Cicada Mania Facebook Twitter Twitter

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

October 11, 2018

Tacua speciosa

The Tacua speciosa is a beautiful cicada native to the countries Malaysia & Indonesia, and the islands Borneo & Sumatra, and likely other islands and nations of the area. Tacua speciosa are well known for their large size, opaque wings, black body, striking yellow/chartreuse pronotal collar, red cruciform elevation, and cyan or yellow tergites. There are two subspecies.

The name speciosa comes from the Latin word “specios” which means beautiful or showy.

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.

Check out this gallery of Tacua speciosa cicadas, which includes great images like this one:

Tacua speciosa from Malaysia (peace)

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Tacuini
Genera: Tacua
Species: Tacua speciosa
SubSpecies: Tacua speciosa decolorata Boulard, 1994
SubSpecies: Tacua speciosa speciosa (Illiger, 1800)

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, coastal 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.

Two Distinct Types:

This image comes from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadas by W. L. Distant. 1889-1892.
Tacua speciosa
Which is which in the photos and illustrations on this page? Can you tell?

Normal form (#9 in the image): “Tegmina [forewings] black, coastal membrane and venation dull reddish, outer margin narrowly creamy-white wings black, the outer margin (excluding anal area) creamy-white.”

Variety A (#10 in the image) “Tegmina and wings are greying-brown, the black coloration only observable around the veins.”

Size:

T. speciosa is one of the largest cicadas. According to the Distant’s description above — tegm.[forewings] 150 to 180 millim. That’s 5.9 to 7.1 inches. According to my own collection (I have 2). The male is 160mm (6.3″), and the female is 142mm (5.7″). Both are smaller than the Megapomponia and largest Tosena in my collection. T. speciosa cicadas are big, but not the biggest.

Song:

A video of a singing T. speciosa:

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 (I’ll spend the money on cicadas).

When and Where

The iNaturalist page for Tacua speciosa shows sightings on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and the Malay Peninsula.

Peak times are March-April.

Illustrations

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


Original Source: From Dictionnaire universel d’histoire naturelle. (Paris: Renard, 1841-1849) Orbigny, Charles d’, Author.


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.

An Illustration of Tacua speciosa from Genera Insectorum, 1913:

An illustration of Tacua speciosa from An epitome of the natural history of the insects of India : and the islands in the Indian seas by Edward Donovan:
. Note that one of its older names was Cicada indica!

Pop Culture

Pop culture note: this species of cicada was featured 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 lifecycle and is not a periodical cicada, but it might be proto-periodical (but most likely is an annual species).

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.

Illustration:

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.

Illustration:

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 Talainga 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.

And…

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.