is the most recently discovered species of periodical cicada. Like all Magicicada
Magicicada is the genus of the 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas of eastern North America. They are sometimes called "17-year locusts", although cicadas belong to order Hemiptera, while locusts are Orthoptera....
species, M. neotredicim
has reddish eyes and wing veins and a black dorsal thorax. It has a 13-year life cycle but seems to be most closely related to the 17-year species Magicicada septendecim
Magicicada septendecim, sometimes called the Pharaoh cicada, is a species of periodical cicada with a 17-year life cycle, native to Canada and the United States...
. Both species are distinguished by broad orange stripes on the abdomen and a unique high-pitched song said to resemble someone calling "weeeee-whoa" or "Pharaoh." They differ only in life cycle length.
Another closely related 13-year species Magicicada tredecim
Magicicada tredecim is a 13-year species of periodical cicada, closely related to the newly discovered 13-year species Magicicada neotredecim, from which it differs in its in male song pitch, female song pitch preferences, abdomen color, and mitochondrial DNA. Both M. tredecim and M. neotredecim...
differs very slightly from M. neotredecim
, and for many years the two were considered one species with slight differences in abdomen color and mitochondrial DNA. Then in 1998, scientists studying the calls of Brood XIX distinguished two different peak frequencies in the -decim species call. Because of their many similarities, M. neotredecim
, M. tredecim
, and M. septendecim
are often described together as "decim periodical cicadas
Decim periodical cicadas is a term used to group three closely related species of periodical cicadas: Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada tredecim, and Magicicada neotredecim. M. septendecim, first described by Linnaeus, has a 17-year lifecycle; the name "septendecim" is Latin for 17. M...
Broods and distribution
Periodical cicadas are assigned to broods based on their year of emergence and life-cycle length. The other three 13-year species (M. tredecim
, M. tredecassini
, and M. tredecula
) are represented in all three of the extant 13-year broods: Brood XIX
Brood XIX is the largest brood of 13-year periodical cicadas, last seen in 1998 and reappearing in May and June of 2011 across a wide stretch of the southeastern United States...
(emerging in 2011), Brood XXII (emerging in 2014), and Brood XXIII (emerging in 2015). M. neotredecim
was first discovered in 1998 in Brood XIX, where it occurs toward the northern part of the range, showing a narrow range of overlap with the more southern species M. tredecim
. It has also been observed in Brood XXIII but not in Brood XXII.
Discovery in 1998
Magicicada males typically form large aggregations that sing in chorus to attract receptive females. M. neotredecim
was first identified when scientists noticed a bimodal split in the dominant pitch (frequency) of male calling songs during the 1998 emergence of Brood XIX. The dominant song pitch of M. neotredecim
ranges from 1.25 kHz to 1.90 kHz. (This is similar to the pitch-range of M. septendecim
except that songs of the 17-year species do not extend so far into high frequencies.) M. neotredecim
song frequencies have been obseved to displace upward in areas where their range overlaps with the similar M. tredecim
, whose dominant song pitch is lower, ranging between 1.00 kHz and 1.25 kHz.
These distinctive calling songs prompted a closer look at older data concerning M. tredecim
. Two different forms of mitochondrial DNA, correlated with a difference in abdominal color, had already been seen in insects assigned to this species. David Marshall and John Cooley determined that these known differences correlated with the observed pitch difference in males and a corresponding pitch preference in females. The name M. neotredecim
was given to the variant whose song and abdominal coloring (orange with a black lateral band or center) resemble the 17-year species M. septendecim
. The earlier name M. tredecim
was reserved for the group whose abdomen is mostly orange and whose song has a lower pitch.