Update: a reminder that the World Cup Cicada will be back in 2018 (as will the World Cup)!
Chremistica ribhoi Hajong and Yaakop 2013 is a cicada that lives in the Ri-Boi district of India. C. ribhoi is known as the World Cup cicada because it emerges every four years in synch with the World Cup association football (soccer) tournament.
C. ribhoi is known locally as Niangtasar. It only lives in a very small area: Saiden village (N 25’51’37.1’’; E 091’51’16.3”) and Lailad (N 25’55’09.7” E 091’46’25.0”) situated on the northern part of the state of Meghalaya. The cicada can be identified by the presence of two white spots on either side of the anterior abdominal segment.
Researcher Sudhanya Hajong is gearing up to study these cicadas since this is the year they will emerge. Ri-Boi area locals use these cicadas as a food source and fish bait. These cicadas are threatened by deforestation (cutting down forests for agricultural purposes). Sudhanya plans to educate locals about conserving them and protecting their habitat.
Most of the facts in the post come from the following document: Hajong, S.R. 2013. Mass emergence of a cicada (Homoptera: Cicadidae) and its capture methods and consumption by villagers in ri-bhoi district of Meghalaya. Department of Zoology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong – 793 022, Meghalaya, India.
Thanks to Chris Simon of The Simon Lab at UCONN for providing the information that made this post possible.
Note: the image in this article is not an accurate depiction of C. ribhoi. :)
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More than a few people have asked Cicada Mania: “do cicadas pee”? Absolutely, cicadas do pee. There are a couple of reasons why:
They pee to eliminate excess fluids taken in while drinking xylem (1).
They pee to eliminate non-essential amino acids (2).
Underground, they could use excess fluid to help moisten and remold their tunnels & cells (2).
They might, in some cases, even use it to keep ants from attacking… (3)
You may have been under a cicada-filled tree on a sunny day and felt a sprinkle or two. Don’t worry, it is just watery tree sap (xylem) passed through a cicada.
A detailed explanation of the experience courtesy of Les Daniels:
I’ve experienced this several times where I was on the receiving end of this artificial rain. When many cicadas congregate on warm days, they feed on the tree fluids and often urinate ‘piss’ while doing so. This bug urine is called ‘honeydew.’ The little buggers have pelted me several times while I was observing a little ‘too’ close. It isn’t uncommon. Lastly, the ‘honeydew’ does not stain or stink. In fact, it feels like raindrops.
Some cicadas seem to pee more than others, for instance, the Chremistica umbrosa of South-East Asia. If you walk under an umbrosa, you will need an umbrella! (The Latin root of both words, umbr means shade). Here is a video of Chremistica umbrosa:
1Records Of The Cicada, Chremistica Umbrosa (Distant, 1904) In Singapore, With Accounts Of Its Mass Emergence (Homoptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae), Tzi Ming Leong, Aminurashid and Benjamin P. Y-H. Lee, NATURE IN SINGAPORE 2011 4: 163–175, 15 June 2011
2The Ecology, Behavior, And Evolution Of Periodical Cicadas, Kathy S. Williams and Chris Simon, Annu.Rev. Entomol. 1995. 40:269-95
3 The documentary The Queen of Trees by Deeble & Stone features a segment about Fig Cicadas, that expel pee, sweet with the phloem sap of the fig tree, which is enjoyed by ants and monkeys, which has the side benefit of keeping those predators and nuisances away.
Chremistica umbrosa can be found in South-East Asia, in particular Singapore. If you go to see them, bring an umbrella. I don’t know why these cicadas pee this often, but I imagine they are eliminating some toxin or waste or chemical (sugar, perhaps) that is not good for them.
Want to learn more about the cicadas of Singapore?
The National University of Singapore has six PDF documents about six species of cicadas living in Singapore. Each document contains photos of cicadas, and plenty of interesting information.
1) Record Of The Cicada, Purana usnani Duffels & Schouten In Singapore, With Preliminary Acoustic Analysis by Tzi Ming Leong (Nature In Singapore 2012 5: 13–17 Date Of Publication: 17 January 2012). Link: rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2012/2012nis013-017.pdf.
This document features photos of the P. usnani as well as analysis of their songs.
A video of Purana usnani singing:
2) Oviposition By The Black And Scarlet Cicada, Huechys sanguinea (De Geer, 1773) In Singapore by Tzi Ming Leong and Ali bin Ibrahim (Nature In Singapore 2011 4: 303–306 Date Of Publication: 18 October 2011). Link: rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2011/2011nis303-306.pdf.
Huechys sanguinea is a small but beautiful black and red cicada. This document features photos of an H. sanguinea ovipositing (laying eggs) in a tree branch.
An image of H. sanguinea, which can be found in Singapore, Thailand and other S.E. Asian countries (and often in acrylic keychains on ebay).
3) Records Of The Cicada, Chremistica umbrosa (Distant, 1904) In Singapore, With Accounts Of Its Mass Emergence by Tzi Ming Leong, Aminurashid and Benjamin P. Y-H. Lee (Nature In Singapore 2011 4: 163–175 Date Of Publication: 15 June 2011). Link: rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2011/2011nis163-175.pdf.
This document features information about distribution, emergence, bio-acoustics, communal feeding, and predation.
Here’s a video of an aggregation C. umbrosa urinating and singing:
4) Records Of The Black And Golden Cicada, Huechys fusca Distant, 1892 In Singapore, With Natural History Observations by Tzi Ming Leong, Mishak Shunari, Laurence Y. K. Leong, and Sai Khoon Foo (Nature In Singapore 2011 4: 203–211 Date Of Publication: 8 July 2011). Link: rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2011/2011nis203-211.pdf.
This document features information about emergence, bio-acoustics, mating, and oviposition of Huechys fusca.
A video of Huechys fusca singing:
5) Records Of The Black And Scarlet Cicada, Huechys sanguinea (De Geer) In Singapore, With Notes On Its Emergence by Ali bin Ibrahim and T. M. Leong (Nature In Singapore 2009 2: 317–322 Date Of Publication: 5 August 2009). Link: rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2009/2009nis317-322.pdf.
This document features observations of Huechys sanguinea. Huechys sanguinea is a beautiful cicada.
6) The Jade-Green Cicada, Dundubia vaginata (Fabricius, 1787) In Singapore, With Notes On Emergence, Bioacoustics, And Mating by Tzi Ming Leong, Mishak Shunari, Aminurashid and Timothy D. Harvey-Samuel (Nature In Singapore 2011 4: 193–202 Date Of Publication: 5 July 2011). Link: rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2011/2011nis193-202.pdf.
This document features information about emergence, bio-acoustics, and mating of Dundubia vaginata. Dundubia are known for there huge opercula (the structures on their abdomen that cover the cicada’s tympanum (tympanum are a cicada’s ear drums).
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