Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

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May 19, 2012

The Cicada Alphabet

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 9:17 pm

Cicada Alphabet

Here’s a recap for the Cicada Alphabet we ran on the site last year.

December 31, 2010

Cicada Mania: Z

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:47 pm

Z is for Zeno P. Metcalf. Dr. Metcalf is famous for his study of cicadas and other Auchenorrhyncha. Read more about Zeno P. Metcalf.

Zouga is an easy to hear, but difficult to catch genus of cicada that exists in South Africa. Read more about Zouga cicadas.

Zammara is a South American genus of cicadas, “with with really interesting morphology, including Dracula-like pronotal collars”. Have a look a this pretty blue Zammara.

Thanks to David Marshall of Insect Singers for Zeno, Zouga and Zammara.

Cicada Mania: Y

Filed under: Australia | Cicada Alphabet | Cyclochila — Tags: , — Dan @ 6:46 pm

Y is for Yellow Monday Cicada. The Yellow Monday cicada is the yellow form of the Cyclochila australasiae (the green form is the Green Grocer). Yellow Monday Cicadas lack a turquoise pigment that normally combines with the yellow pigment to form a green color. Visit the Scribbly Gum website for a photo and more information about Yellow Mondays.

A Yellow Monday photo by Tom Katzoulopolopoulous:

Yellow Monday (Cyclochila australasiae) photos by Tom Katzoulopolopoulous.

Cicada Alphabet: X

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:44 pm

X is for xylem sap. Xylem sap is what cicadas eat. Cicadas suck the xylem sap from the xylem of a plant root. Xylem sap contains water and nutrients, which benefit both the plant and the cicada. Visit Wikipedia for more information about xylem and xylem sap.

Cicada Alphabet: W

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:42 pm

W is for wing clicking. Wing clicking or wing clapping is how female cicadas communicate with male cicadas. Females lack the organs males use to make sounds; instead they click their wings together.

Walker’s cicada, or Tibicen pronotalis, is a Tibicen cicada found in mid-western and southern States. This cicada was formerly known as both Tibicen walkeri & Tibicen marginalis. BugGuide has many photos of Tibicen pronotalis. Walker’s cicada is known for its crisp, well-defined markings.

The Whiskey Drinker aka Cherry Nose cicada (Macrotristria angularis) can be found in eastern Australia. It gets its name from its red clypeus, which resembles the red nose of someone who drinks too much whiskey.

Cherry Nose cicada (Macrotristria angularis). Photo by David Emery.
Cherry Nose cicada (Macrotristria angularis). Photo by David Emery.

The White Drummer (Arunta perulata) is a cicada than can be found along Australia’s east coast. Here is a photo of a White Drummer, which features large areas of (white) pruinose on its abdomen:
White Drummer cicada (Arunta perulata). Photo by David Emery.
Photo by David Emery.

Cicada Alphabet: V

Filed under: Australia | Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:39 pm

V is for Venustria superba, a species of cicada found in Queensland, Australia. The V. superba’s call sounds more like a frog than a cicada.

Read more about the Venustria superba in M.S. Mould’s fantastic book Australian Cicadas.

Cicada Alphabet: U

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:38 pm

U is for Urabunana, a genus of tiny cicadas that inhabit eastern Australia. Read more about Urabunana cicadas in M.S. Mould’s fantastic book Australian Cicadas.

Cicada Alphabet: T

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:37 pm

T is for tymbal. Tymbals are the organs male cicadas use to produce their calls. Sound is produced when muscles pull on the ribs of tymbals. The speed and rhythm of the pulls creates the unique songs of each species. The ribbed structure in the center of this photo is the tymbal:
Santisuk Vibul' s Cicada Photos of Genus Dundubia from Bagkok, Thailand
Photo by Santisuk Vibul.


Tailanga is a genus of cicada found in Asia. Here is a photo of a pretty black, red and white Tailanga binghami:
Tailanga binghami
Photo by Michel Chantraine.

When adult cicadas have eclosed (emerged from their nymphal skin) their bodies are soft and vulnerable, so we say these cicadas are teneral. The root of the word teneral is the Latin word tener, which means soft or tender.

Thirteen-year Cicadas are periodical cicadas that belong to the genus Magicicada, and emerge every 13 years. There are 4 species of 13-Year Cicada: M. neotredecim, M. tredecim, M. tredecassini and M. tredecula.

The Thopha saccata aka the Double Drummer is the largest cicada in Australia. Look at this photo to get an idea of how big a Thopha saccata is:
Double Drummer (Thopha saccata)
Photo by Kevin Lee.

Tibicen is a genus of cicadas that exist on several continents including North America and Europe. Tibicen means “a flute player” in Latin.

Tosena is a genus of cicadas that are found in Asia and are know for their beautiful wing coloration, such as the turquoise, white and black, or the orange, red, yellow and black.
Tosena dives (Westwood, 1842)
A Tosena dives (Westwood, 1842).

Tunnels. Cicadas spend most of their lives in the tunnels they dig so they can travel from one plant root to another.

Both male and female cicadas have Tympanum, which allow them to hear sound. A tympanum is not externally visible, and is covered by the operculum. Tympanum means drum in Latin. The Tympanum of the cicada is similar to a human’s ear drum.

Cicada Alphabet: S

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 6:31 pm

S is for Swamp Cicada. Swamp Cicadas (Tibicen tibicen / Tibicen chloromera / Tibicen chloromerus) are typically black, green and white in color and lack the crisp, detailed markings of other Tibicens like T. pronotalis or T. doratus. Chloromerus means “green thigh” in Greek, which makes sense as they have green legs. [Note: these are my favorite cicadas as they prefer vegetation that is close to the ground, so they are easy to find and observe.]

Neotibicen tibicen tibicen photos

Salvazana is a genius of cicada found in Asia. Here is a photo of a Salvazana imperialis, and a photo of a Salvazana mirabilis.

Allen Sanborn, a Barry University professor of Natural and Health Sciences, is an expert at identifying and classifying cicadas. Read an article about Dr. Allen Sanborn.

The Scissor Grinder cicada (Tibicen pruinosa), is known for its call, which sounds like a scissor grinding on a sharpening wheel, and for the abundance of pruinose on its body.

Seventeen-Year Cicada is another name for periodical cicadas that belong to the genus Magicicada and emerge in 17 year intervals. There are 3 species of 17-Year Cicada: M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula.

Chris Simon is a cicada researcher and a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. Chris Simon is principal investigator of The Simon Lab, which is home to many other well-known cicada researchers, like John Cooley, David Marshall, and Kathy Hill.

Spiracles are holes located along the side of cicadas through which they breathe.

Stragglers are periodical cicadas that emerge years earlier or later than expected.

The Superb cicada (Tibicen superbus) is a Tibicen cicada found in the United States. It is known for its bright green thorax, golden arches, and black mask.See photos of a Superb cicada.

Cicada Alphabet: R

Filed under: Cicada Alphabet — Dan @ 10:23 am

R is for rostrum, which is another name for the beak of the cicada, which makes sense as rostrum means beak in Latin.


Red-Eye Cicada (Psaltoda moerens), aka Cherryeye cicada exist in South-Eastern Australia, and are known, obviously, for their red eyes.
Redeye cicada (Aleeta curvicosta). Photo by David Emery.
Photo by David Emery.

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