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June 2, 2018

New paper on the molecular phylogeny of the cicadas and tribe and subfamily classification

A new paper has been published titled A molecular phylogeny of the cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) with a review of tribe and subfamily classification by David C. Marshall, Max Moulds, Kathy B. R. Hill, Benjamin W. Price, Elizabeth J. Wade, Christopher L. Owen, Geert Goemans, Kiran Marathe, Vivek Sarkar, John R. Cooley, Allen F. Sanborn, Krushnamegh Kunte, Martin H. Villet, Chris Simon.

The paper was published in Vol 4424, No 1 of Zootaxa. Link to paper.

In a nutshell: These researchers compared the DNA of a variety of cicadas to determine how they are related evolutionarily and how they should be organized in terms of tribes and sub-families.

Abstract:

A molecular phylogeny and a review of family-group classification are presented for 137 species (ca. 125 genera) of the insect family Cicadidae, the true cicadas, plus two species of hairy cicadas (Tettigarctidae) and two outgroup species from Cercopidae. Five genes, two of them mitochondrial, comprise the 4992 base-pair molecular dataset. Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic results are shown, including analyses to address potential base composition bias. Tettigarcta is confirmed as the sister-clade of the Cicadidae and support is found for three subfamilies identified in an earlier morpho- logical cladistic analysis. A set of paraphyletic deep-level clades formed by African genera are together named as Tettigo- myiinae n. stat. Taxonomic reassignments of genera and tribes are made where morphological examination confirms incorrect placements suggested by the molecular tree, and 11 new tribes are defined (Arenopsaltriini n. tribe, Durangonini n. tribe, Katoini n. tribe, Lacetasini n. tribe, Macrotristriini n. tribe, Malagasiini n. tribe, Nelcyndanini n. tribe, Pagi- phorini n. tribe, Pictilini n. tribe, Psaltodini n. tribe, and Selymbriini n. tribe). Tribe Tacuini n. syn. is synonymized with Cryptotympanini, and Tryellina n. syn. is synonymized with an expanded Tribe Lamotialnini. Tribe Hyantiini n. syn. is synonymized with Fidicinini. Tribe Sinosenini is transferred to Cicadinae from Cicadettinae, Cicadatrini is moved to Ci- cadettinae from Cicadinae, and Ydiellini and Tettigomyiini are transferred to Tettigomyiinae n. stat from Cicadettinae. While the subfamily Cicadinae, historically defined by the presence of timbal covers, is weakly supported in the molecular tree, high taxonomic rank is not supported for several earlier clades based on unique morphology associated with sound production.

January 23, 2018

New paper: Massospora cicadina) hijacks the sexual signals of periodical cicadas

A new paper, A specialized fungal parasite (Massospora cicadina) hijacks the sexual signals of periodical cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada), has been published by John R. Cooley, David C. Marshall & Kathy B. R. Hill, in Scientific Reports 8, Article number: 1432 (2018).

Read the paper online.

In a nutshell: the fungus infects males and causes them to exactly mimic the mating behavior of female cicadas, thus infected males end up spreading the fungus to uninfected males.

Abstract:

Male periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) infected with conidiospore-producing (“Stage I”) infections of the entomopathogenic fungus Massospora cicadina exhibit precisely timed wing-flick signaling behavior normally seen only in sexually receptive female cicadas. Male wing-flicks attract copulation attempts from conspecific males in the chorus; close contact apparently spreads the infective conidiospores. In contrast, males with “Stage II” infections that produce resting spores that wait for the next cicada generation do not produce female-specific signals. We propose that these complex fungus-induced behavioral changes, which resemble apparently independently derived changes in other cicada-Massospora systems, represent a fungus “extended phenotype” that hijacks cicadas, turning them into vehicles for fungus transmission at the expense of the cicadas’ own interests.

And now, because I need an image for the post: a meme:

Fungus Bae

Cicadas, when infected, are called “salt shakers of doom”. Add that to the meme “Salt Bae”, and the image makes sense.

August 18, 2017

A new genus for North American Cicadetta species: Cicadettana

A photo of a Cicadettana calliope calliope:
Cicadetta calliope calliope (Walker, 1850)

New changes to the classification of the North American cicadas belonging to the genus Cicadetta have been published. The North American Cicadetta were found to be unrelated to the European Cicadetta (including the type species C. montana), so a new genus was needed. The new genus is Cicadettana. Research & paper by David Marshall and Kathy Hill.

Zootaxa page for the paper.

The generic classification of cicadas within the globally distributed tribe Cicadettini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) has been challenging due to their often conservative morphology. A recent molecular analysis has indicated that the six North American taxa currently classified in Cicadetta are unrelated to the European type species of Cicadetta, C. montana Scopoli. Here we identify a set of diagnostic morphological characters for a new genus, which we distinguish from its closest relatives in Eurasia and Australasia.

May 31, 2017

Neotibicen similaris apalachicola, a new cicada subspecies

A new subspecies of the Similar Dog-Day Cicada has been described in the paper A new Neotibicen cicada subspecies (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) from the southeastern USA forms hybrid zones with a widespread relative despite a divergent male calling song by David C. Marshall and Kathy B. R. Hill (Zootaxa, Vol 4272, No 4). The cicada is named Neotibicen similaris apalachicola.

This cicada lives in Florida, Georgia & Alabama, and hybridizes with the other Similar Dog-Day Cicada sub-speces, Neotibicen similaris similaris. The document is available on biotaxa.org.

A morphologically cryptic subspecies of Neotibicen similaris (Smith and Grossbeck) is described from forests of the Apalachicola region of the southeastern United States. Although the new form exhibits a highly distinctive male calling song, it hybridizes extensively where it meets populations of the nominate subspecies in parapatry, by which it is nearly surrounded. This is the first reported example of hybridization between North American nonperiodical cicadas. Acoustic and morphological characters are added to the original description of the nominate subspecies, and illustrations of complex hybrid song phenotypes are presented. The biogeography of N. similaris is discussed in light of historical changes in forest composition on the southeastern Coastal Plain.

You will find song samples and maps on the Insect Singers website.

I think this is an image of the new cicada:

December 4, 2015

New Zealand Cicada Information 🇳🇿

Filed under: Amphipsalta,David Marshall,Kathy Hill,Kikihia,New Zealand — Dan @ 8:39 pm

Old Map of New Zealand

There isn’t a lot of New Zealand cicada information on this website, but I wanted to point you to a few good resources if you are interested:

First, there’s the NEW ZEALAND CICADAS (HEMIPTERA: CICADIDAE): A VIRTUAL IDENTIFICATION GUIDE which features photographs and extensive information about the cicadas of New Zealand. The site has an abundance of information, and a wonderful design & layout.

Second, there’s Cicada Central’s New Zealand Cicada website, which features an electronic field guide of New Zealand Cicada Species, a specimen database, and a photo gallery featuring Kikihia, Amphipsaltas and Maoricicada.

I asked David Marshall of InsectSingers.com, “when does New Zealand cicada season start and end?” His answer essentially is that it depends on the location, elevation and species, but the best months are between December and April. Interestingly, in certain locations K. muta sing every month of the year.

David also mentioned the Amphipsalta zelandica (Feb-March) which calls using wing-clicks! Here is a video.

Chorus Cicada at Punakaiki

Read the downloadable article Chorus Cicada, Amphipsalta zelandica (Boisduval), males calling with only wing-clicks by Kathy B. R. Hill, The Weta (2012) 43(1): 15–20, for more information.

Update: here’s some Google trends data. More people search for cicada & cicadas in February in New Zealand.

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