Selected Cicada Species of the Western United States


Cornuplura nigroalbata (Arizona)



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This website is intended to provide song recordings, and eventually photos and maps, of many of the cicada species of the western United States and Canada.  The 100th meridian is used here as an arbitrary divider between east and west.  Currently, the taxonomic content of the page emphasizes the species found in the Great Plains and Southwestern regions – we have not yet recorded many of the species in the genera Platypedia and Okanagana.  Cicada song recordings for the species of the eastern United States and Canada can be found here.

Cicada diversity is the western United States and Canada is higher than in the east.  Twelve genera are found in the west, including seven that do not extend east of the 100th meridian (Cacama, Clidophleps, Cornuplura, Platypedia, Neoplatypedia, Okanagodes, and Tibicinoides). 

Western species in the genera Cacama, Tibicen and Cornuplura belong to the tribe Cryptotympanini. These are medium to large cicadas with loud songs that call from trees or cactus. Most of these western species are not very colourful, being mostly patterned with greys, blacks and browns, but some have conspicuous spots of white wax. Tibicen cultriformis has bright green wing veins.
The genera Platypedia and Neoplatypedia are entirely restricted to the western half of the USA, but species of Platypedia are distributed all the way south to South America. These genera have lost their timbals and sing entirely by clicking or buzzing their wings and you can sometimes encourage Platypedia to click by clicking two coins together. There are many species of Platypedia but we have only collected a few of them. Most species are black with small brown, orange, red or white markings, and are sometimes very furry. They are quite small cicadas and sing from trees or shrubs.
There are a number of species of Diceroprocta in the southwestern states, and some, such as D. apache, are quite large. They call from trees or sometimes shrubs and often sit with the head pushed away from their perch and the wings held down along the side of the branch they are sitting on. There are also many Diceroprocta in Mexico.
Clidophleps, Okanagana, Okanagodes, and Tibicinoides are in the tribe Tibicinini. There are many, many species of Okanagana in the western USA and Canada, but we have not collected very many. They call from trees and shrubs. Most Okanagana are black with brown, red, orange or white markings, but the odd one is patterned with green or solid pale green, tan or yellow.  Most are medium sized cicadas with continuous, whiny or lispy songs. Okanagodes sing from low down on small desert plants in the intense heat of the day. They are pale green or pale tan with a very large postclypeus ("nose"). Clidophleps vagans also calls from low on small shrubs in desert areas.

 

References: Author and date information are given below for all taxonomic units.  These references will be included in a Literature Cited page here, but for now they can be found at the comprehensive Bibliography of the Cicadoidea website.

 


 

SUBFAMILY CICADINAE Latreille, 1802

 

Genus Beameria

Davis, 1934

SONG

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Beameria venosa

(Uhler, 1888)

SONG

  • Song is a very high pitched continuous buzz.
  • Calls from very low in grasses and herbs in dry fields.
  • This is one of the smallest eastern cicadas.

Beameria wheeleri

Davis, 1934

SONG
  • Song is high-pitched and erratic.
  • Calls from very low in grasses and herbs in dry fields.
  • Possibly also sings a continuous buzzing song.

 

 

Genus Cacama

Distant, 1904

SONG

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Cacama valvata

(Uhler, 1888)

SONG
  • Cacama are known as "cactus dodgers" and live on ocotillo and prickly pear.
  • Very wide wing margins.

 

 

Genus Cornuplura

Davis, 1944

SONG

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Cornuplura nigroalbata

(Davis, 1936)

SONG
  • Few have ever been collected.
  • Found in far southern AZ and in Mexico.

 

 

Genus Diceroprocta

Stål, 1870

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Diceroprocta apache

Davis, 1921

SONG
  • A southwestern desert cicada.
  • Similar in song and morphology to D. semicincta.

Diceroprocta arizona

Davis, 1916

SONG
  • Song is not always as hesitant as in this sample.

Diceroprocta aurantiaca

Davis, 1938

SONG

  • Originally descibed as a subspecies of D. delicata.
  • Song is usually a continuous buzz, recorded male may be courting.

