Art. XXVII.—A Revision of the New Zealand Cicadidae (Homoptera), with Descriptions of New Species.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 1st June, 1920; received by Editor, 18th August, 1920; issued separately, 20th July, 1921.]
In 1908 Kirkaldy pointed out the urgent need for a revision of the New Zealand species of Melampsalta. This paper is an attempt to supply the want.
I must first acknowledge a deep debt of gratitude to Mr. G. V. Hudson. Without his encouragement the paper would not have been commenced without his assistance it would not have been completed. He has also honoured me by furnishing the plates, which form a most valuable portion of the paper. My thanks are due also to Professor H. B. Kirk, who kindly read the text.
In the difficult work of establishing the synonymy much valuable help was received from manuscript notes of Mr. Howard Ashton, of Sydney, to whom Mr. Hudson sent a collection of Cicadidae in 1907. In some few instances my own researches have led me to conclusions at variance with those of Mr. Ashton, particularly with regard to the much-disputed synonymy of the multifarious forms of M. cruentata Fabr.
In field-work and collecting, Mr. T. C. Cockcroft's keen assistance has been invaluable.
In the order Hemiptera, or Rhynchota, the suborder Homoptera contains two very distinct divisions, based on the position of the rostrum. Of these, the Auchenorryncha comprise the cicadas and leaf-hoppers, while the Sternorrhyncha include the springing plant-lice, the true plant-lice (01 aphides), and the scale insects.
The Auchenorrhynchous Homoptera form a much-neglected group, of which the importance, both economic and biological, is, however, extremely great. As the suctorial mouth-parts of these insects inflict only very minute wounds on plants, the damage they do to crops is apt to be largely underestimated. That their study is not only of purely scientific interest is demonstrated by the fact that, according to Osborn, at least one-fourth of all the grass in North America is annually destroyed by leaf-hoppers.
To show the affinities of the Cicadidae it will be necessary to indicate briefly the classification of the Auchenorrhyncha. Under the system proposed by Kirkaldy the group is divided into two main “superfamihes”—the Cicadoidea, containing the families Cicadidae, Jassidae, Membracidae, and Cercopidae (the frog-hoppers or cuckoo-spit insects so common in Europe, and occurring also in New Zealand); and the Fulgoroidea, containing the famous lantern-flies, of which the luminosity is now generally doubted if not absolutely disproved, and a multitude of smaller, often very
beautiful forms, for which no one has yet found popular names. It is proposed to devote a later paper to the leaf-hoppers generally.
Of the families themselves, the Cicadidae, though attaining a very high degree of specialization in their stridulatory organs, are yet to be considered, as a whole, the most primitive. In general points of structure, particularly of the head and thorax, and in wing-venation, the cicadas are considered by Osborn to approach, more closely than do other Auchenorrhyncha, the Psyllidae, which Tillyard believes to be the oldest family of the Sternorrhyncha. Though this lends additional colour to the view that the Cicadidae are the most primitive of the Auchenorrhyncha, fossil cicadas, according to Tillyard, do not occur before the Cretaceous, long after typical Jassids and Fulgoroids had appeared.
So much for the present state of knowledge—or, rather, speculation—with regard to the phylogeny of the family. With respect to structure, the Cicadidae are characterized by—Ocelli three, on vertex. Head and antennae very short. Rostrum long, with three joints. Thorax large, with a narrow transverse pronotum and a large mesonotum carrying posteriorly a cruciform elevation. Tegmina and wings usually hyaline.
The subfamily Tibiceninae may be recognized by the entirely uncovered state of the sound-organs in the male; while the genus Melampsalta Amy. (= Cicadetta Kol.), to which all our species belong, is identified by the union or close contiguity of the bases of the ulnar veins of the tegmina at the end of the basal cell.
The genus Melampsalta, though occurring in Europe and Asia, has its headquarters in Australasia. Of the thirteen New Zealand species, the common and variable M. cruentata (angusta) occurs also in Adelaide and Victoria (Goding and Froggatt). All the others, with the possible but highly improbable exception of M. quadricincta, are endemic.
