Cicada Mania

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

September 22, 2013

Cicada Season has begun in Australia

Filed under: Australia | Cyclochila | Cystosoma | David Emery | Pauropsalta — Dan @ 8:40 pm

David Emery wrote to let us know that cicada season has begun in parts of Australia:

After some 50mm of rain on 16-17 Sept and the warmest winter on record on the east coast, the “masked devil” morphs of Cyclochila australasiae were in good voice in the mountains west and south of Sydney, Australia on 22nd Sept. The bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii) are also rattling in Metro Sydney. These are about 2 weeks early this year as are several of the smaller grass cicadas and Pauropsalta species. Roll on summer!

Cheers, David.

Masked Devil cicada (Cyclochila australasiae):
Masked Devil cicada (Cyclochila australasiae)

More information about Cyclochila australasiae.

Bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii):
Bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii)

More information about Cystosoma saundersii.

Bottle Cicada (Chlorocysta sp.):
Bottle Cicada

More information about Bottle cicadas.

March 28, 2013

Drymopsalta hobsoni, a newly identified cicada in Australia

Filed under: Australia | News — Dan @ 6:19 pm

Drymopsalta hobsoni is a newly identified cicada found in Australia.

Drymopsalta hobsoni sp. nov. is one of three new species of cicada described this year by Tony Ewart and Lindsay Popple.* Tony and Lindsay had participated in a QPWS fauna survey at Bringalily State Forest, near Inglewood in southern inland Queensland. When returning to the site subsequently for a follow-up cicada search, Tony located the new cicada.

Learn more and see photos of this cicada in Robert Ashdown’s article New summer singers.

March 16, 2013

Tettigarcta tomentosa aka Tasmanian Hairy Cicada

Filed under: Australia | Tettigarcta — Dan @ 2:46 pm

There are two families of cicadas, Cicadidae (most cicadas) and Tettigarctidae (only two species). The two species in the Tettigarctidae family are Tettigarcta crinita, of southern Australia, and Tettigarcta tomentosa, of Tasmania. Cicadas of the family Tettigarctidae have ancestral morphology, similar to fossilized cicadas1. They are known for their hairy appearance.

Here are some morphological differences between the two cicada families:

family Tettigarcta Cicadidae
Tymbal (Makes the cicada’s noise) poorly developed in both sexes well developmed in males
Tympana (listening apparatus) no yes
Pronotum (covers the dorsal area of the thorax) expands over mesonotum ends at pronotal collar
Pronotal collar (separates pronotum from mesonotum) no yes
Cruciform elevation (a cross shaped structure on mesonotum) no yes

1See Allen F. Sanborn’s document Overview of Cicada Morphology for more information.

Here’s a photo of the Tettigarcta tomentosa from different angles (click the image for a closer view):

Tettigarctidae sp.

Tasmanian Hairy Cicada sightings on iNaturalist.

December 2, 2012

Blue Cicadas

Filed under: Anatomy | Australia — Dan @ 7:14 pm

Blue cicadas. Did you know they exist? They do… at least in Australia.

What’s That Bug recently posted a photo of a blue Bladder Cicada from Australia (Cystosoma saundersii). It’s a great find. Cystosoma saundersii are typically green.

Then there is the Blue Moon blue colored morph of Cyclochila australasiae:

Cyclochila australasiae, Blue Moon, by David Emery
Photo by David Emery

Cyclochila australasiae come in many colors, but the most common color is green. “Blue Moon” is a good nickname for these cicadas because they are rare and only found, idiomatically speaking, “once in a Blue Moon”.

So, why are some cicadas blue, when their species is typically green? Here is a quote from the paper Blue, red, and yellow insects by B. G. BENNETT, Entomology Division, DSIR, Private Bag, Auckland, New Zealand:

The colours of insects are often due to a complex mixture of pigments, some of which
are concentrated from their diet. These are carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthraquinones, and some are porphyrins made from the breakdown of plant chlorophyll. Insectoverdin is a common green pigment produced by a mixture of blue and yellow compounds. The blue is tetrapyrrole, but sometimes an anthocyanin, and the yellow is a carotenoid.

Blue + yellow = green. If the yellow is missing, you get a blue cicada. I heard that, at least in the case of the Cyclochila australasiae, the blue cicadas are typically females. Perhaps something related to genetics or behavior of the females leads to an inability to process the caroteniods ingested along with their diet (tree fluids). I’m not sure, but it’s a topic that fascinates me, so I’ll continue to look into it.

November 11, 2012

Great website: The cicadas of central eastern Australia

Filed under: Australia — Dan @ 6:42 am

If you are located in Australia and like cicadas, you should visit The cicadas of central eastern Australia, a website created by Lindsay Popple.

Popple’s website includes: photos, maps, range & season, habits, and recordings of the song of dozens of Australian cicadas. Very complete and well done.

The cicadas of central eastern Australia

The site was recommended to me by David Emery.

December 31, 2010

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: 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.

December 14, 2010

This is a razor grinder cicada (Henicopsaltria eydouxii)

Filed under: Australia — Dan @ 10:33 pm

A Razor Grinder found by Vicki Nunn in Gladstone.

More photos of Razor Grinders.

I wish I had a sound file to post.

Razor Grinder

The Razor Grinder is found in eastern Queensland and NSW, and most common in December & January (Moulds, M.S.. Australian Cicadas Kennsignton: New South Wales Press, 1990, p. 68.)

December 10, 2010

Multi-color Cyclochila australasiae

Filed under: Australia | Cyclochila — Dan @ 1:59 pm

Found on Flickr.



Addition to the display, originally uploaded by mgjefferies.

Red, orange, blue and green!

September 16, 2010

Bladder Cicadas out in Sydney

Filed under: Australia | Cystosoma | David Emery — Tags: , — Dan @ 7:19 pm

Thanks to David Emery for letting us know that the Bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii) are out in Sydney Australia, and for providing this photo.

Badder cicadas are emerging down the Aussie east coast starting around the Queensland -NSW border on Sept 3 (FlickR) and we heard them for the first time on Sept 10 in Sydney. A photo of one captured on Sept 12 is attached to refresh Cicadamania devotees.

Bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii)

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