Archived content - Cicada (36 of 46)

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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 (*).

10F. Clicking or Crepitating Cicadas* (Platypedia)

Clicking or Crepitating Cicadas (genus Platypedia including Neoplatypedia): head 6-6.5 mm wide, about as wide as neck-like thorax with eyes prominent; face with deep groove up midline; wings with broad cell on the outer edge and just beyond its tip a smaller triangular cell; opercula inconspicuous; male with terminal segment closed by horizontal uncus usually fitting inside long hypandrium; theca with two pairs of rigid forks near tip, vesica absent. The tymbals are vestigial, so a low, clicking call in spring (May through June) is made by some other means. Some say these insects bang their wings against twigs, but it seems more likely that the wings are rubbed against a small process on the thorax. Nymph slender, banded with dark brown.

All 28 species are western, mostly confined to California; three of these are currently assigned to genus Neoplatypedia, but the difference between these two genera consists only in the greater curvature of the wing margin (which has an intermediate form in Platypedia minor, so these names probably should be treated as subgenera. The apical cells of Neoplatypedia are often shortened so that the cell at the wing tip is small or absent, but this is not consistent.

Three species range north into Washington state and southern Canada.

Description of this image follows.
Diagram showing the tip of the male abdominal area of Platypedia

Platypedia areolata (Uhler), Salmonfly

(See image of Platypedia areolata)

Adults: Head 6-6.5 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 2.6-3.0 cm. Black; legs redbrown; weakly marked with a narrow yellow line across the "collar" between the wing bases (the hind margin of the pronotum), two yellow spots at base of abdomen and often a longitudinal stripe just behind head.

Song: Just a few clicks Footnote 1 in succession.

Range: Common on the Pacific coast from California to intermontane valleys of southern British Columbia, where it may occur in such numbers that its egg-laying damages fruit trees. Recorded swarms: Kootenay Valley, 1912 and Okanagan Valley, 1913, 1918; also common at Victoria, 1923 and Lillooet, 1926. Judging by population outbreaks, there is probably a 5-year life cycle.

Platypedia putnami (Uhler)

(See image of Platypedia putnami)

Adults: Similar to P. areolata, but with front legs black, thoracic markings orange, and wing bases pink to orange.

Song: About 8 clicks or bursts Footnote 2, rapid at first but slowing.

Range: California to New Mexico, north to Montana and southern Washington state, Montana and Black Hills of South Dakota in mixed coniferous forests. It seems to prefer elevations from 1200 to 3000 meters. It has been reported from southern British Columbia in 1942 but not confirmed since then. The population may have died out.

Platypedia minor Uhler

(See image of Platypedia minor)

Adults: head 5-5.5 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 2.0-2.4 cm. Black, very hairy, legs redbrown; body usually marked only with two yellow spots at base of abdomen; wings broad, only 2-2.5 times as long as wide, whereas in other members of the genus the wings are 3 times as long as wide. In this character it resembles Neoplatypedia, but lacks the thickened and incurled marginal vein.

Range: a southwestern interior species ranging from California to Colorado. An individual was collected in northern Oregon on June 2, 2003.

Neoplatypedia constricta Davis

(See image of Neoplatypedia constricta)

Adults: Head 5.3-6 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 2.5 cm. Black with orange veins at the wing bases and along the edge of the forewing, which is strongly bowed and curved inwards so that the wing edges nearly meet on the underside of the body when the wings are folded.

Song: Zzzip-zzzip-zzzip (similar to the sound of a zipper opening and closing) in 2 or 3-second bursts Footnote 3, or extending over 10-20 seconds.

Range: California north to Oregon.

Neoplatypedia ampliata (Van Duzee)

Adults: similar to N. constricta, but without the bright orange colour on the bases of the hind wings.

Range: California north to Idaho.

See The North America Genera and Picture Guide

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