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August 1, 2023

Megatibicen auletes is changing to Megatibicen grossus

Filed under: Megatibicen | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) — Tags: — Dan @ 10:20 am

Update: originally I had Megatibicen grossa, but the name is Megatibicen grossus so the gender of the words align.

Megatibicen auletes (Germar, 1834) aka Northern Dusk Singing Cicada is changing to Megatibicen grossus(Fabricius, 1775). This cicada is the largest cicada in North America and is found in the following states in July-August: AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI.

The change comes from the paper: Sanborn, A.F. (2023) Resolving taxonomic issues of cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) including new combinations, new synonymies, and revised status, with updates on the diversity of the Brazilian cicada fauna and new records for four South American countries. Zootaxa, VOL. 5318 NO. 3: 20 JUL. 2023, 339-362. DOI: 10.11646/ZOOTAXA.5318.3.2.

Megatibicen grossus (as in BIG FLUTE PLAYER BIG):
Old Ladies

Reading the paper referenced above, it sounds like Johan Christian Fabricius incorrectly identified an specimen as being from Brazil. He named it Tettigonia grossa in 1775. Allen F. Sanborn compared the holotype of Tettigonia grossa with the holotype for Megatibicen auletes (Cicada auletes) and determined it was the same insect. Since old names take precedence over new names, auletes become grossa.


  1. Angel says:

    So to clarify the name change is because they were previously dubbed grossa, and the name that was given to them later on was because they were thought to be a different species. But now we know they’re the same, so they now have the same name as their forefathers?

    1. Dan says:

      Here’s how I understand it:
      1) Johan Christian Fabricius obtained a cicada specimen in 1775 and named it Tettigonia grossa. He also thought it was from Brazil, not North America.
      2) Ernst Friedrich Germar, in 1834, described the same cicada and gave it the name auletes (maybe Cicada auletes; I don’t know the original genus name).
      3) Somewhere along the way the cicada was placed in the genus Tibicen and then Megatibicen.
      4) In 2023 Allen Sanborn, looked at the 1775 specimen, and determined it was actually an auletes, and since older species names take precedence, it’s name became Megatibicen grossa. Megatibicen auletes becomes a junior synonym.

      The cicada fans I know are not happy about the change, but “rules are rules”.

      1. Ömer Faruk says:

        I am sure that I have seen this “cicada” in Turkey, especially in the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. What is the species of this cicada in Turkey?

        1. Dan says:

          Looks like you have over 20 species of cicadas in Turkey. The species of cicada in Turkey that looks like Megatibicen auletes is the so-called Common Cicada aka Lyristes plebejus. Here are some photos on instagram

          and on this website:
          Lyristes plebejus photos

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