Magicicada cassini (Fisher 1851)

M. cassini

Usually smaller than M. septendecim. No orange coloration in front of the wing insertion behind the eye. Abdomen entirely black except in some locations where individuals may have weak ventral yellow-orange marks; if present, these tend to be faded and rarely form complete stripes. Sometimes such individuals may be difficult to distinguish from M. septendecula if the calling song is not available. Calling song phrases consist of a series of ticks followed by a shrill buzz. Males of M. cassini and its close 13-year relative M. tredecassini sometimes synchronize their calls and flights all at once, a display that has been likened to a “giant game of musical chairs”. Scale is 1 cm long.

Margaretta Hare Morris discovered this species in the first half of the 19th Century (Read more about her here). James Coggswell Fisher formally named the species in 1851 to honor his ornithologist friend, John Cassin. Fisher spelled the species epithet “cassinii.” However, in their 1962 monograph, Alexander and Moore (1962) spelled it “cassini.” While “cassinii” is the original spelling, usage of the “cassini” spelling appears to be more prevalent, especially in the past 50 years. ICZN 33.3.1 provides direct instructions upon how to act in cases of prevailing usage, and “cassini” is an acceptable spelling.

Magicicada cassini chorus:

Magicicada cassini songs:

M cassini calling song

Courtship I/Calling song

M. cassini Courtship II song

Courtship II song

M. cassini Courtship III song

Courtship III song

Approximate range

In the map below, cicada symbols are verified records in our database as of February 2021. This map may not be reproduced without written permission.


Alexander, R. D., and T. E. Moore. 1962. The evolutionary relationships of 17-year and 13-year cicadas, and three new species. (Homoptera: Cicadidae, Magicicada). University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Miscellaneous Publication 121:1-59.

Marlatt, C. L. 1923. The Periodical Cicada. United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology Bulletin 71:1-183.

McNeur, C. 2021. The Woman Who Solved a Cicada Mystery but Got No Recognition. Scientific American 324(6) June 2021.