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Pale Variant of the Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada (var. fulva/fulvus)

Neotibicen pruinosus (fulvus) - Neotibicen pruinosus - male - female Neotibicen pruinosus (fulvus) - Neotibicen pruinosus - male - female Neotibicen pruinosus (fulvus) - Neotibicen pruinosus - male - female N. pruinosus fulvus… in Louisiana  - Neotibicen pruinosus - male N. pruinosus fulvus… in Louisiana  - Neotibicen pruinosus - male N. pruinosus fulvus… in Louisiana  - Neotibicen pruinosus - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (True Hoppers)
Infraorder Cicadomorpha (Cicadas, Spittlebugs, Leafhoppers, and Treehoppers)
Superfamily Cicadoidea (Cicadas)
Family Cicadidae (Cicadas)
Subfamily Cicadinae
Tribe Tacuini
Genus Neotibicen (Dogday Cicadas)
No Taxon (pruinosus group (Scissor Grinders))
Species pruinosus (Scissor(s) Grinder)
No Taxon Pale Variant of the Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada (var. fulva/fulvus)
Other Common Names
var. fulva (not a subspecies)
Explanation of Names
Species name pruinosa is Latin for frosty. (From Words by William Whitaker, via Tony DiTerlizzi.) - hence the suggested common name "Silver-bellied Cicada" (suggested by Dr. Andy Hamilton).
Most specimens reviewed averaged above 2 inches (2.0 & 2.3 inches) in total length - incl. wings
(44 mm length = 1.7 in.) - seems a bit small?
See comments under photos.


NOTE: Much of the following information is based on per. observ. &/or per. comm., Bill Reynolds:

Typically these cicadas are green and brown with a black abdomen dorsally.

There is a RARE red-brown form with little if any green (no var. name applied)
As a teneral, the "red-brown form" pictured below was pink with very little green. The wing veins, like much of the body, remained reddish-brown and darkened as the insect sclerotized over the next 48 hours.

There is an unusual "amelanistic" form known as "var. fulva/fulvus"
(Pictured below is a pale form of T. winnemanna, similar to pruinosus var. fulvus in many respects)

This species may be quite variable among individuals and geographically. T. pruinosus exhibits many potentially overlapping traits with related taxa and may even be involved in hybrid zones with several. For details on identification "how to's", please refer to the following taxa and identification notations for each.

Most similar in appearance to and frequently confused with the following:

(NOTE: Much of the following information is based on per. observ. & per. comm.)

1) Most similar to T. winnemanna (+latifasciatus) in morphology and call but often confused with linnei!

NOTE: The characteristic heavy pruinose/white ")" marks behind the tymbal covers in males of T. pruinosus are usually weakly developed to near absent in males of T. winnemanna and T. linnei.

2) Dorsum of abdomen usually BLACK (not glossy as in linnei). In some populations, the dorsum of the abdomen may be marked with brown, tan, or orangish blotching along the mid-line of the first 2 abdominal segments (as seen in winnemanna).

3) Unlike the females of T. winnemanna (and linnei), females of T. pruinosus possess well-developed paired pruinose spots at the base of the abdomen.

4) Costal margin of forewing in some populations can be strongly bent and similar to that seen in T. linnei. This single shared character often creates identification nightmares for many.

5) The black mask across the face of pruinosus (and winnemanna) may at times be complete and unbroken. In fact, this trait may be typical in some populations of winnemanna/pruinous confounding id. However, the "complete black face mask" does tend to hold true in most cases for T. linnei. All in all, this trait is another example of a morphological character that often holds true, but is not absolute!

6) Opercula of males usually an ochreous color and oblique (not sharp as in linnei) - VARIABLE and subject to interpretation.

HYPOTHETICAL: Some of the overlapping traits most often seen in linnei, like the bowed costae and elongated opercula, are possibly artifacts of introgression (more work is needed to substantiate). The two taxa "appear to readily cross", particularly in urban and suburban areas. Suspected "hybrid populations" are not uncommon, esp. in urban environments where intermediate morphologies and calls create identification problems.

There appears to be a complex blending with regards to both morphologies and calls. Generally, pruinosus/winnemanna & linnei are quite distinct in most character sets; however, in some parts of the range, the delineation of the the two becomes ambiguous and thought to be an artifact of introgression. (Bill Reynolds, 2008)

NOTE: Others have made similar observations involving possible hybridization between and among several Tibicen species. Some of the suspected hybrid groups involve closely related taxa in other parts of the eastern US. Based on morphologies and call characteristics, it appears as though T. canicularis x pruinosus, T. canicularis x linnei, and T. linnei x pruinosus crosses may also occur in areas where these taxa are sympatric to the north and west.

Given the continuity & distribution coupled with "blending", T. pruinosus and T. winnemanna likely represent a single taxon and might better be described as clinal. However, more work is needed to fully understand the relationship between these two "population units".

HYPOTHETICAL: pruinosus & winnmenna are likely conspecific representing a complex cline.


NOTES on calling behaviors for members of the T. pruinosus complex:

Perhaps the most notable differences among the calls of T. pruinosus, T. winnemanna and T. latifasciatus involves males' calling times and activities. Males of T. latifasciatus typically call during the day, (sunlight hours) from 8:00 am to early evening (prior to sunset) and strong chorus activity can be heard all day. In contrast, T. pruinosus & T. winnemanna are both most active in the evening/dusk 'til shortly after sunset, with occasional light chorus activity at sporadic times during the day.

Although the song of T. latifasciatus is very similar to that of T. pruinosus & T. winnemanna, it is considered by many to be a bit more "pitchy" or "squawky" - some have even described the call of latifasciatus as sounding "almost inverse" to that of the other two. Audal studies and comparisons suggest the call similarities among the three taxa are great (~same) but can be subject to variation based on geography and ambient environmental conditions (i.e. temp, humidity, etc.). But on a final note, there is still something to be said for the human ear and our own abilities to recognize and differentiate subtle variations in sound.

YOUTUBE Video & Sound File for T. winnemanna

YOUTUBE Videos & Sound Files for T. pruinosus
The following example demonstrates the extreme pruinnosity seen in some populations of pruinosus and how they can be similar in appearance to latifasciatus.
Additional sound file of T pruinosus in Kansas

YOUTUBE Videos & Sound Files for T. latifasciatus

NOTE: Some IMAGES under this taxon may be MISIDENTIFIED and are in a constant state of review!
Based on morphological characteristics, call similarities, and distribution patterns, several species are subject to confusion and erroneous id (We/I make mistakes!).
This is a dynamic "living-breathing" site and though we (I) make mistakes, we strive to share the most comprehensive and accurate information possible.
Comments, corrections and updates are always welcome.
The var. fulvus has been reported from the western fringe of the pruinosus range in KS, TX & OK. In some locations, this form may be encountered with some frequency. Similar pallid forms found in other populations across the range of the "pruinosus group" appear to be rare or even absent.

Species: Eastern and central North America

"West of the Appalachians", incl. most of the Mississippi River basin

Mid-West, incl Great Lakes region
Missouri, Iowa, s. Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio & Michigan

Eastern Plains States
Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, e. Kansas, e. Nebraska, e. South Dakota, & e. North Dakota

Mid-South & South ... Extending into the Gulf States
Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia (few reports?), Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama (pruinosus-winnemanna?), Georgia (winnemanna?), and n./w. Florida Panhandle (winnemanna?)
NOTE: Sanborn reports populations of "pruinosus" extending across the Gulf States often possess characters suggestive of T. winnemanna and may be more akin to that taxon. Representatives in the University of FL collection from such locations are currently classified as "winnemanna".

Populations found along the Atlantic coast from se. New Jersey to peninsular Florida belong to the taxon Tibicen latifasciatus (Davis 1915) [syn. T. pruinosa latifaciata], "Coastal Scissor(s) Grinder Cicada"

For additional details on the distribution of the "pruinosus group", please refer to the range sections for the following taxa:

Given the continuity & distribution coupled with "blending", T. pruinosus and T. winnemanna likely represent a single taxon and might better be described as clinal. However, more work is needed to support this hypothesis.
Woodlands, suburban areas

often riparian
Across most of the range, peak activity occurs from June through September
[July-September (North Carolina) = T. winnemanna]
various trees incl. deciduous and pines

High emergence has been observed on "Virginia & White Pines" in nw. Alabama
Calling in Kansas - posted to YouTube by acejackalope
Calls from high in deciduous trees, "wee-ooo, wee-ooo". Call -
Song nearly identical to T. winnemanna and T. latifasciatus -
Tibicen pruinosus is described as producing a low-pitched uniform note and a rising and falling note.


Based on color, pattern and overlap in wing shape, T. pruinosus is frequently confused with T. linnei.

Blending may also complicate species identification (?)

