Cicada

Cicada

Encyclopedia
A cicada is an insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

 of the order Hemiptera
Hemiptera
Hemiptera is an order of insects most often known as the true bugs , comprising around 50,000–80,000 species of cicadas, aphids, planthoppers, leafhoppers, shield bugs, and others...

, suborder Auchenorrhyncha
Auchenorrhyncha
The Auchenorrhyncha is the suborder of the Hemiptera which contains most of the familiar members of what was called the Homoptera - groups such as cicadas, leafhoppers, treehoppers, planthoppers, and spittlebugs. The aphids and scale insects are the other well-known "Homoptera", and they are in...

 (which was formerly included in the now invalid order Homoptera
Homoptera
Homoptera is a deprecated suborder of order Hemiptera; recent morphological studies and DNA analysis strongly suggests that the order is paraphyletic. It was therefore split into the suborders Sternorrhyncha, Auchenorrhyncha, and Coleorrhyncha....

), in the superfamily Cicadoidea, with large eyes wide apart on the head and usually transparent, well-veined wings. There are about 2,500 species of cicada around the world, and many of them remain unclassified. Cicadas live in temperate to tropical climates where they are among the most widely recognized of all insects, mainly due to their large size and unique sound. Cicadas are often colloquially called locusts, although they are unrelated to true locusts, which are a kind of grasshopper
Grasshopper
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper...

. Cicadas are related to leafhopper
Leafhopper
Leafhopper is a common name applied to any species from the family Cicadellidae. Leafhoppers, colloquially known as hoppers, are minute plant-feeding insects in the superfamily Membracoidea in the order Hemiptera...

s and spittlebugs
Froghopper
The froghoppers, or the superfamily Cercopoidea, are a group of Hemipteran insects, in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha. Traditionally, most of this superfamily was considered a single family, Cercopidae, but this family has been split into three separate families for many years now: the Aphrophoridae,...

.

Cicadas are benign to humans under normal circumstances and do not bite
Bite
A bite is a wound received from the mouth of an animal, including humans.Animals may bite in self-defense, in an attempt to predate food, as well as part of normal interactions. Other bite attacks may be apparently unprovoked. Self inflicted bites occur in some genetic illnesses such as...

 or sting
Stinger
-Biology:* Stinger, an organ or body part found in various animals that usually delivers some kind of venom.* Stinger , a minor neurological injury suffered by athletes.-Sports and entertainment:...

 in a true sense, but may mistake a person's arm
Arm
In human anatomy, the arm is the part of the upper limb between the shoulder and the elbow joints. In other animals, the term arm can also be used for analogous structures, such as one of the paired forelimbs of a four-legged animal or the arms of cephalopods...

 or other part of their body for a tree or plant limb and attempt to feed. Cicadas have a long proboscis
Proboscis
A proboscis is an elongated appendage from the head of an animal, either a vertebrate or an invertebrate. In simpler terms, a proboscis is the straw-like mouth found in several varieties of species.-Etymology:...

 under their head which they insert into plant stems in order to feed on sap
Sap
Sap may refer to:* Plant sap, the fluid transported in xylem cells or phloem sieve tube elements of a plant* Sap , a village in the Dunajská Streda District of Slovakia...

. It can be painful if they attempt to pierce a person's skin with it, but it is unlikely to cause other harm. It is unlikely to be a defensive reaction and is a rare occurrence. It usually only happens when they are allowed to rest on a person's body for an extended amount of time.

Cicadas can cause damage to several cultivated crops, shrubs, and trees, mainly in the form of scarring left on tree branches while the females lay their eggs deep in branches. Many people around the world regularly eat cicadas. They are known to have been eaten in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 as well as China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, and the Congo
Congo Basin
The Congo Basin is the sedimentary basin that is the drainage of the Congo River of west equatorial Africa. The basin begins in the highlands of the East African Rift system with input from the Chambeshi River, the Uele and Ubangi Rivers in the upper reaches and the Lualaba River draining wetlands...

. Female cicadas are prized for being meatier. Shells of cicadas are employed in the traditional medicines of China.

Name



The name is a direct derivation of the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 cicada, meaning "tree cricket". There is no word of proper English, or indeed Germanic, etymology for the insect. In classical Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, it was called a tettix, and in modern Greek tzitzikas—both names being onomatopoeic.

Taxonomy


Cicadas are arranged into two families: Tettigarctidae
Tettigarctidae
The family Tettigarctidae, also known as the hairy cicadas is a small relictual family of primitive cicadas, containing a single genus Tettigarcta with two extant species, one in southern Australia , and the other in Tasmania ....