Diceroprocta azteca

(Kirkaldy, 1881)

SONG

  • A south Texas species that may extend just west of the 100th meridian.
  • Song is a continuous train of rapid pulses.
  • Bright shiny green cicada.

Diceroprocta cinctifera

(Uhler, 1892)

SONG
  • Song and morphology is similar to D. apache and D. semicincta.

Diceroprocta delicata

(Osborn, 1906)

SONG

  • An eastern species that may extend just west of the 100th meridian.
  • Several meadow katydids are also singing in this recording.
  • Song is usually a continuous buzz.

Diceroprocta eugraphica

(Davis, 1916)

SONG

  • Song is a continuous buzz, usually ending with several ticks.
  • Calls from low on herbs and small shrubs.

Diceroprocta knighti

(Davis, 1917)

SONG
  • We found this species calling from shrubs or small trees.

Diceroprocta semicincta

(Davis, 1925)

SONG
  • Similar in song and morphology to D. apache.

Diceroprocta swalei

(Distant, 1904)

SONG
  • We found this species calling from shrubs or small trees.

Diceroprocta texana texana

(Davis, 1916)

SONG

  • An eastern species that extends just west of the 100th meridian.
  • Song is a continuous train of medium-speed pulses.

 

 

Genus Neocicada

Kato, 1932

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Neocicada chisos

Davis, 1916

SONG
  • Found in western Texas mountains.
  • Song sample heavily filtered.

 

 

Genus Pacarina

Distant, 1905

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Pacarina puella

Davis, 1923

(= "Cicada signifera" Walker 1858)

SONG

  • Song is a train of very rapid, high-pitched pulses.
  • Commonly on mesquite or juniper.
  • Eyes widely set with black mask.
  • This is one of the smallest eastern cicadas.

 

 

Genus Quesada

Distant, 1905

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Quesada gigas

(Olivier, 1790)

SONG

  • A very large cicada, nearly as large as Tibicen auletes.
  • Song has been likened to a locomotive whistle.
  • Calls sporadically during the day and vigorously at dusk.
  • External website on this species.

 

 

Genus Tibicen

Latreille, 1829

SONG

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Tibicen auriferus

(Say, 1825)

SONG

  • Song similar to that of T. inauditus.
  • Calls from short to medium-high prairie vegetation.

Tibicen chiricahua

Davis, 1923

SONG
  • Song superficially similar to T.lyricen of the eastern states.

Tibicen cultriformis

(Davis, 1915)

SONG
  • One of the largest Tibicen species and probably the largest western USA cicada.
  • Calls from cottonwoods etc along rivers.

Tibicen dealbatus

(Davis, 1915)

SONG

  • A species of the Great Plains
  • Song identical to T. pronotalis.
  • Calls from cottonwoods and willows, usually along streams and rivers.

Tibicen dorsatus

(Say, 1825)

SONG

  • Song and morphology similar to T. tremulus.
  • Calls from short prairie vegetation.

Tibicen duryi

Davis, 1917

SONG
  • An especially complex song.
  • A beautiful red, black and white cicada.

Tibicen inauditus

Davis, 1917

SONG
  • This species usually sings upside-down from conifers.
  • Song is extremely similar to the song of T. texanus.

Tibicen longioperculus

Davis, 1926

SONG
  • This species has very long male opercula
  • We found them singing from conifers in the heat of the day.

Tibicen parallelus

Davis, 1923

SONG
  • This song is REALLY cool, switching between an oscillating whining sound and a sound like pulsed radio static.

Tibicen pronotalis pronotalis

Davis, 1938

SONG

  • Extends west to the western Dakotas
  • Song identical to T. dealbatus.
  • Calls from cottonwoods and willows, usually growing along streams and rivers.
  • Most individuals have black pronotal blotch.

Tibicen pruinosus

(Say, 1925)

SONG

  • Calls from high in deciduous trees, "wee-ooo, wee-ooo".
  • Song nearly identical to T. winnemanna and T. latifasciatus.
  • Loves to call at dusk.

