Subject: What is this insect?
Location: Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia
October 16, 2016 2:39 pm
Hi, my names Jess. I found an insect in my garden and I don’t know what it is. It has a leafy exterior and a very large behind. It has six legs and big brown eyes. When disturbed it make a similar noise to a small frog, kind of. I haven’t seen it fly but it has wings.
Signature: Jess Burton
Australia is home to hundreds of different species of Cicadas, and this Bladder Cicada, Cystosoma saundersii, is one of the more unusual looking ones. According to the Queensland Government site: “The bladder cicada is a large cicada up to 5 cm long that is green in colour, and with leaf-like wings. The most distinctive feature of males is their large abdomen (from which they have gained the name ‘bladder’), which is hollow and acts as an echo-chamber to amplify their calls.” Much like your observation, the site also states: “The large, hollow abdomen of male bladder cicadas helps them to produce a distinctive and deep, frog-like sound. Their calls last up to half-an-hour, and can be heard from dusk to early evening.” According to Climate Watch: “Breeding: mating occurs from September. The female cuts small slits in the branches of a plant into which she lays her eggs. The eggs hatch into nymphs, drop to the ground and burrow into the soil where they feed on sap in the roots of plants. They remain underground for several years (possibly six or seven!) until fully grown, then emerge as adults at night from September. They climb up trees and shed their complete brown shells before flying off to find mates. After so long underground, they live for only a few weeks more.”