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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).

December 30, 2012

Tosena Cicadas

Tosena is a genus of cicadas that can be found in the Indo-Malaya ecozone, which includes the Indian subcontinent, Southeastern Asia and southern China. Tosena cicadas have colorful wings, which rival the beauty of butterfly wings. Tosena are easily obtainable online from stores that sell insects, or ebay. The Tosena genus was first identified by Charles Jean-Baptiste Amyot & Jean Guillaume Audinet-Serville in 1843.

From A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant:

Tosena is one of the most conspicuous genera of the Cicadidae, and its species are all included in this fauna. The north-eastern districts of Continental India are its head-quarters, for here are focused some of the largest and handsomest of its species ; it is also well represented in Burma, and from thence its distribution is extended throughout the Malay Peninsula to the south, and apparently northward as far as some portions of China. In the Malayan Archipelago it is not uncommon in Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, and as I have seen representatives from Amboyna, it probably exists in other intervening islands, of which, however, we have at present no precise information.

Different types of Tosena:

Tosena albata:

Tosena albata
Photo by Michel Chantraine.

Photos of live T. albata.

Distinguishing features: Mustard colored pronotal collar, orange abdomen with a series of two black circular spots, and dark brown wings with one white stripe on each fore wing.

Habitat: Southeast Asia.

Tosena depicta:

Tosena depicta
Illustration from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant.

Photos of living T. depicta.

Distinguishing features: A vibrant green pronotal collar; an orange abdomen with a series of black markings; wings are dark brown to black, with the one white stripe on each fore wing, and a white anal lobe on each hind wing.

Phantastic songs of the S.E. Asian cicadas! website has an MP3 of a T. depicta singing.

Habitat: Southeast Asia.

Tosena dives

No photos (on this site), but I’ve seen them on the Cicadas of India Facebook page.

Distinguishing features: Brown wings, with one white stripe on each fore wing, and the hind wings are half orange.

Habitat: India.

Tosena fasciata

Tosena fasciata by Álvaro Lisón Gómez
Tosena fasciata by Álvaro Lisón Gómez Creative Commons License.

Photo of a live T. fasciata.

Distinguishing features: A pale orange pronotal collar; brown wings with one white stripe on each fore wing; an orange abdomen with one black spot; the the anal lobe of the hind wing appears lighter in color than the rest of the hind wing.

Habitat: Southeast Asia.

Tosena mearesiana

No photos.

Distinguishing features: See A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant

Habitat: India.

Tosena melanoptera

Photos of a live T. melanoptera.

Distinguishing features: Red eyes; white pronotal collar; pale brown stripe on dark brown fore wings.

Habitat: India & Southeast Asia.

Tosena monitvaga

No photos.

Distinguishing features: See A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant

Habitat: India.

Tosena paviei

Tosena paviei
Photo by Michel Chantraine.

A photo of a live T. paviei.

Distinguishing features: Red “mask” between eyes. Black wings, with one pale-orange stripe on each fore wing, light-orange veins, and hind wings that are half orange.

Habitat: Southeast Asia.

Distantalna splendida (formerly Tosena sibylla)

Technically speaking, the Tosena splendida is now Distantalna splendida. It has its own genus, and if you compare it visually to the other Tosena, you can see on reason why (no wing stripe).

Tosena sibylla
Illustration from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant.

Distinguishing features: See A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant

Habitat: Southeast Asia.

Tosena splendida

Tosena splendida
Photo by Michel Chantraine.

Tosena splendida
Illustration from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant.

A photo of a live T. splendida.

Distinguishing features: Pale green hind wings; Fore wings feature an intricate white, dark-brown, orange and yellow pattern based on the structure of the viens of the wing; red markings on legs; yellow markings on thorax.

Habitat: India, Southeast Asia.

Sources to learn more about Tosena cicadas:

  • The Book Cicadas of Thailand: General and Particular Characteristics. Volume 1 by Michel Boulard. This book mentions Tosena, in particular, many times, and in general it does an excellent job of discussing the anatomy, behavior and habitat of cicadas found in Thailand.
  • A Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae by W. L. Distant. (1889, Published by the Order of the Trustees of the Indian Museum of Calcutta).
  • Rhynchota: Heteroptera-Homopetera ( Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma ) by W. L. Distant (1906)
  • The Cicadas of India Facebook page