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Volume 28, 1895
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Art. XLII.—Notes on the Cicadidæ of New Zealand.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 26th February, 1896.]

Through the kindness of Mr. G. V. Hudson I have lately received a very interesting series of specimens, which will enable me to clear up the synonymy of most of the New Zealand species of Cicadidœ.

Very few species are at present known, all of which belong to the genus Melampsalta, Amyot, which may be recognised by the long narrow basal cell of the tegmina, from the lower and outer angle of which one nervure only, which soon bifurcates, is emitted, instead of two.*

This genus is widely distributed in the Old World, but is particularly numerous in the Australian region, where it is the largest and one of the most characteristic genera of Cicadidœ.

A list of the Cicadidœ of New Zealand was published by Captain Hutton in 1873, in which twelve species were enumerated; and in 1879 Dr. Buchanan White published a revised list in the Entomologists' Monthly Magazine, xv., pp. 213, 214, describing one species, but reducing the total number to nine. Since then Mr. Hudson has discussed the New Zealand species in the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,” vol. xxiii., and in his “Manual of New Zealand Insects.”

The species now known to me are as follow:—

[Footnote] * For tegmina of M. cingulata see figure on pl. ix., Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiii.

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I. Melampsalta cingulata, Fabr.

Tettigonia cingulata, Fabr., Syst. Ent., p. 680, n. 9 (1775).

Cicada cingulata, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 50, pl. 9 (1891); Man. N.Z. Ins., p. 118, pl. 20, figs. 1, 1a (1892).

Cicada zealandica, Bond, Voy. “Astrolabe,” Ent., p. 611, pl. 10, fig. 6 (1832); Walker, List Homopt. Ins. B. M., i., p. 159, n. 98 (1850); iv., p. 1125 (1852).

Cicada indivulsa, Walker, l.c., Suppl., p. 33 (1858).

Cicada cingulata, var. obscura, Hudson, l.c., p. 51 (1891).

By far the largest of the New Zealand species. The types are in the Banksian Collection in the British Museum.

C. indivulsa, Walker, was described from a bleached specimen. There are no specimens of this or of any allied species from Australia in the Museum except M. convergens (Cicada convergens, Walker, List Homopt. Ins., i., p. 114, n. 120, 1850), which is very distinct from M. cingulata by the nearly black abdomen, with the incisions very narrowly reddish; the two short basal stripes on the mesothorax, which are fused into one large one; and the distinct black line bounding the costal area on its lower edge. Of this species there are two rather indifferent specimens in the Museum; but neither M. cingulata nor M. convergens appears quite to agree with p. 289, which was described from Sydney, and subsequently the description of Cicada flavicosta, Stäl, Eugenie's Resa, indicated as a synonym of M. cingulata.

II. Melampsalta muta, Fabr.

There are several distinct forms which Mr. Hudson considers to be varieties of this species. I express no opinion on the subject, but have attempted to give the correct synonymy below, in the order adopted by Mr. Hudson:—

α. Muta, Fabr.

Tettigonia muta, Fabr., Syst. Ent., p. 681, n. 17 (1775).

Cicada muta, var. subalpina, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., pp. 51, 52 (1891); Man. N.Z. Ins., p. 119, pl. 20, fig. 2 (1892).

The types in the Banksian Collection show this to be the typical form of the species.

β. Cruentata, Fabr.

Tettigonia cruentata, Fabr., Syst. Ent., p. 680, n. 10 (1775).

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Cicada rosa, Walker, List Homopt. Ins., i., p. 220, n. 173 (1850).

Cicada bilinea, Walker, l.c., Suppl., p. 34 (1858).

Cicada muta, var. rufescens, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 52 (1891).

The type of this form is also in the Banksian Collection. Walker's C. bilinea is one of the female specimens alluded to by Mr. Hudson.

γ. Flavescens, Hudson.

Cicada muta, var. flavescens, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 52 (1891).

I have not seen this form.

δ. Angusta, Walker.

Cicada angusta, Walker, List Homopt. Ins., i., p. 174, n. 121 (1850).

Cicada muta, var. cinerescens, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 52 (1891).

ε. Cincta.

Cicada cincta, Walker, List Homopt. Ins. B. M., i., p. 204, n. 156 (1850).

Cicada muta, var. minor, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 52 (1891).

Walker's description is taken from a discoloured specimen.

III. Melampsalta cuteræ.

Cicada cutera, Walker, List Homopt. Ins. B. M., i., p. 172, n. 116 (1850).

Cicada orbrina, Walker, l.c., Suppl., p. 34 (1858).

Cicada aprilina, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 53 (1891); xxv., p. 163 (1893).

A long series of this insect stood in the British Museum collection under the name of Cicada muta, among which were only two specimens really belonging to the latter species. This is probably the reason why Mr. Distant so positively maintains that C. aprilina is not distinct from C. muta.

