Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington


Subspecies Neotibicen lyricen virescens - Coastal Lyric Cicada ("ssp. virescens")

Tibicen lyricen virescens (T. virescens) - Neotibicen lyricen - male Tibicen lyricen virescens - Neotibicen lyricen - male Tibicen lyricen spp. - Neotibicen lyricen Tibicen lyricen?  - Neotibicen lyricen Cicada sp.?, freshly emerged - Neotibicen lyricen Cicada - Neotibicen lyricen cicada sp. - Neotibicen lyricen Lyric Cicada - Neotibicen lyricen
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (Free-living Hemipterans)
Superfamily Cicadoidea (Cicadas, Leafhoppers, and Treehoppers)
Family Cicadidae (Cicadas)
Subfamily Cicadinae
Genus Neotibicen (Annual or Dogday Cicadas)
Species lyricen (Lyric Cicada)
Subspecies virescens (Coastal Lyric Cicada ("ssp. virescens"))
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tibicen lyricen ssp. virescens dominates peninsular Florida as the most frequently encountered "larger cicada species". It is abundant during the late spring through summer (late April-early Sept). In central Florida, this species is considerably more common and widespread (across habitat types) than most other Tibicen species (incl. T. tibicen ssp. australis, with which it is often confused).

T. lyricen virescens can be characterized as follows:
1) Possesses a well developed and uninterupted black pronotal collar (rarely with intrusion of dark brown)
2) More vivid coloration on the mesonotum than seen in other forms of this species = bright leaf greens, blue-greens (teals & aquas), and the fulvous patches are a richer reddish/rust color
3) The pronotal patches are often a bright aqua, lime green to leaf-green with a slight golden-bronzy/copper wash
4) Often less development of the paired pruinose (white) spots at the base of the abdomen than seen in some forms (certainly less than seen in T. tibicen)
5) Dark eyes (usu. black or dark brown)
6) BROWN legs
7) Short oblique opercula (rusty-tan in color)
8) Elongated and sleek appearance
9) Basal wing veins are bright blue (aqua/blue-teal)
10) Wings tend to be "smoky-grey" with a light yellowish-orange or amber wash
Tibicen lyricen ssp. virescens

IMPORTANT to mention!

The "condition" of extensive dark coloration seen in the specimen above is not unusual. Unfortunately, cicadas often discolor after death and preservation methods are best employed on FRESH material. Because of discoloration, dead specimens can lead to erroneous interpretations, particularly regarding the distributions for the ssp. & forms. Geographic distribution data for this species is often contaminated with data points based on poorly preserved material leading to erroneous id's as of to which form a specimen belongs. Case in point, some might think this to be a dark lyricen f. lyricen or maybe near f. engelhardti if not for the collection site = penisular FL.

When collecting cicadas, environmental extremes such as high humidity, freezing, heat, drying ovens, and even chemicals & solvents used in kill jars should be avoided! If exposed, all of these conditions will have a negative impact on the specimens natural "in life" color and pattern.

As with several taxa, color and pattern are certainly not absolutes for species id., however, can be helpful. Regarding measurements, these too can be misleading; some individuals may not adhere to "specified measurements" used to "key out" a species. Within this particular taxon, T.lyricen, color, pattern and size may differ (these observed differences are an artifact of individual variation, geographic origin and/or in some cases gender).

Tibicen lyricen, Lyric Cicada
1) Lyric Cicadas are 2 inches or slightly more in total length (incl. wings).
2) Dark brown/reddish-brown legs (occasionally with hints of green - tenerals may have green legs!!)
3) The pronotum of these cicadas has a well developed black pronotal collar with pronotal patches which may be green, bronzy-green, bronze, reddish-brown, brown or black in coloration (typically not as clean or "leaf green" as in Tibicen tibicen ... exception in ssp. virescens)
4) Dark eyes: when alive/fresh, T. lyricen has dark black/brown eyes (rarely with dark greenish black hues when teneral)
5) Ventral black stripe on venter of abdomen is well developed in both genders and in all subspecies and color variants
6) Males of this species have oblique opercula (reddish-tan in color)
7) Behavioral note: When ALIVE, lyric cicadas will usually tuck their legs tightly to the sides and "play dead" (see image below)


There are 2 rather "poorly defined" subspecies
Tibicen lyricen ssp. virescens
Tibicen lyricen ssp. lyricen
The species T.lyricen is polymorphic and varies tremendously in color and pattern. In particular, those populations belonging to the nominate race or ssp. lyricen are subject to extreme variation between and among individuals and across the vast geographic range occupied by this species. Given the observed diversity and geographic distributions for many of the "forms", the current "subspecies split" is viewed as questionable by some (see Range section below). The variations seen in this taxon and associated geographic distributions are more suggestive of a cline than of distinct "races" or "subspecies".

1) ssp. virescens, the "Coastal Lyric Cicada".
This race is best described as "monomorphic" (meaning, all individuals seem to conform to the same "recipe in color and pattern" with no extreme variation seen between and among individuals). This subspecies is restricted to the FL peninsula and the extreme coastal habitats of the Atlantic Coastal Plain - extending north from FL into coastal e. GA, e. SC & extreme se. NC.

In contrast, ssp. lyricen can be HIGHLY VARIABLE in color, pattern and size. However, there appears to be some evidence for distinct geographic tendencies regarding observed variations between and among individuals.
The ssp. lyricen form lyricen is generally patterned with greens, browns, reds, and tans while the color form engelhardti (previously considered a distinct subspecies) is usually black with a very small amount of green, tan or brown on the pronotum (often in the shape of an anchor or tear drop). There are numerous intermediate variants where the color forms "lyricen" and "engelhardti" overlap.

2) ssp. lyricen, the "Lyric Cicada"
This race is extremely polymorphic and widespread across much of the eastern USA.

a) The dark form, engelhardti, has a more eastern, northern and upland distribution (very common in and along the eastern mountains & associated plateaus/fall-line hills). Perhaps the increased pigment seen in this color form serves a thermoregulatory function associated with cooler temps and greater day-night temp differentials seen in higher altitudes and latitudes.

b) Intermediates between f. lyricen and engelhardti often occupy transitional zones (elevational & latitudinal gradiants) and can be widespread in and along the eastern mountains & associated plateaus/fall-line hills.

c) T. lyricen f. lyricen can be quite variable. This "type" generally occupies "lower elevations" and has a greater distribution than seen for f. engelhardti. It is common across the Southeast (Gulf Coast), Mid-Atlantic, New England (usu. associated with the coastal areas & lower elevations), Mississippi River Basin, much of the Mid-West, Great Lakes region, and Eastern Plains. Individuals belonging to ssp. lyricen f. lyricen from coastal areas - i.e. the mid-Atlantic north into New England - are often similar in appearance to ssp. virescens; however, these cicadas lack the bright BLUE wing veins basally and more often than not exhibit slightly duller greens.
The f. lyricen also appears to comprise several "sub-groupings", often with strong geographic affinities. Despite observations suggesting some of these populations exhibit notable differences, none have been given "varietal names".
"Southeastern US - Upper Coastal Plain" (nr. virescens?)

"Southeastern US - Fall-line Hills of the Piedmont Plateau"

"Northeastern US - Atlantic Coastal Plain"

T. lyricen f. lyricen, "Western Lyric Cicadas" or "Osage Lyric Cicadas"
[quick handle(s)/common name(s) used by Bill Reynolds, 2008 - NOTE: not intended to imply separate taxonomic status]
Perhaps the most notable population group within the f. lyricen would be the western forms ("Osage Lyric Cicadas"). Not unlike the "Coastal Lyric Cicada", these populations tend to be "~monomorphic" with most individuals exhibiting relatively consistent character sets.
Populations along the Mississippi River appear transitional between the very similar looking Mid-Western types and those occupying the western most parts of the range (populations across c./ne TX & OK being most distinct). MOST of these cicadas exhibit a heavy black pattern resembling the Roman Numeral "V" on the pronotum. Unlike many of the eastern types, this pattern is usally bold, unbroken and confluent with the pronotal collar (refer to images). The pronotal "shoulder patches" may be bronzy-green or reddish brown. The mesonotum is usually characterized by deep reddish-brown, esp. laterally. The central area of the mesonotum is often a deep olive green or taupe. When alive or fresh, the basal wing veins in these "western lyricen" are usually a bright bluish-aqua (much as seen in ssp. virescens ... and in contrast to the yellow-greens characteristic of the other more eastern forms). Additionally, as one travels west, the wings often exhibit a much deeper orangish/amber-grey wash - a trait not characteristic of specimens to the east (even more extreme than seen in ssp. virescens).
"Osage Lyric Cicadas"

