Color variations

White Eye
White-eyed periodical cicada.

Some cicadas have white or blue eyes, and some lack red pigmentation on their wing veins.  These color variations are natural and are presumed to be caused by mutations or rare alleles.






The -decim species (M. septendecim, M. neotredecim, and M. tredecim) have orange abdominal stripes. However, there is significant variation in the appearance of the stripes; M. septendecim and M. neotredecim (mitochondrial lineage “A”) tend to be darker in appearance, while M. tredecim (mitochondrial lineage “B”) tend to be lighter.

Abdomen Color
Magicicada -decim species abdomen color chart, from Martin and Simon (1988)


Cooley, J. R., C. Simon, D. C. Marshall, K. Slon, and C. Ehrhardt. 2001. Allochronic speciation, secondary contact, and reproductive character displacement in periodical cicadas (Hemiptera: Magicicada spp.): genetic, morphological, and behavioural evidence. Molecular Ecology 10:661-671.

Marshall, D. C., and J. R. Cooley. 2000. Reproductive character displacement and speciation in periodical cicadas, with description of a new species, 13-year Magicicada neotredecim. Evolution 54:1313-1325.

Martin, A., and C. Simon. 1988. Anomalous distribution of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers in periodical cicadas. Nature 336:237-239.

Martin, A., and C. Simon. 1990. Differing Levels of Among-Population Divergence in the Mitochondrial DNA of Periodical Cicadas Related to Historical Biogeography. Evolution 44:1066-1080.

Simon, C., J. Tang, S. Dalwadi, G. Staley, J. Deniega, and T. R. Unnasch. 2000. Genetic evidence for assortative mating between 13-year cicadas and sympatric “17-year cicadas with 13-year life cycles” provides support for allochronic speciation. Evolution 54:1326-1336.