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Cicada - Megatibicen pronotalis

Cicada - Megatibicen pronotalis
Bellevue, Sarpy County, Nebraska, USA
August 2, 2006
Size: approx. 1.5 inches
Photographed on our back deck. We have checked Bug Guide and other sources but have not found a good match. Any help appreciated.


Loren and Babs Padelford
Bellevue, NE

Images of this individual: tag all
Cicada - Megatibicen pronotalis Cicada - Megatibicen pronotalis

Moved from Walker's Cicada.

Tibicen pronotalis
This is a dead specimen. When it dried, the green color of the thorax probably changed to yellow-orange.

Range, habitat?
Andy, I think I collected this thing in Cincinnati. My specimens were the largest Tibicen I ever saw, and were invariably found in riparian habitats. Only rarely did they come down out of the trees low enough for me to get one. Does that sound right for this (T. pronotalis) species? Thank you.

large Tibicen
There are a number of very large Tibicen species. For Cincinnati, I would expect it to be T. auletes, the Scissor-grinder (so-named for its harsh song, that sounds like a metal roller-skate). An even larger species, T. resonans, is found only in the southern states.

Thanks, that would pretty well describe its 'song' alright! Have no idea why these images are being frassed, moving to guide.

Thanks Andy!
When we saw this cicada on our deck we didn't know it was dead. We picked it up later and brought it in for closer inspection.

Thanks for your help! We did not know they change color when they die. Is it true of all cicadas?

Loren and Babs Padelford
Bellevue, NE

Since the eyes on this specim
Since the eyes on this specimen look quite fresh, I doubt that there has been enough time for a color change from green to yellow. On old-completely dried-up specimens, the eyes become opaque grey or yellow-white with irregular black markings. The pseudopupil is no longer visible. From the look of the eyes of this specimen, it is quite fresh, and not yet dried out.

Tibicen pronotalis

With regards to the eyes, I agree with you 110%!! T. pronotalis has very striking eyes when alive/fresh, and they often appear bluish, slate, greyish or strange grey tan. The "false pupils" are also evident in this species only when fresh and/or alive.

In my opinion, this cicada is either very freshly dead or paralyzed.
In fact, this specimen looks as though recently paralyzed by a cicada killer wasp. Such cicadas often look "dead" but remain alive and immobile for many days.

I think it's also important to mention that this species can be highly variable in color and pronotal pattern, particularly along the western portions of the range (Kansas, Nebraska, etc.). Coloration may vary from bright lime green, ochreous-yellow, yellowish-tan, orangish-brown, and/or any combination(s) previously mentioned. The pronotum may lack pattern or possess intricate dark patterns centrally; these patterns may be slight dashes, comma-shaped marks or bold blotches.

T. pronotalis may also intergrade with the closely related taxon T. dealbatus, also found in the plains states and largely replacing T. pronatilis as one travels west. The specimen above with its muted coloration and slight indications of dorsal pruinosity along the abdomen may represent a transitional type.

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