Cicada Mania

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

December 5, 2018

Tanna japonensis japonensis (Distant, 1892)

Tanna japonensis japonensis (Distant, 1892) is a cicada found in Japan. There is another subspecies without a subspecies name (see below).

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cicadini
SubTribe: Leptopsaltriina (which means slender harp player in Greek)
Genus: Tanna
SubSpecies: Tanna japonensis japonensis (Distant, 1892)
SubSpecies: Tanna japonensis var. ______ Ishihara, 1939

Photo by Osamu Hikino
Photo by Osamu Hikino.

Tanna genus description by W. L. Distant in Genera Insectorum, 1913:

Characters. — Head (including eyes) narrower than base of mesonotum and about as long as space between eyes; lateral margins of pronotum angularly sinuate, but not prominently toothed ; abdomen much longer than space between apex of head and base of cruciform elevation; tympana covered ; opercula small, not or scarcely extending beyond base of abdomen; rostrum reaching the posterior coxae; tegmina and wings hyaline. Closely allied to Leptopsaltria, from which it differs by only having a lateral tubercle on the second and not on the third ventral segment, in other respects resembling the genus Pomponia.

According to iNaturalist observations they’re found in July and August.


  1. The illustration and genus description comes from the journal Genera Insectorum, and a specific article from 1913 by W. L. Distant titled Homoptera. Fam. Cicadidae, Subfam, Cicadinae. Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.
  2. Current species name verified using Allen Sanborn’s Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha).

July 9, 2017

Cicadas of Japan

Tibicen japonicus
Photo: Auritibicen japonicus by Osamu Hikino.

Cicada season in Japan, like North America, seems to be best from June to September, peaking in August. Different cicada species emerge at different times of the year, but the majority of them are active during the summer.

The best website for the cicadas of Japan that I’ve come across is Cicadae in Japan which is run by Y. Saisho who co-wrote the amazing The Cicadidae of Japan book & CD.

I don’t have too many photos of cicadas from Japan on this site, but here are some of the more well known (Genus names may have changed recently):

Auritibicen flammatus (formerly Tibicen flammatus, Lyristes flammatus)

Auritibicen  flammatus (formerly Tibicen flammatus, Lyristes flammatus)
Photo by Osamu Hikino.

Auritibicen japonicus (formerly Tibicen japonicus, Lyristes japonicus)

Male Auritibicen japonicus (formerly Tibicen japonicus, Lyristes japonicus)
Photo by Osamu Hikino.

Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata

Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata
Photo by Osamu Hikino.


Cicadas are very popular in Japan, and they find their way into pop culture (Anime, live action kids shows like Ultraman). This photo features a cicada toy when spun, makes a sound, some cicada clicker toys, a plush Oncotympana, a Seminingen (bad guy from Ultraman), and Yotsuba a green-haired girl who has caught a cicada (Lyristes japonicus perhaps):

cicada related pop culture items from Japan

Cicada News & Photos

The best place, I’ve found, to keep track of which cicadas are out in Japan is Twitter. You can search Twitter yourself for セミ and you’ll find many results — most Tweets are references to pop culture, but occasional photos and actual information about actual cicadas.

These are many of the Twitter feeds I follow. You don’t need to belong to Twitter to view their feeds, but it’s more fun if you join.


Here’s a video of a Yezoterpnosia nigricosta taken by Elias Bonaros: