Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cicada Season

It all started when I saw a plump cicada in a spider's web. I have lived here for 11 years and I didn't know we had Floury Bakers!

But it might not be a Floury Baker, despite the floury look. I went looking, and it turns out that there are 273 species of cicada in Australia, in 38 genera. And with more species than you might expect frequenting Western Sydney! Nonetheless, this species has the Floury Baker habit of standing head downwards on the tree:

They are rather well camouflaged on the greyish trunk of Acacia fimbriata, the Fringe Wattle.

I'm glad to have found them! We don't have Greengrocers (Cyclochila australasiae) as they like big eucalypts. My biggest eucalypt plainly isn't big enough yet.

Our main cicada species is small and quite prolific. This cicada case was found with many others under my Parramatta Wattle. The grass-blade is kikuyu; the case is therefore only 2-3cm long.

I suspect that it belongs to someone like this camera-shy fellow on my Hakea. He's only about 3cm long and really didn't want to be photographed. I've seen this type on my wattles too, so I think he might be a Spotted Wattle Cicada. The coloration is a very dark green.

On the other hand, he might be a Ferny Acacia Cicada, though they don't seem to have a wing-spot.

I'm really not sure, but I feel sorry for my cicadas, whatever species they are. They don't sing in the rain, and it's been raining a lot.

If you want to learn more about cicadas, or try identifying your own, have a look at Lindsay Popple's fascinating and detailed site.