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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Cicadas in Springfield, Illinois


Mr. Eaton,

I am wondering why I cannot find a picture or image of the cicadas I've seen in my hometown all my life. They haven't sprung this year (so far).

They have the same markings as the images I've seen in my Audubon field guide, but the colorization is wrong. My variety has the green wing edges, but its colors (back) are dark green and black. I will send a photographic image as soon as a Cicada Killer gets one near my house.

Thank you for your time. My 7 year old and I will eagerly await a response.

Matthew & Drake Meyer

904 S. Walnut Street
Springfield, Illinois


I am by no means an expert on cicadas, but at least I can refer you to some websites that can help.

You are definitely describing the "annual" cicadas in the genus Tibicen , so we can narrow it down that far at least.  That said, there is far more diversity than previously thought, certainly more species than I was ever aware of.  Here are some resources:
"Cicada Mania" was originally created in response to an impending emergence of periodical cicadas, but became so popular a website that it has expanded to host information on all cicadas.  It even has a "Tibicen of the Day" feature (see right hand column for link from front page).  Oh, here we go:
This site is still under construction a bit, but offers good information, too.
Generally, websites hosted by universities have more accurate information than most commercial websites (though Cicada Mania is darn good).
Bugguide is your best bet for any mystery bug ID, and the information page they have for Tibicen includes links to many other sites, including ones with sound files.  Identification of annual cicadas often hinges more on the "song" than on the appearance of the insect, so keep that in mind.  Play the sound files and find one that matches.

Hope this helps.  Good luck, and congratulations on being a great father who teaches his children respect and admiration of nature!



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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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