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November 25, 2012

Cacama aka Cactus Dodgers

Filed under: Cacama — Tags: , — by @ 11:03 am

Cacama valvata (female)

A Cacama moorei (female) photo taken by Adam Fleishman.

Cacama is a genus of cicadas, known as Cactus Dodgers, found in Mexico and Southwestern United States. They are known for their affinity for cacti like prickly pear & cholla, and are most likely named Cactus Dodgers for their ability dodge the needles of their favorite plants. They are primarily black, gray, white, and beige colored; well camouflaged for the desert.

The two most common species seem to be Cacama moorei and Cacama valvata. The best way to tell them apart is C. moorei have a lot of orange on their ventral side.

Eyes Gray to golden beige
Ventral side Mostly white, heavy pruinose
Legs Black to golden beige
Dorsal side Gray to Black, with rust, golden or beige highlights. Prominent white pruinose along the sides of the mesonotum, and the 1st tergite (dorsal abdominal segment) of the abdomen.
Wings hyaline, with black to golden beige viens

According to BugGuide there are 12 species of Cacama: C. californica , C. carbonaria, C. crepitans, C. collinaplaga, C. dissimilis, C. furcata, C. longirostris, C. maura, C. moorei, C. pygmaea, C. valvata and C. variegata.

Cacama was the lord of the Aztec kingdom of Tezcuco (see The History of the Conquest of Mexico, by W.H. Prescott), who met his end at the hands of Spanish conquistadors. Cacama lives on in these winged desert treasures.

Some Cacama links:

The Insect Singers website has the song of a Cacama valvata.

A nice photo of a Cacama furcata taken in New Mexico.

A slide show of Cacama moorei photos found on Flickr:


1 Comment

  1. [...] An article on Cacama cicadas. [...]

    Pingback by Cicada Mania: Cacama valvata Cicada — January 1, 2013 @ 9:58 am

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