(q.v.) and Cicadidae. There are two extant species of Tettigarctidae, one in southern Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and the other in Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

. The family Cicadidae is subdivided into the subfamilies Tettigadinae, Tibiceninae
Tibiceninae
The Tibiceninae are a subfamily of cicadas, containing the covered-tymbal cicadas. In some treatments this group is merged whole or in part with the Cicadinae .-Notable taxa:Tribe Cryptotympanini* Genus Chremistica...

, Cicadinae
Cicadinae
The Cicadinae are a subfamily of cicadas, containing the translucent cicadas. They are robust cicadas and many have gaudy colors, but they generally lack the butterfly-like opaque wing markings found in many species of the related Tibiceninae....

, and Cicadettinae, and they exist on all continents except Antarctica.

The largest cicadas are in the genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Pomponia
Pomponia (cicada)
Pomponia is a genus of cicada, a family of insects. Most of the largest types of cicadas are in this genus....

and Tacua
Tacua
Tacua is a genus of cicada, a family of insects. This, along with Pomponia are the largest cicadas....

. There are some 200 species in 38 genera in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, about 450 in Africa, about 100 in the Palaearctic, and exactly one species in England, the New Forest
New Forest
The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England. It covers south-west Hampshire and extends into south-east Wiltshire....

 cicada, Melampsalta montana, widely distributed throughout Europe. There are about 150 species in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

Most of the North American species are in the genus Tibicen
Tibicen
The Tibicen genus of cicadas are large-bodied Cicadidae appearing in late summer or autumn. Like other members of the subfamily Cicadinae, they have loud, complex songs, even distinct song phrases. Tibicen are the most common cicada in the United States...

: the annual "or jar fly" or dog-day
Dog Days
"Dog Days" are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the warmest summer temperatures. In the Southern Hemisphere, they typically occur in January and...

 cicadas
(so named because they emerge in late July and August).
The best-known North American genus is Magicicada
Magicicada
Magicicada is the genus of the 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas of eastern North America. They are sometimes called "17-year locusts", although cicadas belong to order Hemiptera, while locusts are Orthoptera....

, however. These periodical cicadas have an extremely long life cycle of 13 to 17 years and emerge in large numbers
Predator satiation
Predator satiation is an antipredator adaptation in which prey occur at high population densities, reducing the probability of an individual organism being eaten....

. Another American species is the Apache cicada, Diceroprocta apache.

Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n cicadas differ from many other types because of that continent's diversity of climate and terrain. In Australia, cicadas are found on tropical islands and cold coastal beaches around Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

; in tropical wetlands; high and low deserts; alpine areas of New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 and Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

; large cities like Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, and Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

; and Tasmanian highlands and snowfields.

Forty-two species from five genera populate New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, and all are endemic to New Zealand and the surrounding islands (Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. The island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but it enjoys a large degree of self-governance...

, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

). Many New Zealand cicada species differ from those of other countries by being found high up on mountain tops.

Description


The adult insect, known as an imago
Imago
In biology, the imago is the last stage of development of an insect, after the last ecdysis of an incomplete metamorphosis, or after emergence from the pupa where the metamorphosis is complete...

, is usually 2 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) long, although some tropical species can reach 15 cm (6 in), e.g. Pomponia imperatoria from Malaysia. Cicadas have prominent eyes set wide apart on the sides of the head, short antennae
Antenna (biology)
Antennae in biology have historically been paired appendages used for sensing in arthropods. More recently, the term has also been applied to cilium structures present in most cell types of eukaryotes....

 protruding between or in front of the eyes, and membranous front wings
Insect wing
Insects are the only group of invertebrates known to have evolved flight. Insects possess some remarkable flight characteristics and abilities, still far superior to attempts by humans to replicate their capabilities. Even our understanding of the aerodynamics of flexible, flapping wings and how...

. Also, commonly overlooked, cicadas have three small eyes, or ocelli, located on the top of the head between the two large eyes that match the colour of the large eyes.
Desert cicadas are also among the few insects known to cool themselves by sweating, while many other cicadas can voluntarily raise their body temperatures as much as 22 °C (71.6 °F) above ambient temperature.

Cicada song



Male cicadas have loud noisemakers called "tymbal
Tymbal
Tymbal is a term for a corrugated exoskeletal structure used to produce sounds in insects. In male cicadas, the tymbals are membranes in the abdomen, responsible for the characteristic sound produced by the insect...

s" on the sides of the abdominal
Abdomen
In vertebrates such as mammals the abdomen constitutes the part of the body between the thorax and pelvis. The region enclosed by the abdomen is termed the abdominal cavity...

 base. Their "singing" is not the stridulation
Stridulation
Stridulation is the act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts. This behavior is mostly associated with insects, but other animals are known to do this as well, such as a number of species of fishes, snakes and spiders...

 (where one structure is rubbed against another) of many other familiar sound-producing insects like crickets
Cricket (insect)
Crickets, family Gryllidae , are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets . They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. There are about 900 species of crickets...

: the tymbals are regions of the exoskeleton
Exoskeleton
An exoskeleton is the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal's body, in contrast to the internal skeleton of, for example, a human. In popular usage, some of the larger kinds of exoskeletons are known as "shells". Examples of exoskeleton animals include insects such as grasshoppers...

 that are modified to form a complex membrane with thin, membranous portions and thickened "ribs". Contracting the internal tymbal muscles produces a clicking sound as the tymbals buckle inwards. As these muscles relax, the tymbals return to their original position producing another click. The interior of the male abdomen is substantially hollow to amplify the resonance of the sound. A cicada rapidly vibrates these membranes, and enlarged chambers derived from the tracheae
Invertebrate trachea
The invertebrate trachea refers to the open respiratory system composed of spiracles, tracheae, and tracheoles that terrestrial arthropods have to transport metabolic gases to and from tissues....

 make its body serve as a resonance
Resonance
In physics, resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate at a greater amplitude at some frequencies than at others. These are known as the system's resonant frequencies...

 chamber, greatly amplifying the sound. The cicada modulates the sound by positioning its abdomen toward or away from the substrate. Additionally, each species has its own distinctive "song".

Average temperature of the natural habitat for this species is approximately 29 °C (84.2 °F). During sound production, the temperature of the tymbal muscles was found to be slightly higher. Cicadas like heat and do their most spirited singing during the hotter hours of a summer day, in a roughly 24 hour cycle
Circadian rhythm
A circadian rhythm, popularly referred to as body clock, is an endogenously driven , roughly 24-hour cycle in biochemical, physiological, or behavioural processes. Circadian rhythms have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria...

.

Although only males produce the cicadas' distinctive sound, both sexes have tympana
Tympanal organ
A tympanal organ is a hearing organ in insects, consisting of a membrane stretched across a frame backed by an air sac and associated sensory neurons...

, which are membranous structures used to detect sounds and thus the cicadas' equivalent of ears. Males can disable their own tympana while calling.

Some cicadas produce sounds up to 120 dB (SPL) "at close range", among the loudest of all insect-produced sounds. This is especially notable as their song is technically loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss in humans, should the cicada sing just outside the listener's ear (unlikely). Conversely, some small species have songs so high in pitch that the noise is inaudible to humans. Species have different mating songs to ensure they attract the appropriate mate. It can be difficult to determine from which direction(s) cicada song is coming, because the low pitch carries well and because it may, in fact, be coming from many directions at once, as cicadas in various trees all raise one another to make noise in unison. Although relatively loud, cicada song can be comforting and even hypnotic at times, as it is at its loudest during the hottest time of an already hot day.

In addition to the mating song, many species also have a distinct distress call, usually a somewhat broken and erratic sound emitted when an individual is seized. A number of species also have a courtship song, which is often a quieter call and is produced after a female has been drawn by the calling song.

Life cycle



After mating, the female cuts slits into the bark of a twig, and into these she deposits her eggs. She may do so repeatedly, until she has laid several hundred eggs. When the eggs hatch, the newly hatched nymphs
Nymph (biology)
In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis before reaching its adult stage. Unlike a typical larva, a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult. In addition, while a nymph moults it never enters a...

 drop to the ground, where they burrow. Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts from two to five years. Some species have much longer life cycles, such as the North American genus, Magicicada
Magicicada
Magicicada is the genus of the 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas of eastern North America. They are sometimes called "17-year locusts", although cicadas belong to order Hemiptera, while locusts are Orthoptera....

, which has a number of distinct "broods" that go through either a 17-year or, in some parts of the world , a 13-year life cycle, both being prime numbers
Prime number
A prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. For example 5 is prime, as only 1 and 5 divide it, whereas 6 is composite, since it has the divisors 2...

. These long life cycles perhaps developed as a response to predators
Predation
In ecology, predation describes a biological interaction where a predator feeds on its prey . Predators may or may not kill their prey prior to feeding on them, but the act of predation always results in the death of its prey and the eventual absorption of the prey's tissue through consumption...

, such as the cicada killer wasp
Sphecius
Cicada killer wasps are large, solitary, ground dwelling, predatory wasps. They are so named because they hunt cicadas and provision their nests with them, after stinging and paralyzing them. There are 21 species worldwide...

 and praying mantis
Mantis
Mantis is the common name of any insect in the order Mantodea, also commonly known as praying mantises. The word itself means "prophet" in Latin and Greek...

. A predator with a shorter life cycle of at least two years could not reliably prey upon the cicadas.

Cicadas live underground as nymphs
Nymph (biology)
In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis before reaching its adult stage. Unlike a typical larva, a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult. In addition, while a nymph moults it never enters a...

 for most of their lives, at depths ranging from about 30 cm (1 ft) down to 2.5 m (about 8.5 ft). The nymphs feed on root juice and have strong front legs for digging.

In the final nymphal instar
Instar
An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each molt , until sexual maturity is reached. Arthropods must shed the exoskeleton in order to grow or assume a new form. Differences between instars can often be seen in altered body proportions, colors, patterns, or...

, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then molt
Ecdysis
Ecdysis is the moulting of the cuticula in many invertebrates. This process of moulting is the defining feature of the clade Ecdysozoa, comprising the arthropods, nematodes, velvet worms, horsehair worms, rotifers, tardigrades and Cephalorhyncha...

 (shed their skins) on a nearby plant for the last time and emerge as adults. The abandoned exoskeleton remains, still clinging to the bark of trees.

Diet


Cicada nymphs suck xylem
Xylem
Xylem is one of the two types of transport tissue in vascular plants. . The word xylem is derived from the Classical Greek word ξυλον , meaning "wood"; the best-known xylem tissue is wood, though it is found throughout the plant...

 from the roots of various species of tree, including oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, cypress
Cypress
Cypress is the name applied to many plants in the cypress family Cupressaceae, which is a conifer of northern temperate regions. Most cypress species are trees, while a few are shrubs...

, ash, and maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

. While it is common folklore that adults do not eat, in reality they do have their own sucking mouthparts, and also drink plant sap.

Predation


Cicadas are commonly eaten by birds, and sometimes by squirrels, but Massospora cicadina
Massospora Cicadina
Massospora cicadina is a fungal disease that affects the 13- and 17-year cicada. The fungus lies dormant in the ground for either 13 or 17 years before becoming active. It is one of the most lethal threats to cicadas. The first batch of affected cicadas makes contact with the spores underground....

(a fungal disease) is the biggest enemy of cicadas. Another known predator is the cicada killer wasp
Sphecius
Cicada killer wasps are large, solitary, ground dwelling, predatory wasps. They are so named because they hunt cicadas and provision their nests with them, after stinging and paralyzing them. There are 21 species worldwide...

. In eastern Australia, the native freshwater fish Australian bass
Australian bass
Australian bass are a small to medium sized, primarily freshwater native fish found in coastal rivers and streams along the east coast of Australia. They are a member of the Percichthyidae family and, currently, the Macquaria genus. Australian bass are an iconic, highly predatory native fish...

 are keen predators of cicadas that crash-land on the surface of streams.

Some species of cicada also have an unusual defense mechanism to protect themselves from predation, known as predator satiation
Predator satiation
Predator satiation is an antipredator adaptation in which prey occur at high population densities, reducing the probability of an individual organism being eaten....

: by many emerging at once, whereas there are no cicadas around for much of the year, the number of cicadas in any given area exceeds the amount predators can eat; all available predators are thus satiated, and the remaining cicadas can breed in peace.

Cicadas in Australia



Around 220 cicada species have been identified in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, many of which go by fanciful common names such as: cherry nose, brown baker, red eye (Psaltoda moerens
Psaltoda moerens
The redeye is an Australian species of cicada. It is distributed through the south-east of Australia, from southern Queensland to South Australia, as well as Tasmania. Populations can vary greatly between years; one year they may be present in large numbers and the next they may be entirely absent...

), green grocer/green Monday, yellow Monday, whisky drinker, double drummer
Double Drummer
Thopha saccata, commonly known as the double drummer, is an Australian cicada native to Queensland and New South Wales . It is the largest Australian cicada, and the loudest cicada in the world . They are brown in colour with a black pattern across the back...

 (Thopha saccata), and black prince. The Australian green grocer, Cyclochila australasiae
Cyclochila australasiae
Cyclochila australasiae, commonly known as the green grocer, is a species of cicada and one of Australia's most familiar insects. It is distributed through coastal regions of southeastern Australia...

