The New Forest Cicada (Cicadetta montana s. str.) is the only cicada native to the UK. During May to July it sings with a very characteristic high-pitched song, which is at the limits of human hearing, and is particularly difficult for most adults to hear. Sightings of the cicada within the New Forest date back to 1812, but the last unconfirmed sighting was in 2000. However, it's quite likely that colonies remain undiscovered in less visited parts of the forest. The New Forest Cicada Project aims to equip the millions of visitors to the forest with a smart phone app that can detect and recognise the song of the cicada, and hopes to rediscover it in 2013.
On these pages you can find information about the research team, the project, and the progress so far. Follow our progress on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to our mailing list! Once available, you will be able to download the app. Please don't hesitate to contact us for any queries regarding the project and its related work.
In preparation for the new season of cicada hunting, we have been busy improving the algorithm that powers our app, and trying to understand where people have searched for this mysterious insect last year. Two of the things that interest us most are, of course, why have we not found it yet and what can we do next year to maximise our chances.
In this process, the important question is, has every inch of the forest been covered at least once in sunny warm days when cicadas could have been singing?
Not quite, but we are not far. Have a look at this tool that we have designed for you, showing the reports submitted in the 2013 season across the world. Note that you will need a bit of patience for all the data to load, and a powerful computer won't hurt. On a phone it will be very slow, there is a lot of data to process!
Let us know what you think!
Just a quick post to say thank you very much to all the visitor of the British Science Festival and the BBC Summer of Wildlife who stopped by the New Forest cicada stand.
The British Science Festival is a big event held annually in Newcastle, where lots of schools have a chance to engage in Science. We were there for almost a week and it was great fun.
The BBC Summer of Wildlife is a series wildlife events–as the name suggests. We went to the closing event and received great interest from a range of people from the expert naturalist, the professional wildlife recorder, to the young student who loved folding cicada origami and colouring in cicada silhouettes.
It was uplifting to see so many young people interested in wildlife, preserving the natural environment and animal species around us. We hope we have managed to excite a few of you and you will join us in searching for the cicada, or engage in any of the other beautiful project in this space.
If you were there, tell us what you liked the best and what you didn't like quite as much!