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April 9, 2020

Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus (Say, 1825) aka Scissor(s) Grinder

Filed under: Neotibicen | Tacuini (Cryptotympanini) | United States — Tags: — Dan @ 4:58 pm

Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus (Say, 1825) aka Scissor(s) Grinder.

N. pruinosus
Photo by Paul Krombholz.

This is a Neotibicen pruinosus fulvus Beamer, 1924, for comparison:
Neotibicen fulvus by Bill Reynols
Photo by Bill Reynolds.

See all Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus images & information on

There’s another sub-species of pruinosus called Neotibicen pruinosus fulvus, that is lighter in coloring. N. linnei, N. winnemanna, and N latifasciatus closely resemble N. pruinosus.

Song type: Call

“z-zape, z-zape, z-zape”

Source: ©Insect Singers.

Video Playlist

Playlists contain multiple videos found on YouTube.

Name, Location and Description

Notes on the song of pruinosus by Wm. T. Davis:1

The song of pruinosa is quite unlike that of any of the other large native cicadas, and may be rendered as z-zape, z-zape, z-zape. The insect often remains quiet all day, singing from about 3 or 4 P. M. until dark.

Identification Key by Wm. T. Davis:1

A. Large, heavy bodied species ; head broad, uncus simple, and first cross vein in the fore wings starting from radius 3 far back, or about one third distant from base of first marginal cell.

B. Uncus longer than broad. Black species with green or greenish markings and black area on the central part of the abdomen beneath

C. Hind margin of pronotum or collar, green or greenish.

A narrow irregular area of black on the underside of the abdomen; opercula short and broad, and usually in the males an attenuated, pruinose stripe each side on the dorsum of segment three.

Teneral (soft) and sclerotized (hard) of an N. pruinosus

Teneral (soft) and sclerotized (hard) of an N. pruinosus
Photo by Paul Krombholz.


Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Cryptotympanini
Subtribe: Cryptotympanina
Genus: Neotibicen
Species: Neotibicen tibicen
Sub-species: Neotibicen pruinosus fulvus Beamer, 1924
Sub-species: Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus (Say, 1825)

List of sources

  1. Davis, W.T. 1918. Mississippi Cicadas, with a Key to the Species of the Southeastern United States. Journal of The New York Entomological Society. Vol. XXVI. Read on
  2. Full Binomial Names:
  3. Common names:; The Songs of Insects by Lang Elliott and Wil Herschberger; personal memory.
  4. Locations: Biogeography of the Cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of North America, North of Mexico by Allen F. Sanborn and Polly K. Phillips.
  5. Descriptions, Colors: personal observations from specimens or photos from many sources. Descriptions are not perfect, but may be helpful.


  • Some descriptions are based on aged specimens which have lost some or a lot of their color.


  1. John Lowes says:

    Scissor Grinders in Rochester Hills, Michigan. August 29, 2023

  2. Coleman says:

    I’ve heard and captured these in May. These cicadas are apparently out from May-October, at least in Northwest Louisiana.

    1. Dan says:

      Possible in Lousiana.

  3. Tut says:

    “Z-zape”? More like “reeee-a-reeee”. This is the sound I grew up with in the southeastern quarter of Iowa.

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