Cicada Mania

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

March 17, 2019

Lyristes plebejus or Tibicen plebejus?

Lyristes plebejus is a cicada found in most of Europe and middle-eastern Asia. There is an ongoing debate over its genus. Some say Lyristes, and some say Tibicen. I don’t have an opinion on the matter, but most folks in Europe say Lyristes plebejus, so I’m leading with that name.

Photo of an adult Lyristes plebejus by Iván Jesus Torresano García:
Lyristes plebejus

Photo of a molting Lyristes plebejus by Iván Jesus Torresano García:
Molting

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
SubTribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Lyristes or Tibicen
Species: Lyristes plebejus (Scopoli 1763) or Tibicen plebejus (Scopoli 1763)

According to iNaturalist this cicada is around between June and August. Peak in July.

For more photos of this cicada, visit this gallery of photos by Iván Jesus Torresano García.

For more information about this cicada, visit SONGS OF EUROPEAN SINGING CICADAS.

February 17, 2019

French Cicada

Filed under: Cicada Mania,Cryptotympanini,France,Lyristes,Tibicen — Dan @ 8:00 am

Cicada Mania has been around since 1996. It’s lived on at least five different domains (cicadamania.com is the current domain). Lots of history. Yesterday I was looking at old versions of the site on archive.org’s Wayback machine, which created archives of websites. I came across this post from 2001 and thought “these photos are not on the current site, let me upload them.

So here’s a copy of the original post, approximately 18 years later.

BTW, the cicada is Lyristes/Tibicen plebejus.

French Cicada

Cicada Experts, try to ID this French cicada!

Hello, In the south of France last week I saw a big insect. From the moment it climbed up a flower (picture 1) till the moment it became the one of picture 2 (10 hours later) I made 300 pictures with my Sony Mavica. Some questions; a) is this a cicada b) if so, whats the name c) do you know a site where I can find the sound of this species d) who could be interested in my pictures of the complete metamorphosis Greetings, H. Bakkenes Holland.

Tibicen/Lyristes plebejus

Tibicen/Lyristes plebejus

[Adding the old “back to top” cicada for fun.]

Back to top

December 19, 2018

Tibicen nigriventris (Walker, 1858)

Tibicen nigriventris (Walker, 1858) is a cicada found in Mexico and Costa Rico.

Tibicen nigriventris was formerly known as Cicada nigriventris.

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
SubTribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Tibicen
Species: Tibicen nigriventris (Walker, 1858)


The image says Cicada nigriventris, but the newest name of this cicada is Tibicen nigriventris.

References:

  1. The illustration comes from Biologia Centrali-Americana. Insecta. Rhynchota. Hemiptera-Homoptera. Vol. 1. By W. L. Distant F.E.S. and The Rev. Canon W. W. Fowler, F.L.S. (1881-1905). Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.
  2. Species name verification comes from Allen Sanborn’s Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha).

December 18, 2018

Tibicen oleacea (Distant, 1891)

Tibicen oleacea (Distant, 1891) is a cicada found in Mexico.

Tibicen oleacea was formerly known as Cicada oleacea and Fidicina oleacea.

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
SubFamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
SubTribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Tibicen
Species: Tibicen oleacea (Distant, 1891)

References:

  1. The illustration comes from Biologia Centrali-Americana. Insecta. Rhynchota. Hemiptera-Homoptera. Vol. 1. By W. L. Distant F.E.S. and The Rev. Canon W. W. Fowler, F.L.S. (1881-1905). Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.
  2. Species name verification comes from Allen Sanborn’s Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha).

June 24, 2017

Dog Day Cicadas

Filed under: Neotibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 9:22 am

Dog Day cicadas
Photo credit: N. canicularis (Dog-Day cicada) and N. davisi (Southern Dog-Day cicada) by Paul Krombholz. N. superbus by Sloan Childers.

Dog-day cicada is the common name given to Tibicen (now Neotibicen) type cicadas in North America. These cicadas are called “Dog Day” because they are typically observed during the “Dog Days of Summer“, which fall somewhere between late July to early September, or once the “Dog Star” Sirius appears in the morning sky. All Neotibicen species are present during the month of August in North America.

Here is a list of Neotibicen.

Dog-day cicadas are known for their green, brown, black & white coloration that provides them with excellent camouflage in the trees they inhabit.