NOTATIONS on the geographic distribution of Tibicen lyricen ssp. virescens

"Coastal Lyric Cicadas" (virescens) are native to the Florida peninsula ranging northward along the Atlantic coast - at least into se. North Carolina. Documentation beyond the Carolinas is sketchy; additional surveys may yield a more northern distribution and blend zones with nominate lyricen.

Isolated reports suggest se. NJ as the northern most point for ssp. virescens.
As mentioned, many individuals of "f. lyricen" collected along the Atlantic Coast often strongly resemble "ssp. virescens"; however, these specimens do seem to differ slightly in color and intensity (slightly more muted greens). Side note - the wings of these more northern examples generally lack the apparent smoky-amber cast seen in virescens.

Thought to have a similar range as seen in Tibicen latifasciatus with which it shares many of the same habitats.

NOTATIONS on the geographic distribution of Tibicen lyricen ssp. lyricen form lyricen

Occupies various habitats across the eastern US from The Midwest/Great Lakes east to New England and south to Texas & Florida.

Often common and widespread across the eastern USA
Southeast (incl the Gulf Coast States)
Upper Mid-South
Appalachia (scattered individuals of var. lyricen & intermediates may be encountered amongst var. engelhardti)
s. New England (usu. associated with the coastal areas & lower elevations)
Upper & Lower Mississippi River Basin
s. Great Lakes Region
Eastern Plains

NOTATIONS on the geographic distribution of Tibicen lyricen ssp. lyricen form engelhardti

Upland deciduous forests of the eastern US
Appalachia, Cumberland Plateau, Piedmont Plateau north into New England. This particular color form (NOT a valid subspecies) seems to disappear along the fall-line hills of both the Piedmont and Cumberland Plateaus.

Across and circumventing the "engelhardti range", there are numerous intermediate types (lyricen-engelhardti variants), especially where the color forms "lyricen" and "engelhardti" transition/overlap.

Form "engelhardti" is absent across most of the lyricen range incl. the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, Mid-West, Mississippi River Basin, & Eastern Plains where this species is replaced by variants all considered to be "form lyricen".
Southeastern Atlantic and Gulf Coast
Can be found in several diverse vegetative systems ranging from coastal scrub to subtropical hardwood forests. Most common in areas dominated by hardwoods, but can be found in pine forests and cedar glades (usu. less common).
Florida: April-September
Georgia: May-September
SC & NC: June-early Sept
Same general behaviors as seen in the nominate race, lyricen.
The adults may congregate during the day to feed on the sap of fruit trees, hickories and Sweet gum.
Life Cycle
eggs typically laid in twigs or dead wood
eggs hatch and nymphs burrow into the soil
nymphs feed on the sap in roots for several years
Final instar nymphs emerge and develop into winged adults (emergence for this species may be at night or during the day)
Often mistaken for T. tibicen (chloromerus).

Tibicen lyricen (virescens) vs. Tibicen tibicen (incl. australis)

Differentiation and identification remains somewhat complicated for most since both species exhibit significant variability individually and geographically. For me, with regards to both the Floridian & Southeastern populations/subspecies, it's a combination of familiarity with the taxa and use of some basic key characters which readily distinguish them. It's also important to mention, there may be some exceptions within and among populations, and that's where familiarity - difficult to qualify or quantify - plays a role.

Tibicen lyricen ssp. virescens dominates central Florida and by most accounts the most frequently encountered Tibicen species. It is most abundant during the late spring through summer (late April-early Sept). In central Florida, this species is considerably more common and widespread (across habitat types) than is T. tibicen ssp. australis.

