New Forest cicada is named one of country's most endangered creatures by Species Recovery Trust

Daily Echo: The New Forest cicada The New Forest cicada

IT IS the elusive creature with a high-pitched song that only lives in one part of Hampshire.

But now the New Forest cicada has been named as one of the most endangered animals in the entire country.

The insect – the only one of its type in the country – has not even been seen since 2000, and there are fears it may already be extinct.

But a dedicated team of environmentalists set up to hunt for the cicadas say they believe they still live in some areas of the New Forest.

The Species Recovery Trust, an online project looking at the UK’s most endangered animals, has revealed that more than 400 species – including the great auk, orange-spotted emerald dragonfly and the wildcat – have become extinct in the country in the past 200 years.

And the trust says the New Forest cicada is one of the ten animals most likely to follow them in disappearing from the UK altogether.

The last unconfirmed sighting of a cicada was in 2000, with the trust saying change in habitat and weather pattern has led to a decline in numbers.

The New Forest Cicada Project was set up to track the insects down, and its members even set up a special phone app so members of the public can help track them down.

And they say they will head back to the remotest areas of the forest this summer in a bid to find them.

If they are successful, a captive breeding programme may be set up to boost the insects’ numbers.

One of the team, University of Southampton lecturer Alex Rogers, said: “It hasn’t been observed for the past 20 years, but it hasn’t been seen for long stretches in the past too, such as the 1940s or 1960s.

“It’s not at the previous sites it’s been seen at, but it may have just moved somewhere else and the New Forest is such a large area that it’s very hard to detect them.

“It could be there – it’s just a case of finding it.”

Davide Zilli, a PHD student at the university, said: “We have been working hard to improve the app.

“We had about 2,000 people downloading it last year and we think that if it’s sunny it could be a good summer to find them this year.”

The New Forest Cicada

- It is the only cicada remaining in the UK, although it is still widespread across the rest of Europe.
- The insect was first officially recorded in 1812 although experts believe it may have lived here since the Ice Age.
- During May to July it sings a distinctive song which is so high-pitched that it is inaudible to most humans, especially those over the age of 40.
- Their favoured habitat is in and around clearings in the forest, with bracken a particular favourite hiding place for females.
- The insects only sing when it is sunny, so detecting them when it is cloudy or raining is nearly impossible.

To find out more and to download the app, visit newforestcicada.info

Comments (7)

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12:24pm Tue 11 Mar 14

magssoton says...

i never knew we had any.
i love the sound of them while relaxing in the sun abroad.somedays thats all thats missing here.....Long Live the Cicada
i never knew we had any. i love the sound of them while relaxing in the sun abroad.somedays thats all thats missing here.....Long Live the Cicada magssoton
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Higginz says...

Are these the same Cicada's that have a cyclic 13 or 17 year born, eat, sh4g, die policy? If so, looks like 2017 might be the year to don the ear trumpet.
Are these the same Cicada's that have a cyclic 13 or 17 year born, eat, sh4g, die policy? If so, looks like 2017 might be the year to don the ear trumpet. Higginz
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Inform Al says...

How bl00dy big are they?
How bl00dy big are they? Inform Al
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Tue 11 Mar 14

southy says...

Inform Al wrote:
How bl00dy big are they?
Cicadetta montana aka New Forest Cicadetta found though out Europe and Asia females about 50mm long males a lot smaller
[quote][p][bold]Inform Al[/bold] wrote: How bl00dy big are they?[/p][/quote]Cicadetta montana aka New Forest Cicadetta found though out Europe and Asia females about 50mm long males a lot smaller southy
  • Score: 1

1:14pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Inform Al says...

southy wrote:
Inform Al wrote:
How bl00dy big are they?
Cicadetta montana aka New Forest Cicadetta found though out Europe and Asia females about 50mm long males a lot smaller
Thankyou, know what to look for now.
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Inform Al[/bold] wrote: How bl00dy big are they?[/p][/quote]Cicadetta montana aka New Forest Cicadetta found though out Europe and Asia females about 50mm long males a lot smaller[/p][/quote]Thankyou, know what to look for now. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Wed 12 Mar 14

B. L. says...

magssoton wrote:
i never knew we had any.
i love the sound of them while relaxing in the sun abroad.somedays thats all thats missing here.....Long Live the Cicada
Really ? Try coming to the eastern USA and you'll soon change your mind. When these little gems emerge to start mating they come out literally in their billions and make such a noise it's almost unbearable. Besides that they are a menace to trees in your yard and sometimes difficult to walk anywhere without stepping on them , even in the car you can still hear the crunch as you run over them as it's unavoidable.
Don't get me wrong, I love nature and her creatures but these are like a locust plague when they come to town.
[quote][p][bold]magssoton[/bold] wrote: i never knew we had any. i love the sound of them while relaxing in the sun abroad.somedays thats all thats missing here.....Long Live the Cicada[/p][/quote]Really ? Try coming to the eastern USA and you'll soon change your mind. When these little gems emerge to start mating they come out literally in their billions and make such a noise it's almost unbearable. Besides that they are a menace to trees in your yard and sometimes difficult to walk anywhere without stepping on them , even in the car you can still hear the crunch as you run over them as it's unavoidable. Don't get me wrong, I love nature and her creatures but these are like a locust plague when they come to town. B. L.
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Wed 12 Mar 14

B. L. says...

I should add that I don't know if they are the same singing cicadas you have there, could be completely different but to me a cicada is a cicada.
I should add that I don't know if they are the same singing cicadas you have there, could be completely different but to me a cicada is a cicada. B. L.
  • Score: 0

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