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March 21, 2015

Better IDs for E.A. Seguy Cicada Illustrations

The NCSU Libraries Rare and Unique Digital Collections website recently reminded the us of artist Eugene Alain (E.A.) Seguy’s insect illustrations. Seguy created these illustrations in the 1920’s, and as you might imagine, some of the cicada names cited in the notes for these illustrations have changed. Names typically change when cicadas are reclassified due to discoveries about their biology, or when we realize that someone else had actually named them earlier than the namer currently given credit.

Here are the two illustrations, the accompanying identification, and corrected identifications.


EA Seguy Cicada Art

Accompanying identification:

1. Tacua speciosa. Indes; 2. Polyneura ducalis. Indes Or.; 3. Cicada saccata. Australie; 4. Cicada fascialis. Siam; 5. Tozena melanoptera. Indes Or.

Corrected or expanded identification:

  1. Tacua speciosa. This is correct, although there are two subspecies of T. speciosa, I’m going to guess it is Tacua speciosa speciosa (Illiger, 1800) based on the location.
  2. Polyneura ducalis. This is correct. Polyneura ducalis Westwood, 1840.
  3. Cicada saccata. This is now: Thopha saccata (Fabricius, 1803).
  4. Cicada fascialis. This is now: Cryptotympana facialis facialis (Walker, 1858). Update: David Emery says this might be a Cryptotympana acuta (Signoret, 1849).
  5. Tozena melanoptera. Close enough. Tosena melanoptera melanoptera (White, 1846). There are a few unnamed subspecies.


EA Seguy Cicada Art

Accompanying identification:

1. Goeana festiva. Indes; 2. Zammara tympanum. Amérique du Sud; 3. Goeana ochracea. Indes; 4. Phenax variegata. Brésil; 5. Hemisciera maculipennis. Amazone

Corrected or expanded identification:

  1. Goeana festiva is actually Callogaeana festiva festiva (Fabricius, 1803).
  2. Zammara tympanum. This is correct. Zammara tympanum (Fabricius, 1803).
  3. Goeana ochracea is way off. It is a Tailanga binghami Distant, 1890.
  4. Phenax variegata is not a cicada, is it a fulgoroid planthopper, but the id is correct.
  5. Hemisciera maculipennis is correct. Hemisciera maculipennis (de Laporte, 1832) aka the “Stop and Go” cicada, because its colors resemble the colors of a stop light.

January 19, 2014

A visual comparison of some cicadas of Southeast Asia

This is a photo of one of my displays at home. Some of the specimens aren’t in the best shape, but it is good enough to distinguish the species.

Angamiana floridula, Becquartina electa, Gaeana cheni, Gaeana festiva, Platypleura mira, Tacua speciosa, Tosena albata, Tosena melanoptera, Tosena paviei, and Trengganua sibylla are featured in the image.

Cicadas of South East Asia

Click the image for a larger image.

May 4, 2013

Some cicadas from Malaysia

Filed under: Dundubia,Malaysia,Tacua — Dan @ 8:24 am

Malaysia, like all south-east Asian countries, has a fantastic array of beautiful cicada species.

A world traveler sent us her recent cicada photos. Here are a sample:

An amazing Tacua speciosa aka Emperor Cicada:

Tacua speciosa from Malaysia on an arm

Look at the size of it! Behold the beauty!

See all the Tacua speciosa photos.


A severely injured but persevering Dundubia vaginata:

Dundubia  vaginata missing abdomen

It won’t ever mate again, but it will live for a little longer.

See all the Dundubia vaginata photos.

January 13, 2013

Tacua speciosa

Filed under: Tacua — Dan @ 12:30 pm

The Tacua speciosa is a beautiful cicada native to Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, Sumatra, and other countries & islands in the Malay Archipelago.

Tacua speciosa
Image credit: Alexey Yakovlev, Tacua speciosa (Cicadidae). Borneo. Trusmadi area. 2100 m, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Here is W.L. Distant’s description of this insect from A monograph of oriental Cicadidae:

Body above black ; eyes, anterior pronotal margin (narrowly), posterior margin of pronotum, posterior margin of the third, and the whole of the fourth, fifth and sixth abdominal segments, ochraceous ; basal cruciform elevation red, with its anterior angles black ; body beneath black ; lateral areas and margins to prosternum, a spot at lateral margins of third abdominal segment, and the lateral margins of the fourth, fifth and sixth abdominal segments, ochraceous.

Tegmina black, costal membrane and venation dull reddish, outer margin narrowly creamy-white wings black, the outer margin (excluding anal area) creamy-white.

Var. a. Tegmina and wings greyish-brown, the black coloration only observable at margins of the veins.

Long.excl.tegm. 47 to 57 millim. Exp.tegm.150 to 180 millim.


T. speciosa has a black body with a chartreuse marking on the head, a chartreuse pronotal collar, a red cruciform elevation, and a pale, but vibrant, turquoise-blue abdomen.


T. speciosa is one of the largest cicadas. Wikipedia has the body length at 55 mm (2.2 in), and wingspan at 120 mm (4.7 in). I think that wingspan measurement is a little conservative (but the body length seems right on based on the image below). Considering that tip to tip wingspan would be about 3x the body length (see this image for proportions) the max wingspan would be closer to 170 mm or 6.7 in, which puts it in the same league as the Pomponia imperatoria. That is more in line with W.L. Distant’s documentation.


Here is a video of a singing Tacua speciosa:

Another video of a singing T. speciosa:

Pop culture note: this species of cicada was features on the Wednesday January 16, 2013 episode of the Daily Show. It is not, however, a 17 year cicada. :) T. speciosa probably has a 2-7 year life cycle, and is not a periodical cicada, but it might be proto-periodical (but most likely is an annual species).

The only document specifically about the T. speciosa I’ve found is Boulard, M. 1994c. Tacua speciosa, variete decolorata n. var. (Homoptera, Cicadidae). Revue Française d’Entomologie. 16: 66. — however that document usually costs around $60, which I’m not ready to invest in.

At one point in time, the Tacua speciosa was one of the most illustrated cicadas:

Cigale remarquable (Cicada spe... Digital ID: 806458. New York Public Library
Original Source: From Dictionnaire universel d’histoire naturelle. (Paris : Renard, 1841-1849) Orbigny, Charles d’, Author.

1. Tacua speciosa, Indes; 2. P... Digital ID: 73746. New York Public Library
Illustration by Séguy, E. A.

Cicadæ, lantern fly, etc. Digital ID: 806322. New York Public Library
Original Source: From Animate creation : a popular edition of “Our living world” : a natural history. (New York : Selmar Hess, 1885) Wood, J. G. (John George) (1827-1889), Author.