Cicada Mania

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

Cicada T-shirts

February 10, 2019

Huechys sanguinea

Filed under: Borneo | Burma | China | Cicadettini | Huechys | India | Indonesia | Malaysia | Michel Chantraine | Sumatra | Thailand — Dan @ 1:01 am

Huechys sanguinea is a cicada found in Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, and likely many other nations in Asia. There are at least 5 subspecies of this cicada. It is also known as the “medicinal cicada” because people use it as a medicine (see my translation below).

Photo by Michel Chantraine:
Huechys sanguinea


Body and legs black; front and face to head, two large spots to mesonotum — sometimes fused and covering the whole disk — and the abdomen, sanguineous; base of abdomen narrowly black.

Tegmina black, opaque; wings shining fuscous, sometimes almost black, the interior of the anal area always paler.

Rostrum passing the intermediate coxae; face moderately compressed, and very coarsely striate.

Long. excl. tegm. Male and Female 17 to 25 millim. Exp. tegm. 43 to 65 millim.

Here’s my translation, from French, of a note about the medicinal properties of the cicada. The original text comes from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadas:

According to Dr. Fumouze, “Huechys sanguinea, the Cicada sangiunolenta d’OIivier, is a very strong [common] insect in certain provinces of China, where it is harvested for the needs [valuable medicinal properties] of the species. In China, this insect would pass into China to enjoy curative properties, and it would be used chiefly in the treatment of rabies, but its value as much as the medicine against rabies is doubtful, but its action on the genitourinary organs seems to be certain, and this is what is in the fore, if the Huechys sanguinea would not yield a particular or similar active ingredient to the cantharides, what I can say now, it is because, by the procedures used to extract Cantharidin from cantharides, I have obtained no results, perhaps I will be later after that, but my first researches have not been completely unsuccessful, because I arrived to extract from Huechys sanguinea the material which gives to the abdominous teguments of this insect their magnificent yellow-orange color. This matter, which I will call Huechys’ red, is of a color exactly like that of the abdomen of the animal, as you can see by means of a sample which I put before your eyes. Huechys sanguinea also contains, but in smaller quantities, another yellowish, hygrometric dying material. “- Btdl. Soc. Ent. Fr. 1888, pp. xxii., xxiii.

TL;DR = “People use it to treat rabies, but it’s doubtful it actually works as a rabies treatment. It does work for its ‘Viagra-like’ properties. And its red pigment can be extracted.”

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadettinae
Tribe: Cicadettini
SubTribe: Huechysina
Genus: Huechys

  • Huechys sanguinea hainanensis Kato, 1931
  • Huechys sanguinea philaemata (Fabricius, 1803)
  • Huechys sanguinea sanguinea (Degeer, 1773)
  • Huechys sanguinea suffusa Distant, 1888
  • Huechys sanguinea wuchangensis Liu, 1940

For more information about this cicada, visit Cicadas of India.


  1. The description and location information comes from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadas by W. L. Distant. 1889-1892. Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.
  2. Species name information comes from Allen Sanborn’s Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha).
  3. Tribe information comes from: MARSHALL, DAVID C. et al.A molecular phylogeny of the cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) with a review of tribe and subfamily classification.Zootaxa, [S.l.], v. 4424, n. 1, p. 1—64, may 2018. ISSN 1175-5334. Available at:

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 (Illger, 1980) photos from Malaysia. The author of the image wishes to be anonymous.

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
Genus: Tacua
Species: Tacua speciosa
Subspecies: Tacua speciosa decolorata Boulard, 1994
Subspecies: Tacua speciosa speciosa (Illiger, 1800)

Recently updated Tribe information comes from: MARSHALL, DAVID C. et al.A molecular phylogeny of the cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) with a review of tribe and subfamily classification.Zootaxa, [S.l.], v. 4424, n. 1, p. 1—64, may 2018. ISSN 1175-5334. Available at:

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.”


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.


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.


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).

July 9, 2009

Cicada from Sumatra: ID them it you can

Filed under: Identify | Indonesia | Sumatra — Dan @ 5:19 am

Mr. Agus and Mr. Arga need your help identifying at least one of these cicadas.

The photo taken from Rejang land, its located at south west Sumatra, Sumatra island, Indonesia, with 600-700 above level sea.

Well, I found the pages the images came from. Looks like just the Green one (A) needs an ID.

Cicada A. Still unknown.

Cicada B. Tosena depicta.

Cicada C. Huechys sanguinea.

Cicada T-shirts

We use cookies on to provide you with an excellent user experience.
We will assume that you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy if you continue accessing our site.