Cicada Mania

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

June 26, 2015

How to tell if a Cicada is a Male or Female?

Filed under: Anatomy | FAQs | Identify — Dan @ 4:43 am

Here is how to tell the difference between a male cicada and a female cicada (for most species):

1) Only males sing. If the cicada is singing, it is a male.

2) Look at their abdomen. If it comes to a point and has an ovipositor, it is a female.

This is an image comparing the abdomens of male and female Magicicada cicadas.

A detail of the genitals of two species of Magicicada

This image compares a male and a female Neotibicen lyricen. Note the difference in the curvature of the 7th sternite, the shape & location of the tymbal covers of the male, and the valvulae & ovipositor of the female.

Male and female Neotibicen:
male and female cicadas compared

Also, if the cicada is laying eggs in the branch of a tree, that’s proof that it’s a female. Here is a video of that:


  1. Lorie Opalanko says:

    We just recently saw many cicadas and some that were dying did not have part of their body. Are these the females after they have laid the egg? a few of the lets call them joints were missing and rest was hollow.

    1. Dan says:

      A lot of times birds or other predators yank their parts off, or their abdomen falls off due to a fungus infection.

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