Insect identification > Homoptera > Cicada


CicadaFamily Cicadidae (the cicadas). - Most of the members of this family are rather large insects, with bodies often two or three inches or even more in length and quite stout as well. Their wings are correspondingly large, and in some species have a spread of more than six inches.

Though usually transparent and with prominent veins, they sometimes have pigmented areas of various colors.

The adults place their eggs in slits they make with their ovipositors in twigs. On hatching, the nymphs drop to the ground and make their way to the roots where they feed on the sap.

Metamorphosis is more nearly a complete one than in the other families of Homoptera (except the scales), the nymph having but little resemblance to the adult, and the last two nymphal stages are rather transitional in appearance between the two.

The adult males have vocal organs located on the underside of the basal segments of the abdomen and covered by extensions backward of the metathorax.

The sound produced is often so loud, especially when the insects are abundant, as to be very noticeable and even unpleasant. No auditory organ has as yet been discovered with certainty in either sex.

Cicadas are particularly inhabitants of warm countries, though some species are abundant quite far from these regions. In North America they occur in Canada and probably in all the states farther south and are found as far north as England in the Old World. They are often wrongly called locusts.