Basic characters include:
Eyes: Described as tan to greyish (rarely if ever rust-colored)
Body: VARIABLE - Usually dark, dorasl brown coloration may be visible
Pronotal Collar: Hind margin of pronotum or collar with anterior portion blackish and posterior portion pale. This description sounds as though the pronotal collar is divided (?). There has been issue with interpretation of Davis' original descriptions regarding this trait in both apache & semicincta.
Mesonotum: Near black/dark with little evidence of brown pattern (variable)
Abdomen: There is a well developed pruinose ring on the terminal abdominal segments
Opercula: Descibed as pointed with the terminal points being noticeably more extended and often CONVERGENT (= the tips are said to be "clearly curved and pointing inward towards one another"). Since there is debate regarding interpretations of opercular characters, the details need further study.
SIZE: Said to be slightly smaller than D. apache - (??)
NOTE: Some of the IMAGES under this taxon may be MISIDENTIFIED and in need of review!
Based on morphological characteristics, call similarities, and distribution patterns, the following three taxa appear to be closely related and easily confused.
Another species with a similar call
For details on cinctifera, apache & semicincta, please refer to the following:
Most information suggests Diceroprocta semicincta has a more limited and southerly distribution than does D. apache and occurs in the Sonoran Desert region around "Tuscon, AZ" (incl. Pima, Santa Cruz & Cochise Counties). Reports and collection records also suggest this taxon is the most common Diceroprocta species found in and collected around Tucson.
The degree of range overlap between and among several of theses similar species is not well known. Based on collection records, D. apache & D. semicincta seem to have significant range overlap; however, more work is needed to fully understand how these taxa relate, are to be separated and where they naturally occur.
It is important to mention, given misidentifications and confusions regarding separation of similar taxa, the distributions of several of these western Diceroprocta species remains suspect and incomplete.
NOTE: IMAGES under this taxon may be MISIDENTIFIED and in need of review!
Based on morphological characteristics, call similarities, and distribution patterns, these three taxa appear to be closely related.
Another species with a similar call
Helpful hints from Gerry Bunker based on a Davis paper.
Researching the differences between the three most common species of Diceroprocta to be found in Arizona, I found a paper published by William T. Davis in 1928 that describes all three.
All three species have triangular shaped opercula in males extending about half-way the distance of the underside of the abdomen.
W.T. Davis writes:
Opercula with the outer edges nearly parallel to each other; 8th segment and middle base of tergum pruinose. Collar and costal margin of fore wing usually bright orange in color.
Hind margin of pronotum or collar yellowish, or straw colored; eyes reddish and membranes at base of both pair of wings pale; often straw-colored. Pubescence at base of abdomen golden.
Hind margin of pronotum or collar with anterior portion blackish and posterior portion pale. Eighth segment pruinose, and pubescence at base of abdomen silvery. Eyes darker than in apache (not reddish in dried specimens), and membranes at base of all wings darker gray. Usually smaller than apache and with opercula more extended at tips.
Additional info - much of it is in support of Gerry's observations:
I may well be wrong (and would like to know if I am), but here's a quick break down of basics as have been conveyed to me via. a couple cicada specialists
...and from my own observations (incl. call), I would not be shocked if 2 or more of these "currently distinct taxa" are in fact conspecific. Their morphological & audal similarities and distribution patterns may be clinal.
I believe the core of id problems for these species is rooted in misinterpretation of the older literature (incl. morphology, call and distribution). I question the wording & interpretation(s) myself.
Three taxa and lots of confusion.
*"Supposedly", based on collection efforts and records, these 2 taxa are more common in southeastern Arizona (per. comm.) - ?
All three are easily confused.
There has been some debate regarding several characters used for id - incl. but not limited to the following: coloration of the pronotal collar, whether the collar is solid or divided, opercula shape and pruinosity + the Question...How do these traits relate to these three taxa and across their ranges (esp. in areas of overlap).
Initially, my understanding was as follows:
"D. apache" specimens north of Tucson (Maricopa Co., AZ into Calif.)seem to have solid pronotal collars (as pictured) and "straight" or "non-convergent" pointed opercula (morphology and associated calls of specimens reviewed matched). In contrast, Cicadas identified (by several folks) as "D. apache" from Tucson & south of Tucson often have a bisected pronotal collar (anterior half is dark while the posterior half is light). Despite this difference, the opercular traits (being nonconvergent) and associated calls hold true.
"D. semicincta" (said to be the most common species in the immediate Tucson area) usu. has a solid colored pronotal collar (some debate??) and convergent opercula. Regarding apache and semicincta, several of the morphological traits can break down and may become ambiguous; unfortunately, deciding on differences between the two can be subject to interpretation. However, the pointed tips of the opercula in semicincta are convergent (the tips noticeably curve inward towards one another). Given the other variables, this character in opercula shape may be the "ONLY morphological constant" distinguishing semicincta from apache in areas of sympatry.
Important note - D. apache, semicincta and cinctifera DO NOT differ significantly from one another in call, if at all (in fact, it is not likely to distinguish these taxa based on call alone). The congruence in call has raised questions concerning their taxonomic relationship.
In areas of question, identification of specimens may require combining the morphological attributes, habitats, range and calls (id. of specimens associated with particular calls and habitats is strongly recommended).
Great site for audal recordings of western cicadas.
Dave & Kathy have done a wonderful job on this site and lots more to come incl. pictures and range maps!