, is among the loudest insects in the world.

Being principally tropical insects, most Australian species are found in the northern states. However, cicadas occur in almost every part of Australia: the hot wet tropical north; Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

n snowfields; Victorian beaches and sand dunes such as Torquay and deserts. (Some species such as the Green Grocer are not restricted to coastal or desert zones in Victoria. Each year for a period of a few weeks, an astonishing number of newly mature Green Grocer Cicadas emerge from the ground. Their numbers, combined with the ear shattering noise produced by a single adult male, are sufficient to make their entrance throughout suburbia absolutely unmistakable and 'Cicada Season' as some Victorian residents know this time, is clearly noticeable even in CBD areas of major cities such as Bendigo and Melbourne where this species flourish). According to Max Moulds of the Australian Museum
Australian Museum
The Australian Museum is the oldest museum in Australia, with an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology. It features collections of vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, as well as mineralogy, palaeontology, and anthropology...

 in Sydney: "the 'green grocer' is unusual in its ability to adapt perfectly to the urbanized environment." Cicada sounds are a defining quality of Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, and Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

 during late spring and the summer months.

Cicadas inhabit both native and exotic plants, including tall trees, coastal mangroves, suburban lawns, and desert shrubbery. The great variety of flora and climatic variation found in north-eastern Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 results in its being the richest region for the spread of different species. The area of greatest species diversity is a 100 km (60 mi) wide region around Cairns. In some areas, they are preyed on by the cicada-hunter
Exeirus
The Australian cicada killer, Exeirus lateritius , is a large, solitary, ground-dwelling, predatory wasp. It is related to the more common American genus of cicada killers, Sphecius. In Australia, E...

 (Exeirus lateritius), which stings and stuns cicadas high in the trees, making them drop to the ground where the cicada-hunter mounts and carries them, pushing with its hind legs, sometimes over a distance of a hundred meters, till they can be shoved down into its burrow, where the numb cicada is placed onto one of many shelves in a 'catacomb', to form the food-stock for the wasp grub that grows out of the egg deposited there.

Symbolism


In France, the cicada is used to represent the folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 of Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

 and Mediterranean cities (although some species live in Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 or the Paris Basin
Île-de-France (province)
The province of Île-de-France or Isle de France is an historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history...

).

In the Ancient Greek myth
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Tithonus
Tithonus
In Greek mythology, Tithonus or Tithonos was the lover of Eos, Titan of the dawn. He was a Trojan by birth, the son of King Laomedon of Troy by a water nymph named Strymo . The mythology reflected by the fifth-century vase-painters of Athens envisaged Tithonus as a rhapsode, as the lyre in his...

 eventually turns into a cicada after being granted immortality, but not eternal youth, by Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

.

The cicada has represented since classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

. Jean de La Fontaine
Jean de La Fontaine
Jean de La Fontaine was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional...

 began his collection of fables Les fables de La Fontaine with the story La Cigale et la Fourmi (The Cicada and the Ant) based on one of Aesop
Aesop
Aesop was a Greek writer credited with a number of popular fables. Older spellings of his name have included Esop and Isope. Although his existence remains uncertain and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a...

's fables: in it the cicada spends the summer singing while the ant stores away food, and finds herself without food when the weather turns bitter.

In Japan, the cicada is associated with the summer season. The songs of the cicada are often used in Japanese film and television to indicate the scene is taking place in the summer. The song of Meimuna opalifera, called "tsuku-tsuku boshi", is said to indicate the end of summer, and it is called so because of its particular call. During the summer, it is a pastime for children to collect both cicadas and the shells left behind when moulting.

Since the cicada emerges from the ground to sing every summer, in Japan it is seen as a symbol of reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

. Of special importance is the fact that the cicada moults, leaving behind an empty shell. But furthermore, since the cicada only lives for the short period of time long enough to attract a mate with its song and complete the process of fertilization, they are seen as a symbol of evanescence.

In the Japanese novel The Tale of Genji
The Tale of Genji
is a classic work of Japanese literature attributed to the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century, around the peak of the Heian period. It is sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel, the first psychological novel or the first novel still to be...

, the title character poetically likens one of his many love interests to a cicada for the way she delicately sheds her scarf the way a cicada sheds its shell when molting. A cicada shell also plays a role in the manga
Manga
Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...

 Winter Cicada
Winter Cicada
is a Japanese anime OVA loosely based on Youka Nitta's manga series .The U.S. broadcast rights to the OVA have been licensed to Logo, MTV Networks' LGBT cable channel, and premiered on October 31, 2008.-Synopsis:...

