Hard To Live

Cicada cast skin

Immature cicada cast skin

Japanese biologists* noted a change in the composition of cicada species in Osaka, Japan. In the 1980s and 90s, many of the previously dominant cicada species declined and were replaced by a single dominant species, Cryptotympana facials. What caused this change in species composition?

A number of environmental variables were studied. One variable, soil hardness, was best correlated with observations. In urban areas, soil is subjected to a variety of activities that increase soil compaction. Human traffic, vehicle traffic, and tillage practices all leave the soil more compacted. Thus, urban soils are more compacted and harder. For burrowing insects such as cicada immatures, hard compacted soils can exclude species. Experiments show that Cryptotympana facialis is capable of burrowing in more compacted, harder soils compared to other species. The loss of species can be explained by changes in soil compaction.   Cryptotympana facialis, freed from competition with other species has become dominant.

*Minoru Moriyama and Hideharu Numata. Urban soil compaction reduces cicada diversity. Zoological Letters (2015) 1:19
DOI 10.1186/s40851-015-0022-3

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hard To Live

  1. Pingback: Hard To Live | Living With Insects Blog

  2. Ned Grams says:

    These things are so loud. I recently started working for a pest control company and we get calls on these jokers on the daily smh. Why are they so obnoxious??

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