Family Cicadidae
Cicada Biology 

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Cicadas - subfamily Cicadinae

Family Cicadidae

This page contains pictures and information about Cicadas in subfamily Cicadinae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Empty shells (called exuviae) are often seen on tree trunks on early summer
This subfamily includes mostly large cicada species. They are mostly tree-dwelling species. They are usually brown and some are green in colours. 

Tribe Thophini

Double Drummer
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Thopha saccata, male, body length 45mm             Female                                                                     
Double Drummer Cicadas are the largest cicadas in Australia. They make loudest sound in the insect world. They are brown in colour with black pattern. For the males, on each side of the abdomen there are a small pockets, the double drums, which are used to amplify the sound they produce. They stay high on the tree and make the sound during the summer days. We have details information about the cicada in this page.
White Drummer Cicada
Arunta perulata, body length 40mm
We found this cicada as dead body in Morton Island in mid summer 2001.  This cicada is dark brown in colour. Wings are clear, with two spots near the tip on each forewing. The top edges of forewings are with green veins which joints with a green line across the thorax. We failed to identify this species as White Drummer Cicada because we expected two white drums. We forgot female cicada does not have drums. Lindsay Popple advised us by email that " it looks to be a worn female White Drummer Arunta perulata, which is quite common in Banksias and Casuarinas in Morton Island."

Tribe Cyclochilini

Razor Grinder
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Henicopsaltria eydouxii, body length 40mm
We found them in Mt Cotton during mid summer. They rested at the lower part of the tall tree trunk, about 1.5 meters to 3 meters from ground. They produced very loud sound resemble metal grinding. They are dark brown in colour with dark zigzag patterns on front wings veins. The veins near wing edges are also dark in colour. For more pictures and information please click on here.
Black Friday
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Psaltoda pictibasis, body length 30mm, male, female
The cicada s are black in colour with brown pronotal collar. They prefer the upper trunks and large stems of very large gumtrees. Please check this page for more information.
Black Prince
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The common name Black Prince was loosely applied to almost any cicada which were black in colour. Then it is now exclusively used for this species Psaltoda plaga. Please check this page for more details.
Clanger, Clear Wing Cicada
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Psaltoda claripennis, body length 25-30mm
The cicada has the colour patterns of green on brown and dark brown. Its eyes is pale red in colour. Its wings are clear with green vein. They are common in Brisbane. We sometimes find them in Wishart and Karawatha Forest. More pictures and information can be found in here.

Tribe Cicadini

Brown Bunyip
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Tamasa tristigma, body length 20mm
Brown Bunyip is one of the most commonly seen cicada in Brisbane. It is light brown in colour with black pattern on thorax. Across the abdomen there are the black, brown and light brown narrow bands. Wings are clear, males have three dark spots on tips of each forewings. They were found trees in our backyard in Eight mile Plains in Brisbane during mid summer. They are small and usually rest on the tree trunks about two meters from ground. Because they often sit in the shadow, together with their camouflaged colour, they are not easily seen. Their song is a long continuous low pitch zeep which may continue for minutes. For more information and pictures please click on here.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 464.
2. The cicadas of central eastern Australia - L. W. Popple, Zoology and Entomology, the University of Queensland, Australia, 2006. 

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Last updated: May 21, 2012.