Archived content - Cicada (12 of 46)

Archived content

Archived content is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

B. Understanding Cicadas (Continued)

6A. Insect Wings

Insect wings have a network of thickened ridges ('veins') that give rigidity to the wing, and also channel blood between the upper and lower layers of cuticle. The veins defined thinner areas ('cells') of characteristic shapes.

The wings of cicada-like insects changed dramatically as these insects began to assume their modern form, from the leathery front wingsFootnote 1 and membranous flying wings of their ancestors, the Prosbolidae, to those of the Cicadoprosbolidae which were thickened at the base but membranous at the tip, and the veins were more numerous and formed long apical cells, as in modern Cicadidae.

Description of this image follows.

Fossil of cicada-like ancestor insect - Prosbolidae

Description of this image follows.

Wings of cicada-like ancestor insect - Cicadoprosbolidae

Furthermore, the two halves of the wing were separated by a "nodal line," a curving zone of flexion, as in Tettigarctidae. Nodal lines also may be found in the unrelated Palaeontinidae, but in a more basal location.

Description of this image follows.

Wings of cicada-like ancestor insect - Tettigarctidae

Description of this image follows.

Wings of cicada-like ancestor insect - Palaeontinidae

Tettigarctidae differ from Cicadoprosbolidae in their larger size and greater development of the front wings at the expense of the hind wings. This asymmetry is still more marked in modern Cicadidae, while the nodal line has become less distinct.

Extinct Cicadoidea should not be confused with Palaeontinidae that are often mistaken for cicadas or even moths!

Description of this image follows.

Wings of modern cicada - Cicadidae

Date modified: