Cicadatra atra Olivier, 1790
Common names: Black cicada [En], Cigale noire [Fr], Schwarze Zikade [De], Τζιτζίκι [Gr], Ağustos böceği [Tu]
Dipkarpaz (Ριζοκάρπασο), İSKELE (Τρίκωμο) ● Cyprus
Description: The body is generally black with some blackish pattern on the mesonotum. The body is about 18 mm length. The fore wings have 2-3 black patches. The femur 3 has 3-4 spines, with the basal longer.
Biology: The “singing” of male cicadas is not stridulation such as many familiar species of insects produce — for example crickets. Instead, male cicadas have a noisemaker called a tymbal below each side of the anterior abdominal region. The tymbals are structures of the exoskeleton formed into complex membranes with thin, membranous portions and thickened ribs. Contraction of internal muscles buckles the tymbals inwards thereby producing a click; on relaxation of the muscles, the tymbals return to their original position, producing another click. The male abdomen is largely hollow, and acts as a sound box. By rapidly vibrating these membranes, a cicada combines the clicks into apparently continuous notes, and enlarged chambers derived from the tracheae serve as resonance chambers with which it amplifies the sound. The cicada also modulates the song by positioning its abdomen toward or away from the substrate. Partly by the pattern in which it combines the clicks, each species produces its own distinctive mating songs and acoustic signals, ensuring that the song attracts only appropriate mates.
Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives at depths down to about 2.5 metres. Nymphs have strong front legs for digging and excavating chambers in close proximity to roots where they feed on xylem sap. In the process, their bodies and interior of the burrow become coated in anal fluids. In wet habitats, larger species construct mud towers above ground in order to aerate their burrows. In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then moult (shed their skins) on a nearby plant for the last time, and emerge as adults. The exuviae or abandoned exoskeletons remain, still clinging to the bark of the tree.
Habitat: Waste lands, garrigues.
Distribution: Southern Europe, Western Asia up to Iran and Georgia.