Dog-day cicada is used generally to describe most Neotibicen, but a few species are explicitly named Dog-day:

  • Neotibicen canicularis aka the Dog-day cicada. Canicularis is Latin for “of the dog star”, and the dog star is Sirius. Found in AR, CT, DC, IL, IN, IA, KS, ME, MB, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NB, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, NS, OH, ON, PA, PE, QC, RI, SC, SD, TN, VT, VA, WV, WI. Season: August-October.
  • Neotibicen davisi, aka the Southern Dog-day cicada. There are two sub-species. Found in AL, DE, DC, FL, GA, LA, MD, MA, MS, NJ, NY, NC, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV. Season: July-October.
  • Neotibicen superbus aka the Superb Dog-day cicada. Found in AR, KS, LA, MO, NM, OK, TX. Season: June-August.
  • Neotibicen auriferus, aka the Plains Dog-day Cicada. Found in AR, KS, MO, NE, NM, OK, TX. Season: July-September.
  • Neotibicen similaris, aka Similar Dog-Day Cicada. Found in AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC. Season: June-September.

Neotibicen superbus (Fitch, 1855)
Photo credit: Neotibicen superbus by Sloan Childers

These cicadas do not actually appear the moment Sirius rises, and when they do appear depends on your location and the weather. Neotibicen canicularis will appear in Arkansas before it appears in Quebec. That said, if you are curious when Sirius will rise in your area, search for “heliacal rising of sirius” — it varies about a day per degree of latitude. Neotibicen, depending on the species, can be found from May to December (December in Florida), but all Neotibicen species are present during the month of August in North America.

February 26, 2017

New species of Megatibicen: Megatibicen harenosus

Filed under: Jeffrey A. Cole,Megatibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 6:32 am

A new species of Megatibicen, named Megatibicen harenosus sp. n., has been described by Jeffrey A. Cole. It lives in the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands areas of New Mexico and Texas. It is very similar to Megatibicen (Neotibicen, Tibicen) tremulus, which itself looks a lot like dorsatus and dealbatus.

Here’s a link to the announcement of the paper. This is the abstract:

Megatibicen harenosus sp. n. is described from the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands of New Mexico and Texas, U.S.A. The new species is diagnosed from similar species, especially M. tremulus which it resembles closely, by male genital morphology, color pattern, calling song, and ecology. Seven characters from the male calling song are described from analysis of field recordings, of which all four temporal song characters are significantly different from M. tremulus. With one of the most southwestern distribution of any Megatibicen species, M. harenosus is a new addition to the rich, endemic, and understudied Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands biota. The possibility that M. harenosus and M. tremulus are sister species is raised. The ecological, biological, and evolutionary species concepts support species status for M. harenosus, and an hypothesis of peripatric speciation in peripheral isolation is advanced.

There is a sample of this cicada’s song on the Insect Singers website. Check it out.

December 4, 2016

Gigatibicen, Ameritibicen, Paratibicen

Filed under: Lyristes,Megatibicen,Neotibicen,Tibicen,Young June Lee — Dan @ 11:10 am

Gigatibicen
For some reason I associate “Giga” with “Gigabytes” and storage media like Flash drives, which explains this joke image.

Over the past two years there have been quite a few updates to the genera of the cicadas that were organized under the Tibicen genus earlier this decade.

The most recent paper by Young June Lee introduces the genera Gigatibicen, Ameritibicen, and Paratibicen 1. Earlier this year there was a paper by Allen Sanborn and Maxine Heath that introduced the genus Megatibicen 3, and in 2015 there was a paper by Kathy Hill and others that introduced Neotibicen and Hadoa 2.

See the end of the article for links to these papers, and related articles on CicadaMania.com.

