David Emery wrote to let us know that cicada season has begun in parts of Australia:
After some 50mm of rain on 16-17 Sept and the warmest winter on record on the east coast, the “masked devil” morphs of Cyclochila australasiae were in good voice in the mountains west and south of Sydney, Australia on 22nd Sept. The bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii) are also rattling in Metro Sydney. These are about 2 weeks early this year as are several of the smaller grass cicadas and Pauropsalta species. Roll on summer!
Masked Devil cicada (Cyclochila australasiae):
More information about Cyclochila australasiae.
Bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii):
More information about Cystosoma saundersii.
An excellent photo of mating Bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii) by David Emery.
David Emery emailed us this amazing photo of Anapsaltoda pulchra cicadas. Anapsaltoda pulchra are also known as Golden Emperors. These cicadas are from Herberton, Queensland, Australia.
David Emery send us a photo of a Cystosoma saundersii (bottle cicada) from Australia and we added it to the gallery.
Just to complement the Aussie cicadas, a small colony of these Cystosoma saundersii (bottle cicadas) have been droning and rattling at dusk around Burwoood in Sydney for the past 2 months. This is their southern-most extension down the east coast of Australia.
Click the link above or the image below to access large versions of the image.
More information about Cystosoma saundersii on the CSIRO site.
The Bladder Cicada can be sound in eastern Queensland & NSW, and are most common Nov-Jan. (Moulds, M.S.. Australian Cicadas Kennsignton: New South Wales Press, 1990, p. 193.)
This is a photo of the amazing Bagpipe cicada (Lembeja paradoxa) was taken by Timothy Emery (David Emery’s son).
Attached is a photo taken by my son, Timothy Emery from Thursday Island, Torres Strait off Cape York, Queensland. This a male “bagpipe cicada” (Lembeja paradoxa) singing for his female. These guys at rest look like dead leaves with wings folded under stems of grass, but when singing at dusk, rush up the stems and can expand their abdomens incredibly up to 5-10 x resting size (hence the bagpipe bit) and emit a very loud droning sound for their size. A great emergence of these on Thursday Island in the first 2 weeks of January.
Here is a larger version.
The Bagpipe cicada can be found in the Northern tip of Queensland, from October to February, but they’re most common during January. (Moulds, M.S.. Australian Cicadas Kennsignton: New South Wales Press, 1990, p. 178)
Here’s yet another wonderful cicada photo from David Emery in Australia: the Diemaniana euronotiana. The cicada is a mere 20mm in length, and they are now just out in the bushland around 1000m.
The Diemaniana euronotiana can be found in eastern NSW, south-eastern Victoria and Tasmania. They are most common in late November to January. (Moulds, M.S.. Australian Cicadas Kennsignton: New South Wales Press, 1990, p. 112)
Here are some emerging Thopha, Thopha saccata a.k.a. Double Drummer (I think — not 100% sure), taken by David Emery.
The many colors of the Cyclochila australasiae
I asked Dr. David Emery to explain the different colors of the Cyclochila australasiae, a.k.a. the Green Grocer, Yellow Monday, Blue Moon, Masked Devil, etc. David has allowed me to use his explanation on the site, and here it is:
Most “green” cicadas like our GG (Green grocer – Cyclochila australasiae) are coloured from the mixture of yellow and blue pigments. It is quite common for the blue to be missing to various degrees in GGs, and they exhibit shades of lighter green to yellow (even close to orange) and are then called “Yellow Mondays!”. It is also common for the blue pigment to fade in collections and so many “green” species turn a dull beige or brown. This can be fixed with a 24h soaking in 2.5-10% neutral-buffered formalin immediately after killing (or inject formalin after they die). MUCH more rarely, the yellow pigment can be missing and then we get the “Blue Moon”- love those purple eyes! In fact, having collected or spotted more than 10,000 GGs in my time, I have not caught a Blue Moon. My daughter Samantha, found the one in the photo when she was 4 years old, and another when she was 7!!
The orange-black, “masked devil” morph of the GG seems associated with altitude and these progressively appear with increasing frequency amongst GG populations above 500m in the mountains west of Sydney. For example, at Glenbrook, (elevation 150m) they are <5% of the population whereas at Hazelbrook and Blackheath (670m and 1200m, respectively), they increase to around 95% of the population. It was thought that cold underground temperatures during larval and nymphal development might also contribute, but the huge numbers of green GGs west of our ranges argue against a direct effect of temperature alone. Here the winter temps are very cold too, just as cold as the mountains. So just how these “melanisation” effects are mediated remain unresolved- one of life’s tantalizing mysteries!
Here are photos of cicadas by David Emery. Take a look.
Australian Cicada Websites
- The Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges has a page of cicada facts and photos of Northern Greengrocers and a Green Baron from Tropical North Queensland.
- The AusEmade: Cicada page features cicada facts, as well as a very nice matrix of Common cicada names, their Scientific names and where they can be found. The site was just updated with Orange Drummer photos.
- The Brisbane Insects site has a selection of pages devoted to cicadas found in the Brisbane area. There are information and photos of Double Drummers, Clangers, White Drummers, Brown Bunyips, Razor Grinders, Bladder Cicadas, Floury Bakers, Thin-striped Wattles, Small Bottle, Either Bark Squeakers, and Small Bark Squeakers.
- The CSIRO site has a great list of cicadas by Scientific name; there are photos for each species, general information including where they are found.
- The Summer of Singing Cicadas page on the Scribbly Gum site is filled with excellent information including cicada names, keeping cicadas as pets, their sound, their life cycle, The Black Prince, cicada myths and where they can be found.
Here is a Masked Devil cicada (Cyclochila australasiae) photo taken by David Emery. A Masked Devil is the same species as the Green Grocer and Blue Moon.
Here is a White Drummer cicada (Arunta perulata) photo taken by David Emery.
The White Drummer cicada can be found in eastern Queensland and NSW, from November to April, but they are most common during December and January. (Moulds, M.S.. Australian Cicadas Kennsignton: New South Wales Press, 1990, p. 58)