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Archived content - Cicada (39 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-1. Whip cicadas with yellow veins

Okanagana synodica (Say), * Black-tipped Cicada

Okanagana synodica

Adults: Head 4.5-5 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 2.2-2.3 cm. Front wings 2.5 times as long as wide; abdomen hump-backed, as in O. annulata and O. lurida; meron longer than opercula, pointed; vesica only a third as long as theca. Yellow marked with bold, black pattern on head, upper side of thorax and striped with brown on legs and wing tips; rarely, most of the thorax is black. The adults are hard to see in the dappled sun-and-shade under sagebrush, where they like to sing. Both the small size and yellow veins with dark tips are distinctive.

Song: Low-pitched trills in short bursts. These cicadas are attracted to the sound of a small motor. Adults are active for two weeks within the period of late May to early July, depending on the timing of suitable hot days

This species appears to be the only western cicada that is periodical. Two specimens were taken at Lethbridge in 1929 and 1930, and another at Medicine Hat in 1948. It was thought that these populations had died out, but in 1986 it was found to be common in several isolated sites between Lethbridge and Fort Macleod. In 2005-2006 it reappeared in even larger numbers following an exceptionally rainy season. A similar outbreak was noted at Emery, Utah in 1992 where an abundance of tall grasses amongst desert vegetation testified to a preceding wet spell. Apparently this species has its major emergences when unusually heavy rainfall promotes the growth of its presumed hosts, grasses. But the timing of these collections argues strongly for an exceptionally long life cycle in Canada, as the periods when it was taken occur on a 19-year pattern with only one unrecorded brood: 1929, 1948, [1967], 1986, 2005. Records from Colorado include 1990 and 2005, suggestive of a life cycle of 15 years, 4 years shorter than in Canada.

Range: Texas to Arizona, north in the arid intermontane valleys to Utah, and on the Great Plains from Montana to Illinois. It is known in Canada only from sun-warmed coulee slopes in southern Alberta.

Okanagana lurida Davis (=?Okanagana gibbera Davis)

Adults: Similar to O. synodica, but larger, head 6.5-7 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 3-3.5 cm. Head usually paler than body, at least at the tip; pale individuals have extensive orange markings on the first segment of the thorax (pronotum); front wings with pale veins, sometimes appearing reddish, and legs with dark markings only at joints. Meron pointed, shorter than operculum.

Song: Unknown.

Range: California north to southern Washington state and adjacent Idaho. It is to be sought (but not expected) in dry intermontane valleys of British Columbia.

Okanagana ornata (Van Duzee), * Orange-margined Cicada

Okanagana ornata

Adults: Head 6-7 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 2.8-3.4 cm. Front wings 3 times as long as wide; meron longer than operculum, pointed, contrastingly pale. Black, with at most a fine orange line between wing bases, strikingly marked with orange on veins of wing bases, legs, tip of abdomen, and most of underside of abdomen, except for black bands across the preapical segments; theca ending in broad, low lobes projecting just past vesica.

Song: Unknown.

Range: California to southwestern Oregon, and known also from two widely separated localities: Mount Hood in northwestern Oregon, and an arid intermontane valley in southern British Columbia in the vicinity of Lillooet (Seton and Anderson Lakes). The most recent record from this valley is 1947.

Okanagana cruentifera (Uhler), * Wounded Cicada

Okanagana cruentifera

Adults: Head 7 mm wide; overall length (wings folded) 3.5-4 cm; resembling O. ornata, but larger, body segments only narrowly edged with orange, black colour strongly contrasting with red-orange veins and wing bases.

Song: Unknown.

Range: California to Washington state, east to Montana.

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