Key to the cicadas of Michigan
Adapted from Alexander, R. D., A. E. Pace and D. Otte. 1972. The singing insects of Michigan. Great Lakes Entomol. 5:33-69. Adapted with permission of the Michigan Entomological Society.
Return to index of UMMZ cicada pages
< SPECIMEN KEY > < SONG KEY >
IDENTIFYING CICADA SPECIMENS CHIEFLY BY APPEARANCE
1. Wing veins reddish; body black and reddish; tymbals (dark-ribbed convex sound producing organs on sides of abdomen) of males exposed (Fig. 5).
Go to 2
1'. Wing veins and body greenish or brown and black; tymbals of male covered.
Go to 4
2 (from 1). Pronotum, viewed from above, all black except for lateral margins; eyes reddish.
2'. Pronotum, viewed from above, usually with some pale yellowish to reddish marking, especially along rear border; eyes dark, not reddish.
Go to 3
3 (from 2'). UP only (and along Au Sable River in LP); male with 10-11 tymbal ribs; dorsal thoracic coloration and wing veins yellowish (Fig 6).
3'. UP and LP; male with 7-8 (rarely 9) tymbal ribs; dorsal thoracic coloration and wing veins reddish (Fig 7).
4 (from 1'). Length 33-38 mm (including wings); first cross-vein in forewing originating 1/3-1/2 of the way out on first marginal cell; known only from Berrien County (in extreme southwestern MI).
4'. Length 37-72mm (including wings); first crossvein in forewing originating about 1/4 of the way out on first marginal cell; not restricted to Berrien County.
Go to 5
5 (from 4'). Wing length over 45 mm; pronotal collar brown; abdomen more or less unicolorous beneath, often pruinose (covered with a grayish pubescence).
5'. Wing length under 45 mm; pronotal collar black, brown, or green; abdomen beneath with or without a dark midline.
Go to 6
6 (from 5'). Pronotal collar partly to entirely black.
Go to 7
6'. Pronotal collar brown or green.
Go to 8
7 (from 6). Abdomen beneath with midline only slightly darker than rest, sometimes only at base of each sternite; pronotal shoulder patches large, solid green; mesonotum largely black.
Tibicen tibicen (= T. chloromera/chloromerus)
7'. Abdomen beneath with a broad, shining black stripe down midline; shoulders and pronotum largely black or mesonotum heavily patterned with green or brown.
8 (from 6'). Wing length usually over 38 mm.
Go to 9
8'. Wing length usually under 38 mm.
9 (from 8). Costal margin of forewing decidedly more bent near its center than elsewhere, so that, if M+R is projected by holding a ruler over it, it crosses SC before it coalesces with C near the tip of the wing (Fig. 8); ventral abdominal stripe solid and shining black; very little pruinosity visible from above on abdomen. Common in Michigan.
9'. Costal margin of forewing only slightly curved, and forming a nearly symmetrical arc, so that ruler held to project M+R passes behind the coalescence of SC and C near tip of wing (Fig. 9); otherwise not necessarily fitting above description. Rare in Michigan.
A. Singing (often in large choruses) May to July (until early August in UP), always ending by late summer. Wing veins red, yellow, or green; thorax black, black and red, black and yellow, or black and green.
Go to B
A'. Usually singing alone or in small groups, early July until frost every year, never in early summer. Wing veins green or brown; thorax green or brown and black.
Go to E
B (from A). Song produced in bouts of short (1-3 second) phrases that drop in pitch at their ends, sounding like "Phaaaaaroh"; calling dawn to dusk with peak of activity in late morning. Emerging once every 17 years. Dorsal thorax black, with red eyes; ventral abdomen orange or orange and black.
B'. Song not produced in short (1-3 second) phrases, instead emitted continuously for long periods. Dorsal thorax with some reddish, yellowish, or greenish patterning. Possibly emerging every four years, although usually some present every year.
Go to C
C (from B'). Song a steady fast buzz/whine in which the pulses are delivered far too fast to be individually audible. Wing veins reddish.
C'. Song a continuous succession of individual buzzes or lisps that are almost too fast to be individually audible (5 or more per second), unless heard at cooler temperatures. Wing veings yellowish or greenish.
Go to D
D (from C'). Found in Berrien County only (extreme southwestern MI). Wing veins greenish.
D'. Found in UP and Au Sable River area only. Wing veins yellowish.
E (from A'). Song very loud and coarse, produced in choruses mostly around dusk, individually at other times, sounding something like metal roller skates stroked regularly against a sidewalk. Generally restricted to oak woods in sandy areas in the LP. Wing length over 40 mm.
E'. Song not necessarily as above. Wing length under 40 mm.
Go to F
F (from E').. Song a long buzz varying in pitch for 20-30 pulsations at 4-10 per 5 seconds (depending on temperature), sounding like "eeeeee-oo-eeeeeeee-oo-eeeee". Rare in Michigan.
F'. Song not fitting above description.
Go to G
G (from F'). Song smooth without easily discernible vibrato.
Go to H
G'. Song with obvious vibrato (actually an intensity, not a frequency, modulation) during its most intense portion.
Go to I
H (from G). Song a completely smooth whining buzz sounding like a miniature buzz saw rarely lasting more than a minute.
H'. Song rather coarse in quality, a rough buzz often lasting more than a minute.
I (from G'). Vibratory portions of song usually lasting 15-25 seconds, produced mostly in afternoon, nearly always from trees (common and widespread).
I'.Vibratory portions of song usually lasting 8-13 seconds, produced mostly in morning, usually from bushes or tall weeds in low, swampy areas (rare in Michigan).
Tibicen tibicen (= T. chloromera/chloromerus)