With the warm – well, actually hot! – weather at this time of year, our local bushland is fairly fizzing with the sound of cicadas.

We have several species locally, and I wrote a post a while ago attempting to identify each by their calls. The Redeye, Psaltoda moerens, the largest of them, is quite characteristic and reasonably well known. It is easily recognisable by its song, which builds to a crescendo of revving and yodeling buzzes.

But more common are the medium-sized cicadas of the Pauropsalta family; P. rubristrigata, and the smaller Black Squeaker, P. encaustica. En mass, they fill the bush with that persistent zizzing and fizzing that we hear. Heard up close, each species has quite distinct calls, with individuals giving quite a degree of variety, from steady buzzing to more rhythmical patterns such as “ch-ch-cher, ch-ch-cher”.

I realise it is unnecessary, given how ubiquitous they are now, but here is a recording of our local multi-species cicada chorus.

… and some images of a P. rubristrigata I came across the other morning. They are usually quite wary, so nice to get these close ups. Notice the red hind border of the abdominal segments.

black squeaker

black squeaker

black squeaker

8 responses to “Fizzers

  1. Richard Sullivan

    Nice post A. Timely. Cheers Down-the-hill R

    Sent from my iPhone Richard


  2. Annmaree Smerdon. (nee McBain of Newstead)

    What sound for sore ears! Much missed bush sound scape for one living in cool, grey and a relatively quiet wildlife of the UK.
    Thanks for that treat.

    • I remember being in England when I was younger, and my mother sending me a cassette of her telling me all the news from home. But what really caught my homesick attention was the sound of cicadas outside as she was talking! Yes, the UK can be quiet, although come spring, the woodlands will be alive with sound.

  3. Thanks Andrew, these cicada recordings are a source of real joy to Dee and me. regards,

  4. This was a most interesting post with the memorable sounds of summer. Having moved from an irrigation district lacking in these familiar summer choruses to river land among the big trees I am again enjoying the cicadas’

  5. Timely post Andrew. Appears to be a great emergence of Popplepsalta rubristrigata (its new name as of Dec 2016) all over Victoria alongside many tickers (Yoyetta species). The latter have been Yoyetta fluviatilis (fainter buzz like ticks0 and another undescribed species (485) along rivers (esp Seymour). So nice to be serenaded by red-eyes though!

    • Thanks David. Do you know whether any of our local cicada species are cyclical or periodic in the way that those species in eastern America are? The ones I’m hearing seem to be present each year, but in variable numbers. This year the Popplepsaltas seem more populous compared to last for instance.

  6. Gillian Anderson

    We seem to have the black ones at Glenrowan which we used to identify as “NSW” cicadas

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