. They are also a frequent subject of haiku
Haiku
' , plural haiku, is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:* The essence of haiku is "cutting"...

, where, depending on type, they can indicate spring, summer, or fall. Also, in the series Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
, known simply as When They Cry for the North American release of the anime adaptation, is a Japanese murder mystery dōjin soft sound novel series produced by 07th Expansion. The games are built on the NScripter game engine and are playable on Microsoft Windows PCs...

, cicadas (or higurashi) are a major subject.

In China, the phrase 'to shed off the golden cicada skin'(金蝉脱壳, pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

: Jīn Chán tuōké) is the poetic name of the tactic of using deception to escape danger, specifically of using decoys (leaving the old shell) to fool enemies. It became one of the 36 classic Chinese strategems. In the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in...

, Diaochan
Diaochan
Diaochan was one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. She was said to have been born in 161 or 169 or 176, depending on the source. However, unlike the other three beauties, there is no known evidence that suggests her existence, therefore she is likely to be a fictional character.Diaochan...

 also got her name from the sable (diāo) tails and jade decorations in the shape of cicadas (chán), which at the time adorned the hats of high-level officials. In the Chinese classic Journey to the West
Journey to the West
Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. It was written by Wu Cheng'en in the 16th century. In English-speaking countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by Arthur Waley...

, the protagonist Priest of Tang was named the Golden Cicada; in this context the multiple shedding of shell of the cicada symbolizes the many stages of transformation required of a person before all illusions have been broken and one reaches enlightenment. This is also referred to in Japanese mythical ninja lore, as the technique of utsusemi (i.e., literally cicada), where ninjas would trick opponents into attacking a decoy.

In Mexico, the mariachi
Mariachi
Mariachi is a genre of music that originated in the State of Jalisco, in Mexico. It is an integration of stringed instruments highly influenced by the cultural impacts of the historical development of Western Mexico. Throughout the history of mariachi, musicians have experimented with brass, wind,...

 song "" (lit. "The Cicada") romanticises the insect as a creature that sings until it dies.

In Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, the Italian word for the cicada () is the euphemism for "vagina" used by children (the usage is equivalent to "fanny" in British/Australian English).

In 2004, "cicada" ranked 6th in Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year.

Culinary use


Cicadas have been eaten in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, the Congo
Congo Basin
The Congo Basin is the sedimentary basin that is the drainage of the Congo River of west equatorial Africa. The basin begins in the highlands of the East African Rift system with input from the Chambeshi River, the Uele and Ubangi Rivers in the upper reaches and the Lualaba River draining wetlands...

 and in the United States. In North China
North China
thumb|250px|Northern [[People's Republic of China]] region.Northern China or North China is a geographical region of China. The heartland of North China is the North China Plain....

, cicadas are skewered, deep fried
Deep frying
Deep frying is a cooking method in which food is submerged in hot oil or fat. This is normally performed with a deep fryer or chip pan; industrially, a pressure fryer or vacuum fryer may be used....

 or stir fried as a delicacy
Delicacy
A delicacy is a food item that is considered highly desirable in certain cultures. Often this is because of unusual flavors or characteristics or because it is rare....

.

Genera



  • Abagazara
  • Abricta
  • Abroma
  • Adeniana
  • Aestuansella
  • Afzeliada
  • Ahomana
  • Akamba
  • Albanycada
  • Aleeta
  • Ambragaeana
  • Amphipsalta
    Amphipsalta
    Amphipsalta is a genus of cicada in the family Cicadidae, endemic to New Zealand. -Species:* Amphipsalta cingulata * Amphipsalta strepitans * Amphipsalta zelandica...

  • Anapsaltodea
  • Angamiana
  • Arcystasia
  • Arenopsaltria
  • Arfaka
  • Arunta
  • Auta
  • Ayuthia
  • Azanicada
  • Babras
  • Baeturia
  • Balinta
  • Bavea
  • Beameria
  • Becquartina
  • Bijaurana
  • Birrima
  • Brevisiana
  • Burbunga
  • Buyisa
  • Cacama
  • Calopsaltria
  • Calyria
  • Capcicada
  • Carineta
  • Chinaria
  • Chlorocysta
  • Chonosia
  • Chremistica
    Chremistica
    Chremistica is a genus of cicadas from Southeast Asia and Madagascar. Its distribution encompasses India, Sri Lanka, continental South East Asia, Taiwan, Philippines, Malayan Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands, viz., Lombok, Sumba, Sumbawa and Timor, and Sulawesi, while...

