Cicadas are insects from the Hemiptera (true bugs) order, and the superfamily Cicadoidea, which is further divided into two families- the Tettigarctidae, with two species that are native to Australia, and the Cicadidae, which has more than 3,000 different species found across the world. This article is about a special Australian species of cicadas, and it will tell you everything you need to know about these insects including details about their habitat, sound, range, distribution, diet, and breeding habits!
The Australian Cicadas or bladder cicadas belong to the Cicadidae family and are in the genus of Cystosoma. They were first described and introduced as Cystosoma saundersii by John Obadiah Westwood, an English entomologist in 1842. The bladder cicada (Cystosoma saundersii) is native to Australia, and its range extends from North Sydney in New South Wales to southeastern Queensland. The bladder cicada (Cystosoma saundersii) is a nocturnal creature, meaning it is active during dusk and night, despite its enormous size (for an insect) it has an incredible defensive camouflage to protect itself from predators or any unwanted company. The bladder cicada life cycle has three stages in which they transform or evolve from eggs to nymphs, and finally into adults. A bladder cicada (Cystosoma saundersii) adult has forewings that look like plant leaves because of its perplexing green-colored body.
A bladder cicada (Cystosoma saundersii) is an insect belonging to the Animalia kingdom.
The Australian bladder cicada (Cystosoma saundersii) belongs to the Insecta class.
The accurate population size of these Australian species is unknown.
Bladder cicadas are native to Australia and are found across north, central, and south-east Queensland, and Sydney in New South Wales.
They are often found in gardens on exotic trees and shrubs, hedges, and lantana. Although they can be difficult to see because of their green color, the old skins discarded by growing cicadas can sometimes be found on tree trunks.
These insects are solitary and live alone. They pair up only during the breeding season.
Their lifespan is four to six weeks. The nymphs, however, hibernate and mature for 17 years.
Bladder cicadas from Australia have a unique life cycle, they begin their lives as eggs, and after six to eight weeks emerging from these eggs are the young cicada nymphs, that stay buried beneath the ground and suck sap from plants and trees for several years. Male cicadas fill the entire atmosphere with a sharp sound or song created by abruptly vibrating drum-like plates called tymbals on their abdomens. The female cicadas respond with a softer 'click-click' sound by flapping their wings if they like the song displayed by a certain male. Adult females lay about 200-400 eggs in gaps and crooks of a tree branch, nymphs start emerging from the eggs a few weeks after they are laid, and immediately drop themselves on the ground, and bury themselves under plants and tree roots. This dormant period or the underground life lasts for several years before the cicadas emerge as adults, this usually happens at early dusk, and the cicadas climb up a tree and shed or molt their first layer of skin. The life cycle among this species is very consistent and does not change. After laying their eggs, both male and female cicadas die within four to five weeks.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has Not Evaluated this species.
The bladder cicada is a large-sized insect that is uniform green, with leaf-like front wings. These species got their name 'bladder' because of the distinctively large, hollow abdomens found among male cicadas, which act like echo chambers to amplify their song and calls. They have prominent compound eyes set wide apart, colored yellowish-brown, and short antennae. Females are smaller in size and have relatively smaller abdomen.
They are not cute, but they are not ugly either.
Cicada males produce sharp and loud sounds, from the two drum-like membranes called tymbals, present on either side of the abdomen, to attract nearby females, who in return respond by producing a 'click-click' sound from their wings. These calls can last up to 30-40 minutes, usually from dusk to early evening. Any sound produced by a male cicada is amplified because of its hollow abdomen.
Bladder cicadas grow up to 0.75-2.25 in (2.2-5.5 cm) in size. They are about three times smaller than the lava lizard.
These insects are strong but clumsy fliers, sometimes running into objects that get in their way. They often fly into homes, especially when people leave their doors or windows open. If you're wondering what the fastest insect would be, it's dragonflies!
Bladder cicadas weigh around 0.03 oz (0.9 g). They are also 30 times lighter than a tarantula.
These creatures do not have separate names for their male and female species. They are simply denoted as males and females.
Babies of bladder cicadas are called nymphs.
They feed on the plants by punching their needle-like tips into the stem of a plant and suck the juice.
During their time underground, cicadas primarily feed on the juices and sap of tree roots. Once above ground, they feed on plant juices which can cause menial damages to trees.
Chameleons, lizards, birds, and other predatory animals in Australia prey on them.
Bladder cicadas are not dangerous to people, animals, or pets.
Yes, you can keep them as pets and raise them from eggs until they are adults, or just adults as well. However, these pets may not be the best option if you're looking for lifelong pets, as adult species die a few weeks after mating and nymphs take years to develop into mature cicadas.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
Cicadas are the loudest insects in the world, producing sounds that can be as high as 120 dB, which is loud enough to cause harm to the human ear.
Other members of the Cicadidae family include smaller jumping bugs such as leafhoppers and froghoppers.
If you want to keep these noisy creatures away from your home, we recommend sprinkling a few drops of essential oils like peppermint oil around your house, as they dislike these fragrances.
Adult cicadas do not bite humans unless they are allowed to remain on someone long enough to mistake a part of the human body for a part of a plant.
Yes, they do. They fly around looking for hardwood trees or woody shrubs to land on.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our ambush bug facts or damselfly facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dog day cicada coloring pages.