Other Common Names
Superb Cicada, Green Cicada
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Neotibicen superbus (Fitch)
Orig. Comb: Cicada superba Fitch 1855
Syn: Tibicen superbus (Fitch)
This is the "greenest" Tibicen sp. and characteristically distinct.
The abdomen and the outer margins of the wings are usually strongly yellowish-tan in color while the remainder of the insect is a bright lime green with reduced black patterning as compared with related species.
Although distinct in appearance and rarely if ever confused with other Tibicen spp., T. superbus appears to be most closely related to the "davisi and auriferus" group. Both morphological and audal analysis place its relationship with the aforementioned; subsequent molecular analysis also support its placement with the davisi group (per. comm.). The call of this species is characteristically less of a "whine with a trill" than that of davisi & auriferus and more of a "rapid clicking crecendo and fall".
For sound files, check the following links:
T. superbus occupies several habitat types from forested to arid scrub. It is often associated with conifers; however, strong populations of this cicada can be found in areas where hardwoods are abundant.
late May-Aug in TX (BG data)
July-August in OK (Drew et al. 1974)
Seems to be associated with a variety of trees; however, Oaks and Junipers (conifers) seem to be preferred.
Reported to be common among Junipers in OK & AR.
Eggs are laid in trees; nymphs drop to the ground to feed on roots; final-instar nymphs crawl above ground and attach to a surface to shed their exoskeleton and emerge as adults; adults live in trees and feed on xylem.
See molting series from nymph to full adult here
The call of *Tibicen similaris (Smith & Grossbeck 1907), "Similar Cicada" or "Similar Dog-day Cicada"
is similar to that of Tibicen superbus (Fitch 1855), "Superb Dog-day Cicada"
; however, the "clacky-trill" part of the T. similaris
song is much longer in duration than that of T. superbus
, the latter of which is better described as a "rapid clacky-clicking crecendo and fall".
Rarely confused with other species, T. superbus is quite distinct; however, the following list of cicadas is available for quick reference.
"Southern Dog-day Cicadas"
Loosely & informally referred to as the "Southern Dog-day Cicadas" ("coined", Bill Reynolds
), the following taxa are mostly "southern" in distribution and appear to be closely related. These cicadas share several traits, incl. elongated opercula in the males, rapid trill and/or clicking calls, and unusually wide heads relative to body dimension (head widths usu. exceed thoracic widths).
(*appears to be the most divergent member within this group - ??)
"Green Tibicen Species"
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"
Drew, W.A., F.L. Spangler, and D. Molnar. 1974. Oklahoma Cicadidae (Homoptera). Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 54: 90–97. Full PDF
Fitch, A. (1855)1854. Report (upon the noxious and other insects of the state of New York). Transactions of the New York State Agricultural Society, 14: 705-880.
Froeschner, R.C. 1952. A synopsis of the Cicadidae of Missouri. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 60: 1–14. Full PDF
Lawson, P.B. 1920. The Cicadidae of Kansas. The University of Kansas Science Bulletin. XII(2): 309-376.
Sanborn, A.F. and P.K. Phillips. 2004. Neotype and allotype description of Tibicen superbus (Hemiptera: Cicadomorpha: Cicadidae) with description of its biogeography and calling song. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 97(4): 647-652.
Taber, S.W. & S.B. Fleenor. 2005. Invertebrates of Central Texas Wetlands. Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock. 309 pp. Google Preview