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February 21, 2019

Distantalna splendida splendida (Distant, 1878)

Distantalna splendida splendida is a cicada found in China, Thailand, India, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. It is formerly known as Tosena splendida. It is known in pop culture as the basis for the Cicada 3301 logo.

Photo by Dan Mozgai:
Distantalna splendida formerly Tosena splendida

Photo by Michel Chantraine:

This description comes from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadas by W. L. Distant. 1889-1892. Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website:

Body above black; front with a reddish spot at each basal angle; eyes, two small spots on vertex, four large spots to pronotum (two on disk and one at each posterior lateral angle) and two spots on disk of mesonotum,* luteous. Body beneath and legs black; lateral margins of the face, a wide central annulation to femora, and a central discal series of subtriangular spots, sanguineous.

Tegmina and wings— where not obscured by darker markings— pale hyaline, exhibiting varied opaline luster, which in some lights is found to be ornamented with close and regular series of transverse darker strife ; tegmina at base (narrowly) and costal membrane shining blackish ; venation bright luteous and for two-thirds from base broadly margined with shining blackish, and a series of shining blackish marginal spots on the apices of longitudinal veins to apical areas largest and somewhat fused at apex; claval area pale greenish. Wings pale greenish for nearly two-thirds their area from the base; remaining apical area shining blackish, enclosing a submarginal series of pale opaline spots, of which the largest are subapical.

Scientific classification:
Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadinae
Tribe: Ayuthiini (formerly Tosenini as of 20212)
Subtribe: Distantalnina
Genus: Distantalna
Species: Distantalna splendida splendida (Distant, 1878)


  1. Species name change information comes from Allen Sanborn’s Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha).
  2. New Tribe: Hill Kathy B. R., Marshall David C., Marathe Kiran, Moulds Maxwell S., Lee Young June, Pham Thai-Hong, Mohagan Alma B., Sarkar Vivek, Price Benjamin W., Duffels J. P., Schouten Marieke A., de Boer Arnold J., Kunte Krushnamegh, Simon Chris (2021) The molecular systematics and diversification of a taxonomically unstable group of Asian cicada tribes related to Cicadini Latreille, 1802 (Hemiptera:Cicadidae). Invertebrate Systematics 35, 570-601.

July 6, 2017

Cicada 3301 cicada compared to Distantalna splendida

Filed under: Distantalna | Identify | Pop Culture | Tosenini — Tags: , — Dan @ 9:08 pm

Today I took a fresh look at the 3301 Cicada image. In the past I thought it was a composition of multiple cicadas — and it still might be — but I now think it’s primarily a Distantalna splendida formerly Tosena splendida, a cicada found in southern Asia (China, India, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.). Distortions caused by embossing — or whatever filters they used — make identifying the cicada difficult.

Here’s my comparison of the wings.

cicada 3301

I will probably do a comparison of the body and head at some point.

Here’s a photo of this Splendid cicada:

Specimens vary in appearance (size, wing patterns) from individual to individual — they all look similar, but they’re not exact matches. The process of spreading a specimen’s wings and preserving it can also alter its appearance, and introduce unnatural changes to the insect’s morphology.

Distantalna splendida are easy to find on eBay or taxidermy shops if you’re interested, although they’re often mislabeled using their former name Tosena splendida, or something totally different.


Here’s an illustration from A Monograph of Oriental Cicadas by W. L. Distant. 1889-1892. Read it on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website:

3301 Cicada

More information about 3301: Cicada 3301 – solution.

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