Megapomponia merula (Distant, 1905) used to be know as Pomponia merula. Why did its genus change? Mega refers to the very large size of these cicadas. Michel Boulard created the Megapomponia Boulard, 2005 genus. Pomponia still exists (but those cicadas are smaller).
The image says Pomponia merula, but the newest name of this cicada is Megapomponia merula.
Not quite Mega, but here’s the Pomponia genus description by W. L. Distant:
Characters. — Head (including eyes) about as wide as base of mesonotum, its length about or nearly equal to space between eyes, ocelli much farther apart from eyes than from each other, front anteriorly convex and slightly prominent; pronotum with the lateral margins moderately ampliate and sinuate, the posterior angles dilated, a little shorter than mesonotum; mesonotum with the disk moderately convex; abdomen in male longer than space between apex of head and base of cruciform elevation; tympanal coverings complete; opercula in male short and transverse ; rostrum passing posterior coxae; anterior femora spined beneath; tegmina and wings hyaline, the first usually more or less maculate, basal cell longer than broad, apical areas eight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
A new paper by Michel Boulard & Stéphane Puissant has been released that describes Cicadmalleus micheli, aka the Hammmer-Head cicada of Thailand. As the name of the cicada suggests, the cicada’s head resembles a hammer. The cicada gets a new Tribe as well: Cicadmalleini.
Boulard M, Puissant S. Description du mâle de la Cigale-marteau, Cicadmalleus micheli Boulard & Puissant, 2013, et position systématique de l’espèce (Hemiptera, Cicadoidea, Cicadidae). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France, 121 (3), 2016 : 313-321.
It looks like a new sub-tribe, genus and species of cicada has been identified by Michel Boulard and Stéphane Puissant. Cicadmalleus micheli. The cicada has a head that looks like the head of a hammerhead shark! Cicadmalleus means “cicada hammer”, and micheli refers to Bruno Michel who found the cicada (thanks David Emery).
I heard the cicada was discovered in Thailand, which makes sense because that is where Michael Boulard does most of his research.
Cicadas of Thailand Volume 2: Taxonomy and Sonic Ethology by Michel Boulard is available now via Siri Scientific Press.
Cicadas of Thailand Volume 1 was a great resource for the cicadas of Thailand and South-East Asia in general (many Asian species are not endemic, so you’ll find them in many countries). I imagine that Volume 2 will be just as amazing.
A comprehensive 436 page volume from the leading world expert representing 13 years of work on taxonomy (including several newly described species) and sonic ethology, with supporting audio tracks
I ordered a copy already.
Here’s his first book Cicadas of Thailand: General and Particular Characteristics. Volume 1: