Other Common Names
"Southern Swamp Cicada"
"Southern Dusky-winged cicada"
Explanation of Names
The long-standing name for this common species, Tibicen chlormera, T. chloromerus
, has apparently been changed to Tibicen tibicen
based on priority. See Synonyms and references. --Cotinis
17 October 2008.
Tibicen tibicen australis:
Pronotal collar usually strongly marked with green or solid green in some populations (rarely black); pronotal shoulder patches large, solid green; mesonotum largely dark green with very deep rusts laterally (mesonotum patterned with green and reddish brown, particularly evident in those from lower elevations); conspicuous dorsolateral white spot where abdomen meets thorax (usually better developed and larger than seen in Tibicen tibicen nominate); abdomen beneath heavily pruinose - the midline rarely evident & if so may be only slightly darker than rest, sometimes only at base of each sternite
Call is similar to that of nominate T. tibicen (chloromerus) but described as slightly deeper and usually lasting a little longer. As with the nominate race, reported to call from 8-11 a.m., with a rapid chattering, "rising crescendo", call lasting about eight to 10 seconds or more in australis. (See: Cicada Info.)
Modified from information provided by --Cotinis
Tibicen lyricen and Tibicen tibicen (chloromerus) are often confused with one another. It is not an uncommon mistake to mis id. these two species since both are subject to regional and individual variability - hence frequently confused.
Pronotal and mesonotal patterns are variable in both Tibicen tibicen (chloromerus) and in T. lyricen; however, living or freshly dead chloromerus specimens have distinctly green pronotal patches in both the teneral and sclerotized states. Additionally, the green patches are usually better defined in T. tibicen than in lyricen.
Tibicen tibicen (chloromerus)
1) Greater development of the paired pruinose spots at the base of the abdomen
(less developed in T. lyricen)
2) Bright mint-green legs (occasionally with light brown at the terminal ends of the tibia/tarsi)
3) The green in the pronotum of these cicadas is a clean bright "leaf green" in both the teneral and sclerotized forms (excluding ssp. australis which is typically very dark green)
4) Although some Swamp Cicadas may have dark eyes (usu. very dark green), the vast majority of T. tibicen specimens have distinct greenish hues when alive/fresh
5) Venter of abdomen with No dark stripe (lacks the black pigmentation as seen in lyricen)
6) Males have elongated opercula (yellowish-green in color)
Ventral aspect is basically the same in both subspecies (ssp. australis & ssp. tibicen). The opercula of T. australis may be slightly longer (?)
Tibicen lyricen, Lyric Cicada
T. lyricen may strongly resemble T. tibicen, however, note the following traits.
1) Less development of the paired pruinose spots at the base of the abdomen
(esp. in females of lyricen; males usu. possess the paired spots but they are smaller by comparison than those seen in males of T. tibicen ... always large and better developed in both genders of T. tibicen)
2) Dark brown/reddish-brown legs (occasionally with hints of green - tenerals may have green legs!!)
3) The green in the pronotum of these cicadas is 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)
Peninsular Florida, lower half of Georgia & se. Alabama
Populations in peninsular Florida north across the lower 1/3rd of Georgia & adj. s. Alabama are representative of ssp. australis.
This ssp. appears to "intergrade" along the Chattahoochee River with Tibicen tibicen... as well as areas along the Georgia-Alabama border.
There are some unusual phenotypes in areas where these 2 forms are parapatric/quasi-sympatric.
The transition zone from ssp. australis to the nominate ssp. tibicen falls somewhere along the Chatahoochee/Apalachicola River drainage to the west and to the north across central Georgia (following a tangent from ~Columbus to Macon east to Savannah).
Nearly all dry land ecosystems across Florida - esp. Deciduous forests adj. to rivers
Various - including coastal scrub, woodlands adj. to marsh, riparian forests (usu. deciduous forests, rare in pine woodlands)
Most abundant along waterways and woodlands adjacent to the great southern swamps
Early season species
late April-October in central and south Florida
June-September in n. Florida and s. Georgia
various deciduous plants
seems to like trees and shrubs in the Rutaceae, Rosaceae, Aceraceae & Juglandaceae
Adults will often congregate to feed during the middle of the day on the following trees:
Xanthoxylum spp., Rutaceae
Cherry & Plum: Prunus spp. & Malus sp., Rosaceae
Hickory: Carya spp., Juglandaceae
Maple: Acer spp., Aceraceae
eggs usually laid in dead twigs, wood or bark (occassionally eggs will be laid in living stems and twigs)
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 usu. occurs at night)
The "Southern Swamp Cicada" or "Southern Dusky Winged Cicada", Tibicen tibicen (chloromerus) ssp. australis is frequently misidentified
because it is much more colorful and patterned than is the nominate race and may have very dark eyes (similar to Tibicen lyricen, "Lyric Cicada"
). Additionally, since this race usually lacks the black pronotal collar typical of the nominate form, Tibicen tibicen var./ssp. tibicen, it is often mistaken for Tibicen pruinosus pruinosus (Say 1825) [syn. T. pruinosa pruinosa], "Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada"
When one attempts to key this subspecies, based on many of the characters, it usually ends up as "pruinosus" or one of the other green Tibicen species.
Specimens from various areas across the peninsula, particularly the Gulf coast, are often very dark green and can look nearly black.
There is a transition zone from ssp. australis to the nominate ssp. tibicen somewhere along the Chatahoochee/Apalachicola River drainage to the west and to the north across central Georgia (~Columbus to Macon east to Savannah).
"Swamp Cicadas"/"The chloromerus Group"
Often confused with the following:
"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.)
Due to several physical characteristics frequently used in keys, Tibicen tibicen australis, found across the Southeast (esp. s. Georgia and Peninsular Florida) is OFTEN mistaken for T. pruinosus/winnemanna (and similar taxa)
f.y.i. Cross Reference.
"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"