With regard to the biology of these beautiful insects, which are popularly but very inaccurately known as “locusts,” very few details are known. During the summer months almost every type ot country, be it bush, meadow, swamp, seashore, scrub, or alpine slope, is enlivened by the song of one or more peculiar species. I should like to emphasize the fact that practically every species described may be distinguished in the field by characters—such as song, habitat, and, may I say, psychology—other than those usually considered by the systematist. It has been noticed that, even in the most variable forms, the song is practically the same throughout the species. It is, however, rather difficult to describe and to utilize for a written description.
I have observed either oviposition or, much more frequently, the marks of the process in two species, M. cinguldata and M. cruentata. In the latter, for example, a twig of Macropiper excelsum was gashed to the centre for about 2 m. In the former a female M. cruentata was operating on a fairly soft, green stalk of fennel (Foeniculum), with her body parallel to the stem and her ovipositor working with a vigorous, vertical, saw-like motion at right angles.
The nymphs on hatching are said to drop to the ground, beneath which the whole of the nymphal instars are passed. It is hoped to obtain next season more precise information regarding the events subsequent to hatching in the New Zealand species. The nymphs at a later stage, with their very powerful, fossorial first pair of legs, and their smooth, yellowish integument, are familiar objects to the gardener. The duration of the subterranean existence of the New Zealand species is not known; but
that it may, at least occasionally, extend beyond a season is demonstrated by the occurrence of full-grown nymphs of M. cingulata at the end of May (Hudson, Ent. Mo. Mag., vol. 55, p. 181, August, 1919). The famous periodical cicada (Tibicen septemdecim) of North America spends, of course, seventeen years beneath the surface.
When the time of emergence of the New Zealand species is at hand the full-grown nymph makes its way to the surface and climbs, often to a height of some feet, a tree or any other convenient support. The two sand-dune species are necessarily confined to short, unstable herbage. Dehiscence takes place along the mid-dorsal line of the thorax, and emergence occurs at night, or at least after sunset. The nymphal exuviae remain, abundant and familiar objects, hanging to the support.
Probably the most noticeable characteristic of the imago is its song, which is produced only by the male. For an account of the sound-producing apparatus of the New Zealand species the reader is referred to a paper by Powell in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, vol. 5, p. 286. Though our large species, M. cingulata, can produce a surprising volume of sound, it is excelled by many foreign species, notably by an Australian form, of which McCoy, quoted by Distant, gives the following account: “It produces almost a deafening sound from the numbers of the individuals in the hottest days, and the loudness of their noise, which, beginning with a prolonged, high-toned whirr like that of a knife-grinder, or the letter R loudly prolonged in a high pitch, continued for a minute or two, breaks into a series of diminuendo ‘squawks,’ like that of a frightened duck in a farmyard, loud enough to be heard some hundred yards off, and stunning our ears with the shrilling and squalling. This, kept up with ‘damnable iteration,’ as Falstaff says, by hundreds of individuals all day long, would tax the patience of a saint, if such existed in Australia.”
Though the cicada is usually linked with the cricket in contrast to the conventional provident and industrious ant, and though the life of the cigale is considered an Arcadian existence by the Provençal peasant, its enemies are by no means few. First in importance probably are birds of various species, but especially house-sparrows (Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 51, 1891). Other insects, such as mantids, other carnivorous Orthoptera, dragon-flies, ichneumons, and hornets, have been recorded outside New Zealand as exploiters of the Cicadidae. In New Zealand I have seen the carnivorous Heteropteron, Cermatulus nasalis Westw., that butcher of noctuid caterpillars, attack a male M. cruentata much larger than itself The bug had inserted its rostrum into the end of the cicada's abdomen. The “singer,” attempting to fly, was actually swinging by its exserted extreme abdominal segments, while the bug, gripping with its claws the rough toetoe (Arundo conspicua) leaf, held back hard, though nearly pulled off its perch by the larger insect, which kept up a shrill, screaming stridulation, very different from its normal happy note.
Finally, the fungus Cordyceps Sinclarii attacks the nymph and (less frequently) the imago, occupying every part of the body with mycelial hyphae, in a manner similar to that of the well-known C. Robertsii, the “vegetable caterpillar.”
