Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Research Sponsor

Dr. Anne Wiley

First Reader

Dr. Randall Mitchell

Second Reader

Dr. Henry Astley


Endemic to eastern North America, the periodical cicada of the genus Magicicada is an insect that has captured people’s curiosity for centuries. Feeding on root xylem for 13 or 17 years, these insects emerge from the earth by the millions and shed their exoskeletons before maturing into reproductive adults. The short 2-3 month window in which periodical cicadas are active provides a short yet large resource pulse to both consumers and soil. Capitalizing on the 2016 emergence of Brood V, this study examined the d13C and d15N values of cicada nymph exoskeletons, seeking to identify patterns of stable isotope variation based on tree species and collection site. Positive findings would implicate possible utility in mapping cicada ranges and mobility. Furthermore, improved understanding of stable isotope variation may be applied to future investigations of cicada predators, trophic interactions and resource pulses. Five sites within Summit County, Ohio were used in the collection of Brood V cicadas from May through August of 2016. The sampled nymph exuviae were analyzed on an Isoprime 100 stable isotope mass spectrometer interfaced to an elemental analyzer. Minitab statistical software was used to interpret the data. Using a General Linear Model ANOVA, a relationship was found between collection site and exoskeletal d13C and d15N values (p< 0.00 were observed for both). A relationship was also found between tree species and d13C and d15N values (p= 0.036 and 0.004 for d13C and d15N respectively). Model summaries explained 96.44% of site-specific variance and 97.74% of tree species-specific variance.

Included in

Biology Commons