  • Chrysocicada
  • Cicada
  • Cicadatra
  • Cicadetta
  • Cicadivetta
  • Cigarra
  • Clidophleps
  • Coata
  • Conibosa
  • Cornuplura
  • Cosmopsaltria
  • Crassisternata
  • Cryptotympana
  • Cyclochila
  • Cystopsaltria
  • Cystosoma
  • Daza
  • Decebalus
  • Derotettix
  • Diceroprocta
  • Diceropyga
  • Diemeniana
  • Dilobopyga
  • Dinarobia
  • Dorachosa
  • Dulderana
  • Dundubia
  • Durangona
  • Elachysoma
  • Euryphara
  • Euterpnosia
  • Fidicina
  • Formotosena
  • Fractuosella
  • Froggattoides
  • Gaeana
  • Gazuma
  • Gerodi
  • Glaucopsaltria
  • Graptotettix
  • Guaranisaria
  • Gudanga
  • Guineapsaltria
  • Gymnotympana
  • Hemidictya
  • Henicopsaltria
  • Henicotettix
  • Herrera
  • Higurashi
  • Hilaphura
  • Hovana
  • Huechys
  • Hylora
  • Illyria
  • Imbabura
  • Inyamana
  • Ioba
  • Iruana
  • Jacatra
  • Jafuna
  • Jassopsaltria
  • Jiraiya
  • Kanakia
  • Karenia
  • Katoa
  • Kikihia
    Kikihia
    Kikihia is a genus of cicada in the family Cicadidae, endemic to New Zealand.-Species:* Kikihia angusta * Kikihia cauta * Kikihia cutora cumberi Fleming, 1973* Kikihia cutora cutora...

  • Klapperichicen
  • Kobonga
  • Koma
  • Kongota
  • Koranna
  • Kumanga
  • Lacetas
  • Lembeja
  • Lemuriana
  • Leptopsalta
  • Leptopsaltria
  • Ligymolpa
  • Lisu
  • Luangwana
  • Lycurgus
  • Lyristes
  • Macrosemia
  • Macrotristria
  • Magicicada
    Magicicada
    Magicicada is the genus of the 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas of eastern North America. They are sometimes called "17-year locusts", although cicadas belong to order Hemiptera, while locusts are Orthoptera....

  • Malagasia
  • Malgachialna
  • Malgotilia
  • Maoricicada
    Maoricicada
    Maoricicada is a genus of cicada in the family Cicadidae, endemic to New Zealand.-Species:* Maoricicada alticola Dugdale and Fleming 1978* Maoricicada campbelli * Maoricicada cassiope...

  • Mapondera
  • Mardalana
  • Marteena
  • Masupha
  • Maua
    Maua (genus)
    Maua is a genus of cicadas from Southeast Asia.-List of species:*Maua affinis Distant, 1905*Maua albigutta *Maua albistigma *Maua borneensis Duffels, 2009*Maua latilinea...

  • Mauricia
  • Megapomponia
  • Meimuna
  • Melampsalta
  • Mendozana
  • Mogannia
  • Monomatapa
  • Mouia
  • Muda
  • Musimoia
  • Musoda
  • Munza
  • Nabalua
    Nabalua
    Nabalua is a genus of cicadas from Southeast Asia.-List of species:*Nabalua borneensis Duffels, 2004*Nabalua maculata Duffels, 2004*Nabalua mascula *Nabalua neglecta Moulton, 1923*Nabalua sumatrana Duffels, 2004...

  • Nablistes
  • Nelcynadana
  • Neocicada
  • Neomuda
  • Neoplatypedia
  • Nosola
  • Notopsalta
    Notopsalta
    Notopsalta is a small genus of cicada in the family Cicadidae, endemic to eastern Australia and the North Island of New Zealand.-Species:* Notopsalta atrata...

  • Novemcella
  • Okanagana
  • Okanagodes
  • Orapa
  • Orientopsaltria
    Orientopsaltria
    Orientopsaltria is a genus of cicadas from Southeast Asia. Its distribution encompasses the Malayan Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, Palawan and the Philippines -List of species:*Orientopsaltria agatha...

  • Oudeboschia
  • Owra
  • Oxypleura
  • Pacarina
  • Paectira
  • Pagiphora
  • Paharia
  • Panka
  • Paragudanga
  • Paranistria
  • Parnisa
  • Parnkalla
  • Parvittya
  • Pauropsalta
  • Pinheya
  • Platylomia
    Platylomia
    Platylomia is a genus of cicadas from Southeast Asia.-List of species:*Platylomia constanti Lee, 2009*Platylomia maxima Lee, 2009...

