicada reaches its peak, crowding and competition for oviposition sites will drive them to oviposit in less desirable trees. Studies of hatch rates have shown that mortality is higher in pines, but it’s not uncommon to find plenty Magicicada in pines during a heavy emergence, and they’ll oviposit there if other trees aren’t availalble. I’ve also seen (apparently desperate) cicadas oviposit in yucca stems, honeysuckle, and other unsuitable sites.


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