IV. Melampsalta sericea, Walker.

Cicada sericea, Walker. List Homopt. Ins. B. M., i., p. 169, n. 113 (1850).

This insect differs from M. scutellaris much as M. muta, form angusta, differs from the form rufescens. The single specimen is from Auckland. The eighth apical cell is, how-

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ever, of the same shape as in M. muta, and it may be a form of that species.

V. Melampsalta scutellaris, Walker.

Cicada scutellaris, Walker, List Homopt. Ins. B. M., i., p. 150, n. 88 (1850).

Cicada arche, Walker, l.c., p. 195, n. 146 (1850).

Cicada tristis, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 52 (1891).

The type of scutellaris, Walker, is a small male in fair condition, “collected by Earl,” but without exact locality, in which the dark markings of the mesothorax are almost obliterated. The type of arche is a specimen bleached almost beyond recognition. M. scutellaris appears to be a variable species, and in some of its forms it approaches M. muta. It may, however, easily be distinguished from M. muta by the eighth apical cell of the tegmina, which is fully twice as long as broad, and in M. muta not much longer than broad.

VI. Melampsalta nervosa, Walker.

Cicada nervosa, Walker, List Homopt. Ins. B. M., i., p. 213, n. 166 (1850).

This species has always reddish markings, and does not vary much. The types were presented by Dr. Sinclair, and were without locality; but there are others in the Museum labelled “Auckland.”

VII. Melampsalta mangu, B. White.

Melampsalta mangu, Buchanan White, Ent. Mo. Mag., xv., p. 214 (1879).

This species is referred to M. nervosa by Mr. Distant; but I am not convinced of the identity of the two insects. Dr. White writes, “Four specimens from Mr. Wakefield, labelled ‘On rocks at Porter's Pass, Canterbury, about 3,500ft.’” It may be identical with the following species, but I doubt it.

VIII. Melampsalta cassiope, Hudson.

Cicada cassiope, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 54 (1891).

Mr. Distant has referred this species to M. nervosa, under which name I have received a specimen from Mr. Hudson; it is, however, perfectly distinct. It is, however, probably identical with an insect noticed by Dr. Buchanan White at the end of his account of M. mangu: “I have another species much resembling M. mangu, but larger, and altogether black.”

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IX. Melampsalta iolanthe, Hudson.

Cicada iolanthe, Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., xxiii., p. 53 (1891); Man. N.Z. Ins., p. 119, pl. 20, figs. 3, 3a, 3b (1892).

If this form is constant, it appears to be quite distinct from any of the foregoing species.

In addition to the foregoing species, Dr. Buchanan White enumerates M. telxiope, Walker (= duplex, Walker = arche, Walker). The types of telxiope and duplex, which appear to be synonymous, are from Australia, and I regard the bleached C. arche as certainly referable to M. scutellaris.

I cannot tell, without working out the great genus Melampsalta, which I have not time to undertake at present, whether any of the New Zealand species are identical with some of those described by Walker or others, under other names, from Australia, Tasmania, or unrecorded localities. Some of the New Zealand species appear to be very variable; and there must be many still undiscovered. It would be desirable for resident entomologists to try to obtain a series of the species occurring in different localities, in order to work out this small but interesting branch of the New Zealand fauna exhaustively.

From Australia (including Tasmania) about eighty Cicadidœ are at present recorded, belonging to the following genera:—

  • *Thopha, Amyot (four species).

  • *Cyclochila, Amyot (one species).

  • Dundubia, Amyot (one species).

  • *Henicopsaltria, Stäl (two species).

  • *Macrotristria, Stäl (one species).

  • Chremistica, Stäl (four species).

  • *Psaltoda, Stäl (nine species).

  • Huechys, Amyot (one species).

  • Tibicina, Amyot (nine species).

  • Abroma, Stäl (two species).

  • *Cyrtosoma, Westw. (two species).

  • *Chlorocysta, Westw. (two species).

  • *Tettigareta, White (two species).

  • Melampsalta, Amyot (thirty-seven species).

It is true that the cicad fauna of New Zealand is very much poorer than that of Australia, and that some of the genera above enumerated are tropical or subtropical forms; but both countries are very imperfectly explored at present—it can hardly be supposed that when Australia has fourteen genera—eight of which (indicated by an asterisk) are peculiar to the country—and eighty-three species, New Zealand has only one genus, represented by eight species in all. At any

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rate, I expect to find several species of Tibicina, resembling Melampsalta, but with two separate nervures rising from the end of the basal cell, instead of one nervure bifurcating immediately, as in Melampsalta. If special attention is given to the subject by collectors, I have little doubt that several new species, and even genera, might easily be added to the New Zealand list.