Citizen science project in Shore Drive area would love your help by saving cicadas that you find.

Dead ones!

One type of cicada

One type of cicada

John sez:

I’m a wildlife biologist who lives in Virginia Beach, and I’m working on a personal project to document the cicadas of the Cape Henry area. I’d like to invite local residents, especially those in the Cape Story community, to help me verify as many cicada species as we can. There should be twelve to fourteen species in our immediate area, but to my knowledge it’s never been thoroughly surveyed–and this is where your help would be invaluable.

Right now the cicadas are in full swing, and as autumn approaches the adults will begin singing their last. I’ve been collecting postmortem cicadas on my own property, but this is only a pinpoint sample. What would be very helpful is for Shore Drive residents to be on the lookout for fallen cicadas as well–on decks, patios, driveways, etc.–and to save them in the fridge or freezer until I can pick them up. I’m in touch with an experienced entomologist who’s willing to identify the specimens, and I’ll be glad to share the results with everyone who’s contributed.

Please note I am NOT asking anyone to harm or capture live cicadas–only to save any that you find around your home which have died of natural causes. For now I’m most interested in the general area of Shore Drive between Cape Story and Pleasure House Road, with an emphasis on Cape Story and neighborhoods near the bayside.

This is hands-on citizen science–helping to document species presence to establish a baseline fauna. The more people who are able to contribute, the better the sampling effort and the more species we’re likely to verify. Your help will make all the difference–and you’ll learn something new about the small wonders living all around us.

Thanks very much,

John A.


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