T. lyricen virescens can be characterized as follows:
1) Possesses a well developed and uninterupted black pronotal collar (rarely with intrusion of dark brown)
2) Well developed ventral black abdominal stripe
3) BROWN legs
4) More vivid coloration on the mesonotum = bright leaf greens, blue-greens (teals & aquas), and the fulvous patches are a richer reddish/rust color
5) Less development of the paired pruinose (white) spots at the base of the abdomen
6) Short oblique opercula (rusty-tan in color)
7) less pruinose venter
8) Somewhat more elongated and sleek in appearance
9) Dark eyes (usu. black or dark brown)
10) Behavioral note: When ALIVE, lyric cicadas will usually tuck their legs tightly to the sides of their body and "play dead" (see image below)

Tibicen lyricen ssp. virescens


Although Tibicen tibicen (=chloromera) ssp. australis (Tibicen t. ssp. australis) does occur in central Florida, it is considerably less common and somewhat different in appearance from T. lyricen ssp. virescens. Additionally, it is much more common along water ways and lowland areas. It is very similar in overall appearance and form to other populations in the Tibicen tibicen (chloromerus) group - with a few unique characters separating it.

T. tibicen australis can be characterized as follows:
1) Usu. lacks the black pronotal collar (dull olive green with possible black intrusion)
2) Always lacks the ventral black abdominal stripe
3) Green legs
4) More subdued coloration = leaf greens, olive greens and darker fulvous patches (rarely the aquas & rusts seen in virescens)
5) Greater development of the paired pruinose (white) spots at the base of the abdomen
6) Longer opercula (ochreous-yellowish green in color)
7) very pruinose venter
8) Somewhat more compact and humpbacked in appearance
9) Dark eyes (usu. with a green wash - often the color of boiled spinach)
10 Behavioral note: When ALIVE, swamp cicadas will often raise their legs up and "fold them" into an interlocking tangle = "play dead"

Dorsal aspect

Ventral aspect is basically the same in both subspecies (ssp. australis & ssp. tibicen). The opercula of T. australis may be slightly longer (?)
See Also
"Swamp Cicadas"/"The chloromerus Group"

"Lyric Cicadas"/"The lyricen Group" (BLACK Pronotal Collars!)
*Tibicen bermudianus [T. bermudiana (Verrill 1902)], "Bermuda Cicada"- EXTINCT
(*Most closely related to T. lyricen, this cicada was endemic to the Bermuda Islands. Sadly, this cicada is now EXTINCT due to habitat and host plant loss. Unfortunately, disease threats to the host plant, Bermuda cedar, Juniperus bermudiana continue to threaten its existence as well.)

Tibicen similaris, the "Similar Dog-day Cicada"
Like the Lyric Cicada, this species usually has a dark pronotal collar and is often colored and patterned much like "form lyricen" in parts of its range. However, unlike typical specimens of lyricen, there is often green intrusion along the lateral edges of the pronotal collar. Like T. chloromerus, the males of this species possess elongated ochreous-colored operculae and are quite different ventrally from lyricen. Additionally, the ventral black stripe characteristic of lyricen is less well developed and may even be absent in some similaris specimens. The legs of similaris often possess more green and are not as brown as seen in those of lyricen; however, this character is also subject to variation in similaris.
*T. similaris is also often confused with T. davisi; however, similaris is typically a larger cicada (~2" in total length incl. wings) and the males' operculae are longer and more pointed or angular terminally than seen in davisi.

Due to similarity in appearance, T. lyricen virescens is occasionally confused with several of the "Green Tibicen Species":


f.y.i. Cross Reference.
On rare occasion, some color morphs of T. canicularis may be confused with the "Lyric Cicadas"/esp. the "Dark Lyric Cicada"

"Green Tibicen Species" (Usually GREEN or rarely BROWN Pronotal Collars!)
Collectively, yet informally, referred to as the "Green Tibicen species" (per. comm.), the following cicadas are often difficult to differentiate and all appear to be very closely related. Genitalic analysis of the males suggest these species are very closely related and morphological differences between and among the species are slight. It is also thought (based on observations) that several of these may be involved in complex hybrid zones; however, more work is needed to substantiate and better understand these observations.
Tibicen pruinosus pruinosus var. fulvus Beamer 1924 [syn. T. pruinosa var. fulva], "Pale Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada"