Archived content - Cicada (38 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 (*).

10H. * Whip Cicadas (Okanagana)

Whip Cicadas (genus Okanagana): head 4.5-8 mm wide, much narrower than thorax; face with deep groove up midline; wings (when spread) usually revealing bright orange or red bases; tymbals concealed only by wings; opercula at the base of abdomen broad but short in both sexes, extending about as far as the pointed process (meron), of the hind leg base; male terminal segment with large uncus usually closing upper side of hypandrium, theca whip-like, fitting tightly inside uncus, vesica flexible but not retractible, at least a third length of theca, usually coiled. Low call from June to September. Nymph robust, banded with dark brown.

Description of this image follows.

Underside of Okanagana indicating the meron and opercula.


Description of this image follows.

Drawing showing the male terminal segment (theca).

Okanagana synodica and a few other southwestern species resemble the old world cicadas of the genus Tibicina, but differ in the form of the theca, which in Okanagana has a long, tubular tip, while that of Tibicina has two asymmetric processes. The shape of the theca and vesica are almost uniform throughout the genus, with a few exceptions:

  1. in O. noveboracensis and O. synodica the vesica is a third the length of the theca, whereas in other species the vesica extends half the length of the theca;
  2. in O. vanduzeei the theca ends in pointed processes flanking the base of the vesica; in O. oregona these lobes are rounded but equally prominent; and in O. occidentalis and related forms (O. bella, O. fratercula) the lobes are very broad, whereas in all other species the lobes are shallow and rounded.

The genus has about 60 species, all in North America, although the exact number is debatable. Many are distinguished primarily by colour pattern and shape of the thoracic processes near the hind leg bases. Four of the northern species have contrasting orange or yellow veins; four are uniformly tan to orange; all the others are black with distinct yellow to red markings on the body and wing bases. These mottled insects fall into two groups: those with narrow front wings 3 times as long as wide and those with shorter front wings 2.5-2.7 times as long as wide.

See The North American Genera and Picture Guide.

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