The table below shows the names/synonyms (sub species have been removed to keep the table compact):

(Tibicen circa 2014) Hill (2015)2 Sanborn, Heath (2016)3 Lee (2016)1
Tibicen auletes Neotibicen auletes Megatibicen auletes Gigatibicen auletes
Tibicen auriferus Neotibicen auriferus no change no change
Tibicen canicularis Neotibicen canicularis no change no change
Tibicen cultriformis Neotibicen cultriformis Megatibicen cultriformis Ameritibicen cultriformis
Tibicen davisi davisi Neotibicen davisi no change no change
Tibicen dealbatus Neotibicen dealbatus Megatibicen dealbatus Ameritibicen dealbatus
Tibicen dorsatus Neotibicen dorsatus Megatibicen dorsatus Ameritibicen dorsatus
Tibicen figuratus Neotibicen figuratus Megatibicen figuratus Ameritibicen figuratus
Tibicen latifasciatus Neotibicen latifasciatus no change no change
Tibicen linnei Neotibicen linnei no change no change
Tibicen lyricen engelhardti Neotibicen lyricen no change no change
Tibicen pronotalis pronotalis Neotibicen pronotalis Megatibicen pronotalis Ameritibicen pronotalis
Tibicen pruinosus fulvus Neotibicen pruinosus no change no change
Tibicen resh Neotibicen resh Megatibicen resh Gigatibicen resh
Tibicen resonans Neotibicen resonans Megatibicen resonans Gigatibicen resonans
Tibicen robinsonianus Neotibicen robinsonianus no change no change
Tibicen similaris Neotibicen similaris no change Paratibicen similaris
Tibicen superbus Neotibicen superbus no change no change
Tibicen tibicen australis Neotibicen tibicen no change no change
Tibicen tremulus Neotibicen tremulus Megatibicen tremulus Ameritibicen tremulus
Tibicen winnemanna Neotibicen winnemanna no change no change
Tibicen bifidus Hadoa bifida no change no change
Tibicen chiricahua Hadoa chiricahua no change no change
Tibicen duryi Hadoa duryi no change no change
Tibicen inauditus Hadoa inaudita no change no change
Tibicen longioperculus Hadoa longiopercula no change no change
Tibicen neomexicensis Hadoa neomexicensis no change no change
Tibicen parallelus Hadoa parallela no change no change
Tibicen simplex Hadoa simplex no change no change
Tibicen texanus Hadoa texana no change no change
Tibicen townsendii Hadoa townsendii no change no change
  • 1 Lee, Y.J. 2016. Description of three new genera, Paratibicen, Gigatibicen, and Ameritibicen, of Cryptotympanini (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) and a key to their species Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1 December 2016, Pages 448–454. Link to Paper.
  • 2 Hill, et al. 2015. Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae), Zootaxa, Volume 3985, Issue 2, Pages 219–251. Link to Paper
  • 3 Sanborn A.F., Heath, M.S. 2016. Megatibicen n. gen., a new North American cicada genus (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae: Cryptotympanini), Zootaxa, Volume 4168, Issue 3. Link to Paper

December 2, 2015

The Smaller Neotibicen

Filed under: Cryptotympanini,Identify,Neotibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 10:32 pm

This is my third, and possibly final, article on identifying Neotibicen, using the information on this website. Read the other articles, Identifying Neotibicen and Megatibicen (formerly Neotibicen).

Identifying the smaller Neotibicen is no easy task — with two exceptions.

The two easy ones are:

1) Neotibicen superbus, aka the Superb Cicada, because it looks like no other cicada in this group. It is pea green with bright yellow arches on its mesonotum. No other Neotibicen shares that coloration. No other cicada in the group sounds quite like it either.

Superb Cicada
Photo by Sloan Childers.

2) Neotibicen latifasciatus, aka Coastal Scissors Grinder Cicada, because it has a white X (pruinose) on its back. Otherwise, it looks like four other cicadas, kinda like four more, and sounds like three others.

While I’ve never heard an actual scissor being sharpened with a grinder, it must sound like the repetitive, rhythmic, short grinding sounds like cicada makes. Grind, Grind, Grind, Grind.

Neotibicen latifasciatus
Photo by me of Bill Reynolds’ collection.

The rest of the small Neotibicen closely resemble each other enough to make many scratch their heads in wonder. BugGuide.net organizes these cicadas into four groups4: the “Green Tibicen Species” (Tibicen is the old genus name for these cicadas), “Southern Dog-day Cicadas”, “Swamp Cicadas”/”The chloromerus Group”, and the “Lyric Cicadas”/”The lyricen Group”. I’ll use these groups for this article for consistency sake. These groups are also closely related genetically1, although Neotibicen similaris, which BugGuide puts under “Southern Dog-day Cicadas”, is a bit of an outlier1. Tables below might be a bit overwhelming — but they help to accurately align the similarities between these cicadas.