*"INTRASPECIFIC blending" (?): T. winnemanna appears to transition or hybridize/intergrade with T. pruinosus across the upper mid-South (incl. populations across the Tennesse River Valley of Tennessee & n. Alabama, many of which possess characters typical of winnemanna).
Since both pruinosus and winnemanna possess similar calls and behaviors, such similarities and broad range of blending helps support the recognition of T. winnemama as conspecific with T. pruinosus.

*"INTERSPECIFIC blending" (?): T. pruinosus "appears to hybridize/intergrade" with T. linnei in urban areas (man manipulated environments) across parts of the Mid-West (cicadas exhibiting intermediate morphologies and intermediate calls are not uncommon, per. observ. & per. comm.). Since T. pruinosus (winnemanna) and linnei usually possess distinct character sets (i.e. call and to some degree morphological traits) and exhibit limited blending, such differences support the recognition of these taxa as distinct with hypothesized incidental hybridization likley being an artifact of human disturbance.


"The TROUBLE with pruinosus"
T. pruinosus/winnemanna VS. T. linnei

Diagnostics such as the "line bisection test" & "wing node position" used to separate T. linnei from T. pruinosus in the Midwest - seems to be challenged when applied to "T. pruinosus/winnemanna" (+ other taxa) in the Southeast. I have noticed that while the point of bisection varies in T. winnemanna in the east and T. pruinosus from the upper mid-South, it nearly always bisects the designated wing cell somewhere across the last half or third. This point of bisection is often very near, on the point of coalescence, and in some cases even anterior to the point of coalescence between the C (costal vein) & SC (subcostal) - a characteristic predicted for T. linnei. Midwestern conventions and use of this test suggest little if any bisection of the designated wing cell in members of the pruinosus group.

Regarding T. linnei:
In support of the test, the point of bisection is "relatively consistent" in most T. linnei and crosses the halfway point nearly everytime either on the point of coalescence (in females) or anterior to the point of coalescence (usu. males).

NOTE: Some variation exists between males and females of T. linnei and among populations of T. linnei. The "line bisection test" is not an ABSOLUTE. Even for T. linnei, there have been populations and isolated specimens which DO NOT conform nor meet the expected test results!

Although this test has some support and validity in the upper Mid-West, it is of little use if you wish to separate female specimens of T. winnemanna, T. pruinosus and T. linnei collected below the Mason-Dixon Line and perhaps elsewhere. Using this character and test, as a stand alone deciding factor, may result in erroneous identification.

I have had the "Costal Margin" discussion on numerous occasions with cicada aficionados & several leading cicada specialists, few of whom continue to weigh heavily on the costal margin diagnosis for identification of linnei or separation of it from similar related types.

NOTE: Bowing in the costae and use of the "line bisection test" for species determination can fail. There is significant overlap in this trait and strong bowing in the costae can be seen in any of the following taxa: T. linnei, T. pruinosus, T. winnemanna and T. canicularis (to a lesser extent T. robinsonianus). Due to overlap, it is not possible to separate the species based on this character alone.


Costal Margin used in id ... continued!

Please refer to the following paper for discussion on the idenification of T. linnei and separation of this species from related taxa.

According to Beamer and supported in other manuscripts, the shape of the opercula of the males in T. linnei vs. T. pruinosus is the ONLY true deciding factor, not the wing shape.

NOTE: In parts of the range where linnei is sympatric with related taxa (esp. pruinosus/winnemanna), separation using traditional morphological characters incl. wing shape, coloration, opercula shape, etc., may be moot (per. comm. & per. observ.). Regarding Beamer's observations, opercula shape is NOT always diagnostic and may vary in both T. linnei & among members of the T. pruinosus/winnemanna group as well. (per.comm. & per. observ.)

In some parts of the range, the males' calls may be the only SINGLE useful character for species identification and separation of pruinosus/winnemanna & linnei!

As mentioned earlier, pruinosus/winnemanna and linnei "may hybridize" and if so thus creating additional identification issues. Morphological and audal analysis seem to support crossing between and among several taxa incl. the aforementioned.
See Also
NOTE: Specimens are easily confused with T. canicularis, T. linnei, T. winnemanna and T. robinsonianus - Insect Singers (for details, please refer to species links below)

"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"

"Southern Dog-day Cicadas"
Loosely & informally referred to as the "Southern Dog-day Cicadas" (suggested - Reynolds 2010), 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 - ??)

Due to several physical characteristics frequently used in keys (i.e. coloration & green pronotal collar), Tibicen tibicen australis, found across the Southeast (esp. s. Georgia and Peninsular Florida) is OFTEN mistaken for T. pruinosus/winnemanna