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periodical cicada (13-year) Brood XIX

2024 Brood XIX cicada. Image taken in Moultrie County, May 11, 2024.
Click here for an audio clip of Brood XIX
Recorded May 22, 2024

periodical cicada (Magicicada sp.)

Features and Behaviors

Almost every wooded area of Illinois is inhabited by a brood of periodical cicadas. Four species of periodical cicadas have 13-year life cycles: Magicicada tredecim, M. neotredecim, M. tredecassini, M. tredecula. Cicadas have broad heads, large compound eyes, large, tent-like wings, and large forelegs. Annual cicadas can be heard every year, but periodical species only occur in mass every 13 or 17 years. Periodical cicadas are 0.75 to 1.5 inches long; are green and brown, or green and black bodied. Annual cicadas are larger (1.5 to 2.5 inches long) and have black bodies, red eyes, and wings with orange veins. These four species are best distinguished by their distributions and songs. 

  • Magicicada tredecim occurs in the southern quarter of Illinois. It has a light tan abdomen and a lower pitched song than other species. It is easily confused for M. neotredecim
  • Magicicada neotredecim occurs in all but the northern 5th of Illinois. The geographical distribution is the only clue to distinguish it from M. septendecim (17-year), which only occurs in the northern half of Illinois. Another look alike, M. tredecim, has a higher pitched song and orange bands on the underside of the abdomen. 
  • Magicicada tredecassini occurs in all but the northern 5th of the state, has an entirely black abdomen, and no orange spot between the eye and wing. The males sing a song of short clicks followed by a buzz. It has a similar song to M. cassini (17-year), which only occurs in the northern half of the state. M. tredecassini is very hard to distinguish from M. tredecula, expect by the song. 
  • Magicicada tredecula occurs in the southern tip of the state, has narrow orange bands on underside of the abdomen, and no orange color between eye and wing on thorax. This species is more rare than other 13-year species. The calling song of consists of a series of short phrases lasting 15-30 seconds, which is very similar to M. septendecula (17-year). 

Every 13 years, mature nymphs emerge from up to eight inches below the ground when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees Fahrenheit, typically in the evening, and climb onto trees and shrubs to begin their final molt. Cicadas emerge at night to avoid becoming prey, as they cannot walk fast or jump well. Cicadas live for two to four weeks in this final adult stage. Males “sing” to find a mate and have highly specialized abdomens for making noise — they vibrate a pair of ribbed membranes on their mostly hollow abdomen, which amplifies the song. Songs are species-specific and only attract females of the same species. Cicadas can be heard singing during the day or evening. After mating, females cut small slits into the branches of trees and shrubs and deposit eggs. Eggs can take up to 100 days to hatch, then the nymphs drop to the ground and burrow into the soil. Nymphs and adults drink sap from trees by making small cuts in the bark.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Cicadidae

Illinois Status: common, native


University of Conneticut. Brood XIII The Northern Illinois Brood

Alexander, Richard D. and Moore, Thomas E. The Evolutionary Relationships of 17-Year and 13-Year Cicadas, and Three New Species (Homoptera, Cicadidae, Magicidada). 1962, July 24. Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.

Stannard Jr., Lewis J. 1975. The Distribution of Periodical Cicadas in Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey. 

Resh, Vincent H. and Cardé, Ring T. 2003. Encyclopedia of Insects. Academic Press.

Arnett Jr., Ross H. 2000. American Insects: A Handbook to the Insects of America North of Mexico. CRC Press. 

Periodical Cicadas. 2011. The Simon Lab. University of Connecticut.