Tibicen resh

(Haldeman, 1852)

SONG

  • An eastern species extending just west of the 100th meridian in southern Texas.
  • Calls from high in trees.

Tibicen superbus

(Fitch, 1855)

SONG

  • Distinctive sputtering song phrases.
  • Bright green with a black mask across the eyes.
  • Calls from deciduous trees, not too high.

Tibicen texanus

Metcalf, 1963

(=T. tigrinus Davis, 1927)

SONG

  • Song similar to T. inauditus and T. auriferus.
  • Calls from medium height in trees in Texas.

Tibicen tremulus

Cole, 2008

SONG

  • Song and morphology similar to T. dorsatus.
  • Calls from short prairie vegetation.

 


 

SUBFAMILY TETTIGADINAE Distant, 1905

 

Genus Clidophleps

Van Duzee, 1915

SONG

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Clidophleps vagans

Davis, 1925

SONG
  • The additional sound that appears during the song phrase may be stridulation.
  • A southwestern desert cicada.

 

 

Genus Neoplatypedia

Davis, 1920

SONG

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Neoplatypedia constricta

Davis, 1920

SONG
  • Cicadas of this genus sing entirely with their wings.

 

 

Genus Okanagana

Distant, 1905

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Okanagana balli

Davis 1919

 
  • We have not yet collected this species... maybe 2011.
  • Similar to but smaller than O. rimosa andO. canadensis.

Okanagana bella bella

Davis, 1919

SONG
  • This species calls from pines.
  • Song is the same as O. bella rubrocaudata.

Okanagana bella rubrocaudata

Davis, 1925

SONG
  • This species calls from pines.
  • Song is the same as O. bella bella.

Okanagana canadensis

(Provancher, 1889)

SONG

EXTERNAL LINK

  • Song is a train of high pitched pulses – our recording is a suspected O. canadensis.
  • Call from high in northern conifers.

Okanagana bella bella

Davis, 1919

SONG
  • This species calls from pines.
  • Song is the same as O. bella rubrocaudata.

Okanagana bella rubrocaudata

Davis, 1925

SONG
  • This species calls from pines.
  • Song is the same as O. bella bella.

Okanagana fumipennis

Davis, 1932

SONG
  • We found this species calling very low down.
  • Wing membranes are suffused with white.

Okanagana hesperia

(Uhler, 1876)

sometimes listed as Tibicinoides hesperia

SONG
  • This species is also found E of the 100th Meridian.
  • Calls from prairie vegetation.

Okanagana rimosa rimosa

(Say, 1830)

EXTERNAL LINK

  • A northern USA and Canada species
  • Song is a continuous whining buzz.
  • Morphology very similar to O. canadensis, but with red.

Okanagana rubrovenosa rubida

Davis, 1936

SONG
  • Song is the same as in O. rubrovenosa rubrovenosa.

Okanagana rubrovenosa rubrovenosa

Davis, 1915

SONG
  • Wing-flicking by the calling male can be heard toward the end of the recording.
  • Song is the same as in O. rubrovenosa rubida.

Okanagana utahensis

Davis, 1919

SONG
  • This species calls from shrubs.

Okanagana vanduzeei

Distant, 1914

SONG
  • A widespread southwestern cicada.

 

 

Genus Okanagodes

Davis, 1919

SONG

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Okanagodes gracilis

Davis, 1919

SONG
  • A southwestern desert cicada.
  • After singing this pulsed song for a while, all individuals in an area will call together with one long buzz.

Okanagodes terlingua

Davis, 1932

SONG
  • We recorded this species only making a pulsed song. It is possible that they also make a continuous buzz.

 

 

Genus Platypedia

Uhler, 1888

SONG

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Platypedia putnami

(Uhler 1877)

SONG
  • Cicadas of this genus sing entirely with their wings.

Platypedia similis

Davis,1920

SONG
  • Cicadas of this genus sing entirely with their wings.