Measurements.—All dimensions are given in millimetres, and are the averages of large series where such could be obtained. Instead of giving the expanse, I have measured the tegmen itself, thus allowing the important taxonomic ratio of body-length to tegmen-length to be more readily used.
1. Melampsalta cingulata Fabr. (Plate XLV: fig. 5, ♂; fig. 6, ♀.)
Tettigonia cingulata Fabr., Syst. Ent., 680, 9, 1775. Cicada cingulata Hudson, Man. N.Z. Ent., p. 118, 1892; Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 50, 1891. C. zealandica Boisduval, Voy. “Astrolabe,” Ent., pl. 10, fig. 6, 1832. C. indivulsa Walk., Cat. Hom. B.M. Suppl. 33, 1858. Cicadetta cingulata Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 28, 1909.
Head black; frons with pale - brownish median area, continuing on vertex. Notum black. Pronotum with median, longitudinal yellow or green streak. Mesonotum with five more or less interrupted green or ochraceous longitudinal stripes, the median one very short. Cruciform elevation forms two diverging green crescents. Abdomen black. Segments edged with spots or broken lines of brown and more or less silvery pubescence. In female seventh abdominal segment cinctured more or less conspicuously with yellow. Ventral surface—abdomen usually uniform black; sometimes brown with black segmented margins. Tegmina—costa strongly bowed at distal end of radial area, brown or olivaceous. Distal ends of first and second ulnar areas black. Bases of tegmina and wings green or olivaceous.
Long. corp. 22–26 mm.; tegmen, 35–40 mm.
Distribution.—Auckland to Southland (Hutton). December to April.
This is probably, by reason of its size, abundance, and loud note, the most conspicuous species of the family. In habits it is essentially arboreal, delighting to perch on bare trunks and the larger branches, though posts and even buildings in the towns are not disdained. At Wanganui I have counted at many as thirty-nine on a single telegraph-post. The extreme wariness of this cicada, together with its habit of perching at a considerable height, renders it a difficult insect to catch. One of the “vegetable-caterpillar” fungi, Coryceps Sinclairii, attacks this species both in the final nymphal and in the imaginal instars. M. cingulata is nearest M. strepitans, from which it is distinguished by its larger size, longer tegmina with greenish basal areas, and very varied song
2. Melampsalta strepitans Kirkaldy. (Plate XLV, fig. 7, ♂.)
Cicada cingulata var. obscura Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 51, 1891. Cicadetta strepitans Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 28, 1909.
In colour and markings resembles M. cingulata; but abdomen more often concolorous, and pattern extremely indistinct. Silvery pubescence, especially on abdomen, much more pronounced than in M. cingulata. Bases of tegmina and wings clouded with orange. Costa olivaceous, strongly bowed at distal end of radial area. Proximal junctions of ulnar veins separated much farther than in M. cingulata.
Body very short and stout; tegmina short and broad. Long. corp. 19–21 mm.; tegmen, 22–24 mm.
Distribution.—Kekerangu; Tasman River, Mount Cook (Hudson); Wellington; Christchurch. December to February.
This very distinct species was discovered by Mr. Hudson on boulders in a river-bed of the Kaikoura Mountains, Marlborough. Its song was described as loud and chattering. I have taken it in February on a rocky slope at the top of the cliff near Red Rocks, Wellington, where it was discovered by Mr. T. Cockcroft. The note is loud and distinct, differing
from that of M. cingulata in its much more intermittent though monotonous character. The insects frequent rocks and stumps in the full sunshine, showing little liking for trees, thus differing from the tree-loving M. cingulata. They are extremely wary. It was proved that sight is their chief guide by approaching from the opposite side of the rock on which they were resting. A front approach was practically impossible.
3. Melampsalta cauta n. sp. (Plate XLV, fig. 8, ♂.)
Head green in male, cinereous in female, with two black triangular spots posterior to ocelli, which are red. Pronotum black with maroon overmarkings; anterior and posterior borders pale green, connected by pale-green median line Mesonotum deep reddish-black laterally; anteriorly two large red obconical marks bordered with black, followed by a pale-green area containing three black spots forming a triangle. Cruciform elevation conical, shining green. Abdomen ♂ almost uniform black, with faint reddish segmental margins; ventrally dull bluish-black; genital segments long and narrow, shining black. Abdomen ♀ black with segmental margins maroon-red. Indications of faint silvery median stripe. Ventral surface brownish. Indications of yellowish cincture on seventh abdominal segment. Costa reddish or reddish-olive, passing into black on post-costal area.
