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C. A Fascinating Fauna (Continued)

Cicada species occurring in more than one region of the world are marked with an asterisk (*).

10D. Harvestflies* (Tibicen)

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Tibicen auletes
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Tibicen canicularis
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Tibicen linnei
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Tibicen pronotalis
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Tibicen pruinosus
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Tibicen robinsonianus

Harvestflies* or Jarflies (genus Tibicen, formerly Rihana, =Lyristes): head 11 mm or wider, usually as broad as thorax (except in T. dorsatus); forewings marked with black bars on two crossveins near tips; males with tymbals concealed; male opercula large, rounded, those of female absent large, rounded; end of male terminal segment closed by large uncus, enclosing tubular theca with small, retractable vesica at tip. Songs are loud calls from treetops during the hottest part of the day, summer to fall (late June to October); each species has a distinctive sound. Nymph brown, hump-backed.

A northern hemisphere genus with four species recorded from Canada. Three others are northern and may also occur there. An eighth species (Tibicen superbus) has been recorded from Prince Edward Island, but as it was found in a laundry chute in a hotel, and is otherwise only known from the southwestern USA it is just an accidental import.

Four species of Tibicen are readily distinguished by their colour pattern. Two species have pale spots down the abdomen between the wings; two others are differentiated by the "collar" (Co) being black (e.g., in T. lyricen), whereas in all other species of Tibicen the collar is pale. A fifth distinctive species is almost entirely green to yellow, except for a black band across the head.

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Two cicadas (Tibicen dorsatus,Tibicen lyricen) showing the rim or 'collar' across the thorax

The species that are not easily distinguished are most reliably differentiated by size. These are listed from smallest (and most common) to largest (and rarest). The great cicadas (true Tibicen) are those 5.5 cm or longer. Those shorter than 5.5 cm include the Dog-day Cicada and its relatives. They also include southern species that belong to Cryptotympana, a genus otherwise known only from Asia; but there are also many species in North America that form a link between true Tibicen and Cryptotympana Footnote 1 . It is probable that the latter should be considered as a subgenus of Tibicen, but as the genera are distinguished in the old world by the width of the uncus, and in the new world by the production of the upper margin of the male terminal segment, the matter needs resolution by a thorough revision of the world fauna.

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Male Tibicen
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Male Cryptotympana

Anatomical differences in the male terminal segment (theca) of Tibicen and Cryptotympana cicadas

Tibicen tibicen (L.), (= Thopa chloromera Walker, Cicada sayi Smith & Grossbeck, Rihana australis Davis), * Swamp Cicada

(See image of Tibicen tibicen)

Adults: Head 13-14.5 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 4.5-5.2 cm; male opercula projecting 8-11 mm beyond hind leg base (extending half length of abdomen), broadly overlapping at midline, tips turned outwards; uncus slightly longer than wide, tip broadly truncate. Upper side black, with bright green patches on thorax before black 'collar'; veins at base of fore wings contrasting green; underside of abdomen pale greenish, usually appearing floury.

Song: A soft buzz Footnote 2, rising to a rapid zing, then falling again, lasting less than 20 seconds. It usually is heard in the morning from mid June to October.

Range: Swamps and wet woods from Texas to Florida, north to New York and Michigan; known from Canada only by a pair of specimens taken in Ottawa, Ontario (year unknown; recorded from Ontario by 1917 Footnote 3). Possibly this northern population has been exterminated by draining of wetlands in the area.

Tibicen lyricen (DeGeer), (=T. fulvula Osborn, Cicada engelhardti Davis), * Brown Harvestfly

(See image of Tibicen lyricen)

Adults: Head 12.5-14 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 4.7-5.3 cm; male opercula large, projecting 6-8 mm beyond hind leg base, apically rounded, overlapping at midline; uncus 1.5 × as long as wide, tapered to rounded tip. Colour dark: upper side mostly black or variously spotted with orange or brown, but with 'collar" between wings always black; underside coloured as in T. canicularis, or darker brownish.

Song: A long continuous monotone rattle, it effortlessly swells from a quiet buzz to a full-throated, somewhat bubbly song, and then back to the simple buzz. It is usually of short duration (about 30 seconds) but sometimes lasts for more than a minute. It is heard in the evening from late June to early September.

Range: Oak woods of Texas to Florida, north to New York and Michigan; in Canada, found in southern Ontario, where it is reported only from the vicinities of Niagara Falls and Grand Bend (on Lake Huron). One record from an unspecified locality in "New Brunswick Footnote 4" has been confirmed 100 years later from Richibuckto.

Tibicen dorsatus (Say), * Prairie Cicada

(See image of Tibicen dorsatus)

Adults: Head narrower than its robust thorax, 12-13 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 4.5-5.3 cm; male opercula projecting 6-8 mm beyond hind leg base, broadly rounded, broadly overlapping at midline; uncus slightly longer than wide, rapidly tapered to narrow, nearly truncated tip. Upper side boldly patterned in orange (or greenish-yellow) and black, with contrasting white spots behind pale 'collar' and a line of white spots down midline of abdomen; under side evenly brownish with thoracic margins and abdomen usually appearing floury.

Song: Rapidly alternating notes, harsh and loud, rising to a clatter like the sound of an old-fashioned tractor engine Footnote 5 , but not prolonged.

Range: Arid regions of Arizona east to Texas, north to Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.

Tibicen dealbatus Davis

(See image of Tibicen dealbatus)

Adults: Resembling T. dorsatus, but head wider, 14.5-16.5 mm, wings longer (overall length with wings folded 5.5-6 cm), uncus evenly tapered to rounded tip, and colour pattern less contrasting, the pale spots more extensive, but ivory in colour.

Song: Loud and gritty, pulsed at a rate of about three pulses per second, a prolongued z'we, z'we that continues for minutes at a time from early morning to far into the night Footnote 6. Individuals have been heard as late as an hour and a half after midnight.

Range: Arid regions of New Mexico and Texas north to Montana and North Dakota.

Tibicen superbus (Fitch), * Green Harvestfly

(See image of Tibicen superbus)

Adults: Head 13-14 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 4.5-4.7 cm; male opercula projecting 7-9 mm beyond hind leg base, broadly rounded, overlapping at midline; uncus twice as long as wide, sides parallel before broadly rounded tip. Head and thorax green (golden-yellow in dried specimens), with black band between eyes and a few black spots behind the 'collar'; abdomen and under side entirely tawny, usually appearing floury.

Song: Unknown.

Range: New Mexico to Arkansas, north to Kansas. A specimen was found in Canada at Charlottetown, PEI in a hotel laundry chute.

See The North America Genera and Picture Guide

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