For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cicadas (Melampsalta leucoptera)

19/09/2012 Update on name - Thanks to Martin for the identification.

Cicadas have to be amongst the most difficult insects to find. Although you hear them constantly, their sound seems to echo and you can never pinpoint exactly where they are.

For more information, click on this link.
 Else, the sound stops when you get close and it is absolutely useless searching in the grass to find them. They tend to hide in amongst the roots so finding this one was a stroke of pure luck.
 This one, like so many species I find, at first pretended to be dead, but I know that trick by now and am not fooled by it. :)
 He is about 5cm (about 1/2 an inch) in body length. The male of each species of cicada has a specific call to attract females.
 To quote Field Guide to Insects of South Africa:

“Males have a pair of circular sound-producing organs (tymbals) that appear as 2 rounded membranes on either side of the abdomen, each reinforced with a strong circular ring. A muscle attached to the centre contracts and the recoil produces a click, rapid contraction of these muscles produces a shrill continuous noise.”