Large cicada, borneo
Sun, Mar 15, 2009 at 6:36 PM
I was accosted by this cicada at Sabah, Borneo Island, at the start of March. It was as big as my hand – the biggest flying insect I have seen. Do you know what it is ?
Thanks, Ben D

Huge Cicada from Borneo

Huge Cicada from Borneo

Goodness Gracious Ben,
That is one huge Cicada. Sadly, we haven’t the time to try to research the species, but we are confident that one of our readers will soon supply us with an identification.

Update: Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 5:21 AM
Hi Daniel and Ben:
Other than its incredible size, this cicada doesn’t have too many distinctive features to help with positive identification. However, based on size and general appearance this looks like it is probably in the genus Pomponia, which includes most of the world’s largest cicadas. At least half a dozen Pomponia species have been recorded from Borneo, but based on visible thoracic and wing markings I suspect it may be P. merula. However, there are several other possibilities, including P. imperatoria which is the largest, and by some accounts the loudest cicada on the planet. It has a reported wingspan of 20 cm! Regards.

Location: Borneo

16 Responses to Massive Cicada from Borneo

  1. mickathy says:

    Seeing this photo reminds me of our visit to Royal Mulu National Park in September 2005. It was the breeding season for these cicadas and all of the trees surrounding the lodge were covered in them. The noise was incredible. In the evening we had to walk from our room to the restaurant and the cicadas were activated by the lights along the walkway. We were mobbed every night. The worst bit was trying to evacuate the ones that managed to get into our room! A truly fantastic experience

    • bugman says:

      We are thrilled to find that you found your Cicada encounter to be a fantastic experience. Other tourists might consider such a trip an ill-timed nightmare.

  2. Angry_Dayak says:

    I had the opportunity to spend 2 months in eastern Borneo back in 1987. I even brought back a dead specimen (my parents recenty disposed ts dusty remains). The sound of these flies is pretty much that of a helicopter, and had a deep impact on me. A bit scary, I admit 😀

  3. Katrina says:

    Just saw this in my back yard in Pennsylvania US

  4. Miki says:

    Is it possible to find something like that in Serbia? I saw some creature on my window yesterday. First, I thought it was a bat until it landed. Then I saw it’s looking like wasp, just much much bigger. It was so big that I refused to believe in possibility to be an insect. Then I took a closer look. It definitely was an insect. I think it was trying to find way into the house since outer temperature wasn’t over 20 degrees Celsius. Soon I lost it from the sight but as I remember the body was looking pretty much as wasp and wings were black with something white in the middle. I would say the size was about 7-10cm long and two fingers wide, cylindrical shaped. When it landed wings were stretched a little outward so when you look at them they were forming a triangle. First I thought it was some kind of hornet that grew in place with high level of radiation or something. But then I did some google research and found pictures of the insect called Tacua Speciosa. First it associated me with the insect I saw, but further more I found even more similar Tosena fasciata. Now, I’m pretty sure it was Toscena, or looking very much like it. So, is it possible to find it in Serbia (central Europe climate)?

  5. kema says:

    it’s in my room now, damn

  6. John Bray says:

    I was stationed at RAF Tawau in Sabah N. Borneo in 1966 (Yes I missed the world cup!)
    These monster insects would appear in regular waves sounding more like a mini – doodlebug than an insect. Although my bed was protected by a mosquito net, the tin roofed huts were open sided and these “things” would regularly (and noisily) invade.
    Between the Fruit bats and the Cicada, a night on guard duty was never boring !!

  7. raju says:

    Is it poisonous?

  8. Steven Don says:

    Oh wow, this takes me back. I lived in Brunei on Borneo 1987-1990 and these guys were everywhere. They were usually called “Borneo Beetles” by us Dutch and English expats. They were… let’s say “inefficient” at taking off to fly and just the noise would scare the crap out of you if they did so nearby. They would also crowd lamps to the point where the lamp might as well not be there as so little light could get through.

  9. Mary F says:

    I lived in Brunei, Borneo with my sister and ex pat parents for the first 9 years of my life and we loved what we called the Borneo Flies. We found, that when they landed, they seemed to like the hard mound on their heads stroked. It somehow calmed them. We also liked the ‘chic-chaks (transparent lizards) that laid their soft eggs in amongst our clothes. It was a fascinating place for insects of all kinds.

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