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B. Understanding Cicadas (Continued)

6B. Sucking Mouthparts

The order to which cicadas belong has been called at different times Rhynchota ("beaked") or Hemiptera ("half-wings"). The latter refers to bugs with the wings half leathery, half membranous, as in stink bugs; the term often is restricted to this group, while cicadas and its relatives are assigned to the Homoptera. Both Hemiptera and Homoptera are characterized by a highly elaborate form of sucking mouthparts that is quite different from the rather simple mouthparts of butterflies or biting flies. Its parts are most easily examined from the cast "skin" of the cicada nymph, which exposes the internal structure of the head, with a central sucking chamber (cibarium) which is worked by powerful muscles attached to the convex part of the face (frons). The cibarium is followed by the apodemes to which attach the muscles that work the needle-like mouthparts that fit inside the slender beak (rostrum).

Anatomical drawing of the internal head structure of the typical cicada indicating the clypeus, the frons and the rostrum.
Anatomical drawing of the internal head structure of the typical cicada

How the head capsule of Homoptera corresponds to that of insects with jaws is most easily seen by comparing the cicada head with the head of bark lice (Psocoptera). The jaws or mandibles (Md) and second pair of mouthparts or maxillae (Mx) are enclosed in the cicada head within the oral cleft (O) Footnote 1, a deep fold (sulcus) between the clypeus (C) and lora (L).

Description of this image follows.
Anatomical comparison of head structure of the typical cicada (Homoptera) and the head structure of the typical bark louse (Psocoptera), front and back views.
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