As you browse this page, if you click the cicada’s name you’ll be brought to a page that features more information about that cicada, including sound files, location information, links to other websites, and often more photos and video. When in doubt: visit the BugGuide Dog Day Cicada page.

The Green Neotibicen

These Neotibicen all share green markings on their pronotum, mesonotum, and pronotal collars. Find a Neotibicen with a green collar, and there’s a good chance it is one of these. As you can see, these insects are well camouflaged for adult life in trees.

Green Neotibicen
Photo credits l to r: Roy Trountman, Tom Lehmkuhl , Paul Krombholz, me.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. canicularis (Harris, 1841) aka Dog-day Cicada

The canicularis varies the most in terms of coloration. Some are very dark, with more black than green, and others have an even amount of green and black.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. latifasciatus (Davis, 1915) aka Coastal Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada

If the cicada has a white X on its back, it is a latifasciatus.
Repetitive, rhythmic, call – like someone repeatedly running a scissor over a grinding wheel (I suppose).
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. linnei (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Linne’s Cicada

Known for the bend of their wing.

Linne’s cicada’s call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fades back down.
N. tibicen australis
N. tibicen tibicen

It sounds like the N. tibicen species, but unlike them, it calls from high in the trees.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. pruinosus fulvus Beamer, 1924 aka Yellow morph of Scissor Grinder.

This cicada should look like the other cicadas in this table, but its coloring is more yellow than green, like a teneral Scissor Grinder.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna
N. pruinosus pruinosus (Say, 1825) aka Scissor(s) Grinder

The Scissor Grinder looks a lot like Linne’s Cicada but their wing doesn’t have the bend that Linne’s Cicada has. The Scissor Grinder also seems to have more of an orange coloration to the “arches” on its mesonotum.
Its call is like N. latifasciatus, but it is faster paced.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. winnemanna
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna

N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. robinsonianus Davis, 1922 aka Robinson’s Annual Cicada or Robinson’s Cicada

Robinson’s Cicada looks like Linne’s Cicada with less of a wing bend, and a different call.
Its call is kind of like N. latifasciatus, but much more raspy.
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. winnemanna

N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. winnemanna (Davis, 1912) aka Eastern Scissor(s) Grinder

Like the Scissor Grinder, the Eastern Scissor Grinder seems to have more of an orange hue to the arches on its mesonotum, perhaps even more so than the Scissor Grinder.
Its call is similar to the Scissor Grinder.
N. latifasciatus
N. pruinosus fulvus
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi


Neotibicen canicularis (Green Group) and Neotibicen davisi (Southern Dog Day Group) compared. Photo by Paul Krombholz

Southern Dog Day

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. auriferus (Germar, 1834) aka Plains Dog-day Cicada

Coloration varies from rusty browns to greens.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. davisi davisi
N. davisi harnedi
N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. davisi davisi (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada

The davisi comes in a wide variety of colors: from rusty browns to greens.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi harnedi
N. auriferus
N. davisi harnedi
N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. davisi harnedi Davis, 1918

Looks like Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada but with slight differences in the wings.
Sounds like an angle grinder tool grinding something.
N. auriferus
N. canicularis
N. davisi davisi
N. auriferus
N. davisi davisi

N. canicularis
N. latifasciatus
N. linnei
N. pruinosus pruinosus
N. robinsonianus
N. winnemanna
N. superbus (Fitch, 1855) aka Superb Dog-Day Cicada

This cicada is the most unique looking: solid green with prominent yellow arches on its back.
Its call is so unique, you’ll have to listen to it and decide what it sounds like.
N. similaris (Smith and Grossbeck, 1907) aka Similar Dog-Day Cicada

This cicada is similar to the Neotibicen tibicen species in shape (hump back) and coloring.
N. tibicen tibicen

Swamp Cicadas / Morning Cicadas

Swamp Cicadas are often the easiest cicadas to find because they prefer to stay in the lower branches of trees. Listen for one, and you’ll likely be able to spot it in the tree above you.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. tibicen tibicen (Linnaeus, 1758) aka Swamp Cicada

Swamp Cicadas are are known for their rounded, humped back. Their coloration varies from mostly black & some green to black, brown and green. Their collar is usually black, but can include green.
Its call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fizzles out.
N. linnei
N. tibicen australis
N. tibicen australis N. similaris
N. tibicen australis (Davis, 1912) aka Southern Swamp Cicada

Southern Swamp Cicadas look like Swamp Cicadas, but they are more colorful. Their collars are often green & black.
Its call builds up — a crescendo — peaks, and then fizzles out.
N. linnei
N. tibicen tibicen
N. tibicen tibicen N. similaris

Lyric compared to Swamp Cicada

Lyric Cicada and Swamp Cicada compared
Top: Swamp Cicada; Bottom: Lyric Cicada. Note the more rounded shape of the Swamp Cicada’s mesonotum, and its green eyes; and the flatter shape of the Lyric cicada’s mesonotum, and its black eyes. Photo by me.

Lyric Cicadas

The Lyric Cicadas all look physically similar, but their coloration is unique enough to tell them apart. They usually have brown/black collars, which makes it easy to tell them apart from the “Green” Neotibicen. They also resemble the Swamp Cicadas, but Lyric cicadas have flatter mesonotums.

Two Dark Lyric Cicadas on Left, and a Lyric Cicada on the Right.
Lyric cicadas compared
Photos L or R: Dan M, Roy Troutman, Dan M.

Cicada Sounds Like Looks Like Looks Kind of Like
N. lyricen engelhardt (Davis, 1910) aka Dark Lyric Cicada

The Dark Lyric Cicadas have the darkest coloration of all the Lyric cicadas. Their mesonotum is almost entirely dark brown/black. They have a “soda-pop pull-tab” or keyhole shape on their pronotum.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen lyricen
N. lyricen virescens
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen lyricen
N. lyricen virescens
N. lyricen lyricen (De Geer, 1773) aka Lyric Cicada

The Lyric cicada, like most small Neotibicen, has a green, black & brown camouflage look, but the key is Lyric cicadas typically have black collars.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens
N. lyricen virescens Davis, 1935 aka Coastal Lyric Cicada

The Coastal Lyric cicadas can be distinguished from other Lyric cicadas by their vibrant turquoise-green colors.
Its sound is like an angle grinder tool steadily grinding a slightly uneven surface.
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen lyricen
N. tibicen tibicen
N. lyricen engelhardti
N. lyricen virescens

1Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219–251. Link to PDF.

3 Cicadas of the United States and Canada East of the 100th Meridian.

4Bug Guide.net’s Dog Day Cicadas Page.

###

I will update & augment this article over time.

For more information about these cicadas, visit the North American Cicadas page and our U.S.A. & Cicada Search Page

November 23, 2015

Identifying Neotibicen Cicadas

Filed under: Cryptotympanini,Identify,Neotibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 8:12 pm

Identifying cicadas can be quite challenging, especially cicadas belonging to the Neotibicen genus. Different Neotibicen species often look and sound alike, and it takes a lot of practice before one gets good at identifying them. I only know 5 or 6 people in the world that I would trust to tell a Neotibicen winnemanna from a Neotibicen pruinosus, for example, because their songs and visual appearance are so similar.

In this article, I will first point out various sources where you can learn about the different Neotibicen species. Then I will discuss the basic terminology used when describing cicadas. Last, I will discuss some challenges with identifying them. Subsequent articles will discuss the specific species and subspecies.

Resources

The best sources for identifying Neotibicen, are:

  • Insect Singers for audio recordings of cicada songs.
  • The work of Bill Reynolds and others on BugGuide.net, for example, the Info page for N. pruinosus. BugGuide is particularly useful for getting a cicada identified — you upload a photo, and they identify it. You can also try to figure it out yourself by browsing their catalog of images.
  • The recent paper Molecular phylogenetics, diversification, and systematics of Tibicen Latreille 1825 and allied cicadas of the tribe Cryptotympanini, with three new genera and emphasis on species from the USA and Canada (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae) by Kathy B. R. Hill, David C. Marshall, Maxwell S. Moulds & Chris Simon. 2015, Zootaxa 3985 (2): 219–251. (link to the paper). This paper is useful for understanding the morphology of Neotibicen as well as how the various species are genetically related.
  • Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips. (Download PDF). This document is particularly useful for locations.
  • The Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea: Cicadidae) of N. America North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Maxine S. Heath. (the book is available here)
  • INaturalist provides visual guidence, as well as having where and when cicadas are found.

