Cherryeye Cicada from Australia: First Cicada Photo of the season

Subject: Giant winged bug.
Location: Victoria, Australia.
January 10, 2014 8:54 pm
My dog was going crazy in the backyard and I came out to find this huge winged creature crawling around. It had a broken wing, and didn’t seem vicious in the slightest. I removed it away from my dog but not sure if she had already came in contact with the bug, and if it could it harm her.
Signature: Greatly appreciated, Maddi.

Cherryeye Cicada
Cherryeye Cicada

Hi Maddi,
This is a Cicada, and we were only going to use your correctly focused image in this posting, however, close inspection of the blurry photo (the one where the photographer considered the background content to be more important than the Cicada) revealed the stunningly red eyes.  That really assisted in our identification, because we quickly learned on Australian Museum website that this Cicada is known as the Red Eye Cicada,
Psaltoda moerens.  The Australian Museum does provide this information:  “The Red Eye cicada can be very common one year, with thousands of individuals in a few trees, but then completely absent the next year.”  We learned on Cicada Mania that this species is also commonly called the Cherryeye.  The University of Queensland website has photos of mounted specimens as well as a link to the song of this species.  Some species of Cicadas are among the loudest insects in the world.  Elsewhere on the University of Queensland site, the song is described as:  “A rich growl that increases in volume until it becomes a roar. This then breaks up into a melodious yodel sequence, which then fades away. This sequence sounds something like: ‘de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yaw de-e-yeeeeeeeeeeeeeawwww…'”  The limited range is listed as:  “From Kroombit Tops in Queensland south to the eastern half of Tasmania. In Victoria it occurs west to the Grampians, with isolated populations on the Victorian/South Australian border and in South Australia at the Adelaide Hills. In Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales the species is mostly restricted to the highlands, on or adjacent to the Great Dividing Range. Adults occur from November until March.”  Lastly, the INaturalist site compiles much of the preceding information and also supplies additional information, including:  ” They feed primarily on eucalyptus but also on Angophora trees.”  Cicada nymphs spend several years underground feeding on the fluids in the roots of plants, and the occasionally emerge in great numbers.  Australia is known for Cicada diversity and there are many species with interesting common names.  Cicadas do not sting, so they really can’t harm your dog, though once we did publish a report of a person being bitten by a Cicada which has a mouth designed to pierce and suck fluids.  Cicadas are considered edible, and a great source of protein.

AKA Red Eye Cicada
AKA Red Eye Cicada


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