 


 

SUBFAMILY CICADETTINAE Buckton, 1809

 

Genus Cicadetta

Kolenati, 1857

SONG

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Cicadetta calliope calliope

(Walker, 1850)

SONG

LOW-PITCH VERSION

  • Extends eastward from the Great Plains into the Colorado foothills
  • Song is very high-pitched short echemes followed by longer ones.
  • Calls mainly from grasses.

Cicadetta kansa

(Davis, 1919)

SONG

  • Song is a slow train of short "peeps".
  • Produces a long buzz during flight.
  • Calls from grasses.

 

 



Methods Notes

The recordings on this page were made by the authors using a variety of digital audio recorders (e.g., SONY TCD-D8 DAT, Marantz PMD 660, 670, or 680 compact flash models) sampling at either 44.1 or 48 kHz. Microphones used were Sennheiser ME62 omnidirectional microphones installed in SONY PBR-330 parabolic reflectors, or similar-quality Sennheiser short- and long-gun shotgun mikes with no parabola. (Note that parabolic reflectors introduce small "pre-click" artifacts because sound waves are recorded twice, once weakly as they arrive and then again after reflection, but these are noticeable only during very fine-scale analysis.) Files were processed (e.g., filtering) using Canary or RavenPro v1.4 software (Cornell Bioacoustics) on Macintosh G3, G4 and intel computers, and the 128 Mbps, constant-bitrate MP3 files were generated using open-source Audacity 1.3.12-beta software.

These examples have been selected because they represent the typical song behavior as well as possible given what we have in our archives.

Most of the recordings have been filtered to remove sound below around 4 kHz, where most automobile, wind, and other environmental noise is found. In a few cases frequencies higher than those of the target cicada have been removed, for example when a loud katydid overlapped the song of the target. Some of the recordings have a "tinny" feel as a result of this filtering.

Many of the sound files have also been modified with "fade in" and "fade out" effects, especially when the song of the cicada is not structured into distinct phrases.

 


 

Copyright Information

The sound and image files linked on this site are for personal, not-for-profit viewing and listening only and must not be duplicated, sold, or reproduced elsewhere without written permission from David Marshall [cicada "at" insectsingers.com].  Nonetheless, we're usually happy to oblige requests for educational purposes and limited use in other projects.

 


 

Other Websites on North American Cicadas and Singing Insects

Cicadamania – the oldest and best-known general website for cicada enthusiasts.

Songs of Insects – a companion website for a book of the same name, contains an online identification guide for songs.

New Zealand Cicadas: A Virtual Identification Guide – comprehensive information on the New Zealand species.

Cicadas of Australia – an extensive website on Australian cicadas, with songs, photos, maps, and natural history.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – general cicada identification plus information on cicada morphology, ecology, and evolution.
Cicadas of Massachusetts – extensive site on New England cicadas, collecting techniques, etc.
Cicadas.info – focuses on cicadas of the mid-Atlantic states.

Cicadasong.eu – songs and other content on European cicadas.
Japanese Cicadidae Homepage – includes a database form for accessing songs of Japanese and Korean cicadas.
S.E. Asian Cicada Songs – from the Slovenian Museum of Natural History.
Cicada Songs from Borneo – with sonagrams and some phenological data.
Magicicada.org – established to solicit and organize distribution records for periodical cicada broods from the public.
Cicadas of Michigan – focuses on Michigan cicadas with songs and identification keys.
University of Michigan Periodical Cicada Site – comprehensive site on periodical cicadas; better brood maps now found on Cicada Central.
BugGuide.net – a general insect identification site with many cicada photos; some photo IDs may not be correct.

Singing Insects of North America – an extensive general resource with songs, maps, and keys. Cicada section under development.

Cicada Central – established as a clearinghouse for research on world Cicadidae.

Bibliography of the Cicadoidea – a web database of scientific publications on cicadas.

 


 

Credits and Acknowledgments


Website constructed by David C. Marshall and Kathy Hill, researchers at the University of Connecticut in the lab of Chris Simon.  This research has benefited from substantial synergistic support under NSF grants DEB 04-22386, DEB 05-29679, and DEB 07-20664 to Chris Simon and from discussions with many cicada enthusiasts and collaborators.

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