Send Us Your Dead Cicadas!

2014 BroodsPeriodical cicadas are emerging in several locations throughout the South and Midwest this summer:

Louisiana, Mississippi

Ohio, Kentucky

Iowa, Illinois


Prior to their late-spring emergence as red-eyed, orange-winged adults, periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) spend 13 or 17 years underground, tapped into tree roots. That’s a long time to be exposed to pesticides, heat and other stressors associated with the urban environment.

Last year, we launched Urban Buzz, a citizen science project, to document the effects of urbanization on periodical cicadas. Specifically, we’re looking at how urban stress affects cicada development and symmetry of their body parts – their legs, their wings, and their noisemaking organs (called tymbals). We predict that cicadas experiencing greater stress during development will have greater differences between parts on the left and right sides of their bodies; in other words, more stressed cicadas will be more crooked. We call this ‘crookedness’ fluctuating asymmetry.

How does it work?

Participants collect and send us 5-10 dead, adult 13- or 17-year cicadas (in good body condition!) from locations within the emergence range and complete an online data form.

We’re psyched to include the 2014 broods in our study as these will be the first 13-year cicadas collected (Looking at you Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky!) and will represent populations in more rural areas (Hello, Iowa and Illinois!). To test our hypotheses, we need samples from forests, cities, suburbs and farmlands – in other words, across a gradient from low to high urbanization.

Click here for specific collection and mailing instructions and our data form.

And while you’re out and about on your scientific cicada safaris, please do consider participating in these other cicada citizen science projects:


By |2016-11-22T13:47:05-05:00May 29th, 2014|

About the Author:

Holly Menninger
As Director of Public Science, Holly coordinates our empire of citizen science projects and manages the online science communication here at Your Wild Life. An entomologist by training, she’s a science communicator by passion and practice.

One Comment

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    Tom Miller August 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    I just found a dead cicada in the front yard. I’m in West Central Georgia, Temple. I took photos and have the dried carcass if you are interested.

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