You can also use this website as a resource. The Cicada Species of North America and USA & Canada Cicada Search are useful.

Terminology

  • Eyes: Neotibicen have 5 eyes, but for the purposes of identification, the two big, composite eyes are most important.
  • Mask: a mask, in terms of cicadas, is a dark band between their eyes. Not all cicadas have this, but when they do, it can be useful for identification.
    Mask
  • Pronotum: the dorsal surface of the first segment of the thorax. The word means “before back” in Greek.
  • Pronotal Collar or simply Collar: a collar-like band that separates the head and thorax. Colors and a break in the color, can be useful to diagnose species,
    Pronotal Color Break
  • Mesonotum: a shield-shaped structure that covers the dorsal side of the second segment of the thorax. The name means “middle shield” in Greek. This is where the arches or “M” appears on the cicada.
  • Cruciform Elevation: a cross-shaped structure found on the dorsal side at the end of the thorax
  • Pruinose: a white, waxy substance found on the bodies of many cicadas. Pruinosity refers to the degree to which the cicada’s body features pruinose.
  • Costal Margin & Wing Shape in general: The costal margin is the outer edge of the cicada’s forewing. The shape of the wing can help you diagnose the species. Wing Bend
  • Abdomen: The third, last and final portion of the cicada’s body (1st: head, 2nd: thorax, 3rd: abdomen).
  • Dorsal: The top side of the cicada.
  • Ventral: The bottom side of the cicada — where the legs are.
  • Teneral: Teneral means soft, and in the case of cicadas, it refers to the adult cicada when it has recently molted and is still soft/unsclerotized/unhardened.
  • Song: Neotibicen males sing using their tybmals, which are drum-like organs located in their abdomen.

Cicada Anatomy

Those are the resources and terminology — now on to the challenges.

Rules are not absolute

Sometimes a diagnostic characteristic is fool-proof for the majority of identifications, but in some cases, it fails.

Example: N. lyricen typically have black collars, but not 100% of the time. You might find a lyricen with a green collar, and think it is an N. linnei.

Hybridization

Neotibicen like canicularis, linnei, pruinosus, robinsonianus & winnemanna, are closely related, and cicada researchers have found evidence that they hybridize, based on hybrid songs or mixed characteristics.

See Bill Reynolds’ information on hybrids on BugGuide.

Live vs. Dead

Dead specimens lose color over time. Eyes lose color. Vibrant greens become dull. Dull greens become yellow or brown. Keep that in mind.

Teneral vs Adult

When cicadas molt, and their bodies as still soft, they are often lighter in color and the markings on their skin are not clearly defined.

2 hours of change

Some previous articles about identifying teneral Neotibicen:

Lighting

Photograph the same cicada in direct sunlight, indoors with a flash, or without a flash under fluorescent lighting, and it might appear different each time.

The eyes, in particular, look different under different lighting conditions.

Name changes

The names of all plants and animals change over time, for several reasons. An old book or paper about Neotibicen might feature names that have completely changed. Neotibicen tibicen tibicen, for example, was called Tibicen chloromera not long ago.

See major changes to the Tibicen genera for information about the recent change from Tibicen to Neotibicen. I haven’t had to the time to update all the Tibicens to Neotibicens on this website — someday I will.

And in case you wanted to know:

How to tell if a Neotibicen is a male or female.

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The next article will discuss the Larger Neotibicen species.

August 16, 2015

Color variations in Neotibicen tibicen tibicen

Filed under: Neotibicen,Tibicen — Dan @ 8:25 am

Color variations in chloromera
The cicada on the Left was found in Middletown NJ, and the cicada on the Right in Metuchen, NJ. Middletown is closer to the ocean than Metuchen is, but both share a similar elevation and vegetation.

It is interesting to note the color variation found in Neotibicen tibicen tibicen aka chloromera aka Swamp Cicada aka Hunch-Back cicada.

In some areas the dorsal side of N. tibicen tibicen can be almost all black, while in other locations their pronotums & mesonotums feature vibrant greens & rusty browns — you can even make out the “M” on the mesonotum.

There may have been cross breeding between the Southern Swamp Cicada (Neotibicen tibicen australis), at some point in time, providing some Neotibicen tibicen tibicen with more colorful appearance. Read Intergrade zones with australis on BudGuide for more information on that possibility.

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