  • Platypedia
  • Platypleura
    Platypleura
    The cicada genus Platypleura occurs widely across Africa and southern Asia. Some of the South African species are remarkable for their endothermic thermoregulation that enables crepuscular signalling, an adaptation that reduces risk of predation and enables a greater range for their calls...

  • Plautilia
  • Pomponia
    Pomponia (cicada)
    Pomponia is a genus of cicada, a family of insects. Most of the largest types of cicadas are in this genus....

  • Prasia
  • Procollina
  • Prosotettix
  • Prunasis
  • Psallodia
  • Psaltoda
  • Psilotympana
  • Purana
    Purana (genus)
    Purana is a genus of cicadas from Southeast Asia. Its distribution includes Java, Sumatra, Borneo, The Philippines, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, India, Indochina, China, and Japan. Only one species has been recorded east of the Wallace Line, Purana celebensis, from Sulawesi...

  • Puranoides
  • Pycna
  • Quesada
  • Quintilia
  • Rhinopsalta
  • Rhodopsalta
    Rhodopsalta
    Rhodopsalta is a genus of cicada in the family Cicadidae. It is endemic to New Zealand.-Species:* Rhodopsalta cruentata * Rhodopsalta leptomera * Rhodopsalta microdora -References:* *...

  • Rustia
  • Salvazana
  • Sapantanga
  • Saticula
  • Scieroptera
  • Selymbria
  • Severiana
  • Sinosena
  • Sinotympana
    Sinotympana incomparabilis
    Sinotympana incomparabilis is a new species of cicada from southern China that was discovered among a group of unidentified specimens in the in Brussels. It is the only species in the genus Sinotympana....

  • Soudaniella
  • Spoerryana
  • Stagea
  • Stagina
  • Stellenboschia
  • Subpsaltr
  • Systophlochius
  • Tacua
    Tacua
    Tacua is a genus of cicada, a family of insects. This, along with Pomponia are the largest cicadas....

  • Taipinga
  • Takapsalta
  • Talainga
  • Tamasa
  • Taphura
  • Tanna
    Tanna (cicada)
    Tanna is a genus of cicadas. This genus has different eight species. The eight species are:*Tanna infuscata*Tanna japonensis*Tanna karenkonis*Tanna ornatipennis*Tanna sayurie*Tanna sozanensis*Tanna taipinensis...

  • Terengganua
  • Terpnosia
  • Tettigades
  • Tettigarcta
  • Tettigetta
  • Tettigomyia
  • Tettigotoma
  • Thaumastopsaltria
  • Thopha
  • Tibicen
    Tibicen
    The Tibicen genus of cicadas are large-bodied Cicadidae appearing in late summer or autumn. Like other members of the subfamily Cicadinae, they have loud, complex songs, even distinct song phrases. Tibicen are the most common cicada in the United States...

  • Tibicina
  • Tibicinoides
  • Tosena
    Tosena
    Tosena is a genus of cicadas from Southeast Asia. They are the type genus of tribe Tosenini.-Species:* Tosena albata Distant, 1878* Tosena fasciata* Tosena melanoptera * Tosena paviei...

  • Toxopeusella
  • Trismarcha
  • Tryella
  • Tugelana
  • Tympanistalna
  • Ueana
  • Urabunana
  • Venustria
  • Viettealna
  • Xosopsaltria
  • Xossarella
  • Zammara
  • Zouga

Further reading

  • Clausen, Lucy W. (1954). Insect Fact and Folklore. New York: Macmillan. XIV + 194 pp.
  • Craig, Owen (2001). "The Summer of Singing Cicadas". (February – Scribbly Gum – ABC Science Online). (accessed: December 23, 2006).
  • Egan, Rory B. (1994). Cicada in Ancient Greece. Third issue, November 1994. (accessed: December 28, 2006)
  • Myers, J.G. (1929). Insect Singers: A Natural History of the Cicadas. Routledge.
  • Ramel, Gordon (2005). The Singing Cicadas. Source: http://www.earthlife.net/insects/cicadidae.html (accessed: Wednesday January 31, 2007)
  • Riegel, Garland (1994). Cicada in Chinese Folklore. Reproduced with permission from the Melsheimer Entomological Series. Third issue, November 1994. http://www.bugbios.com/ced3/cicada_chfolk.html (accessed: December 28, 2006)
  • Walker, Annette, The Reed Handbook of Common New Zealand Insects, Reed Books, 2000 ISBN 0-7900-0718-5

External links