Cacama genus description by W. L. Distant in Genera Insectorum, 1913:
Characters. — Head (including eyes) little more than two thirds the breadth of base of mesonotum, anteriorly depressed, its length only a little more than half the breadth between eyes; pronotum considerably shorter than mesonotum, its lateral margins obliquely sinuate; mesonotum somewhat convexly gibbous; abdomen short, broad, convex above, its length equal to the space between apex of head and base of cruciform elevation, the lateral margins a little angulate at posterior segmental angles; tympana completely covered, lateral margins of the tympanal coverings subparallel to the abdominal margins; rostrum reaching or passing the posterior coxae ; metasternum very large; opercula about half the length of abdomen above, broad, their apical margins convexly rounded, their lateral margins almost straight; tegmina and wings (excepting base) hyaline, the first broad, their greatest width a little less than half their length, apical areas eight in number, the two lowermost small, subquadrangular.
The illustration and genus description comes from the journal Genera Insectorum, and a specific article from 1913 by W. L. Distant titled Homoptera. Fam. Cicadidae, Subfam, Cicadinae. Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.
We are excited to announce the availability of a document by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips titled Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico. This document features distribution maps for North American cicada species! This document is an excellent companion to The Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of North America North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath (link to that book).
Abstract: We describe and illustrate the biogeography of the cicadas inhabiting continental North America, north of Mexico. Species distributions were determined through our collecting efforts as well as label data from more than 110 institutional collections. The status of subspecies is discussed with respect to their distributions. As we have shown over limited geographic areas, the distribution of individual species is related to the habitat in which they are found. We discuss the biogeography of the genera with respect to their phylogenetic relationships. California is the state with the greatest alpha diversity (89 species, 46.6% of taxa) and unique species (35 species, 18.3% of taxa). Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Utah are the states with the next greatest alpha diversity with Texas, Arizona and Utah being next for unique species diversity. Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are the states with the least amount of cicada diversity. Diversity is greatest in states and areas where there is a diversity of plant communities and habitats within these communities. Mountainous terrain also coincides with increases in diversity. Several regions of the focus area require additional collection efforts to fill in the distributions of several species.
Keywords: cicada; distribution; Diceroprocta; Tibicen; Okanagana; Okanagodes; Cacama; Magicicada; Platypedia; Cicadetta
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.
Gray to golden beige
Mostly white, heavy pruinose
Black to golden beige
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.
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.
Brood I Magicicada periodical cicadas continue to emerge in VA, WA and TN. Magicicada stragglers belonging to other broods, continue to emerge as well.
Neocicada hieroglyphica are around as well, particularly in Florida [link goes to image].
Example of a Neocicada hieroglyphica.
Cicadas belonging to the genus Cacama (Cactus Dodgers), including the Cacama valvata are emerging in south-western states like New Mexico and Arizona [link goes to image].
Example Cacama valvata.
Cicadas belonging to the genus Tibicen are emerging in warmer areas of the United States. Joe Green found a Tibicen tibicen (possibly Tibicen tibicen australis [see Insect Singers site for song and description]) in Florida. Tibicen superbus [image] are emerging in Southern states as well.