Body slender; tegmina long. Long. corp. 20–21 mm.; tegmen, 26–28 mm.
Distribution.—Ohakune; Karori; Day's Bay, Wellington. December to March.
This species is perhaps nearest M. scutellaris in markings, but is perfectly distinct. It frequents bush in hilly country, showing a preference for tree-trunks and logs, and exhibiting probably a greater wariness than any other member of the family. The nature of the country adds to the difficulty of its capture. The song is composed of two notes, much louder than that of M. cruentata, though much less varied and less loud than that of M. cingulata, which the insect strongly resembles in habits.
Miss Stella Hudson discovered this species at Ohakune.
4. Melampsalta scutellaris Walk. (Plate XLVI: fig. 3, ♂; fig. 4, ♀.)
Cicada scutellaris Walk., Cat. Hom. B.M., 1850, 150. C. arche, l.c., 195. C. tristis Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 52, 1891. Cicadetta scutellaris Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 27, 1909.
Goding and Froggatt (Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vol. 29, p. 642), following Stal, consider C. arche a synonym of the Australian M. telxiope Walk. Kirkaldy (l.c., p. 27) regards C. arche as a doubtful species and its synonymy with M. telxiope improbable. However this may be, our New Zealand M. scutellaris, which Kirby (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 28, p. 457, 1896), places in synonymy with C. arche, is certainly distinct from M. telxiope. Walker's type of C. arche is a “specimen bleached almost beyond recognition” (Kirby).
Head brassy to bronzy green. Vertex concolorous. Pronotum greenish with slight blackish markings and paler median streak widening posteriorly. Streak often dull-reddish. Mesonotum with four obconical pinkish areas from anterior border, streaked with black, the two median areas half the length of the two laterals. Cruciform elevation glabrous-green, conical
Abdomen almost uniform bronze or greenish-bronze, sometimes segmental margins greener, or reddish. Ventral surface—♂ greenish; abdomen dark; opercula pale-greenish : ♀ pale yellowish-green; abdomen with dark median stripe. Tegmina—distal end of fifth ulnar area more acute than in any other species. Costa olivaceous. Eighth apical cell twice as long as broad.
Long slender body, tapering antero-posteriorly; tegmina long. Long. corp. 16–20 mm.; tegmen, 21–25 mm.
“Exceedingly sad and feeble song” (Hudson). Easily recognized by the almost inaudible note, bronzy colour marked with green or reddish, and slender build. Prefers low herbage, and bushes, and is less wary than the other species, though extremely difficult to locate. The eighth apical cell of the tegmen is always easily twice as long as broad.
This species is very frequently caught in Epeirid-spider webs. January to middle of May.
5. Melampsalta muta Fabr. (Plate XLVI: fig. 5, ♂; fig. 6, ♀.)
Tettigonia muta Fabr., Syst. Ent., 681, 17, 1775. Cicada cutora Walk., Cat. Hom. B.M., 172, 1850. C. ochrina Walk., l.c., Suppl. 34, 1858. C. aprilina Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 53, 1891. Melampsalta cuterae Kirby, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 28, p. 456, 1896. M. muta Distant (part), Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., vol. 9, p. 326, 1892. Cicadetta aprilina Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol 41, p. 28, 1909.
“A long series of this insect (cuterae) stood in the British Museum collection under the name of Cicada muta (our M. cruentata), 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” (i.e., our cruentata). (Kirby, l.c., p. 456. The parentheses are mine.)
General colour wholly and invariably vivid grass-green. Two short longitudinal black lines on anterior portion of mesonotum. Remainder gréen. Cruciform elevation—two brownish-green swellings with a grass-green projection between them. Golden longitudinal median stripe on abdomen only. Legs pale green with red tarsi. Mesosternum pale reddish (black in cruentata). Tegmina—veins green, olive-green, or reddish-brown.
Long. 19–21 mm.; tegmen, 23–27 mm.
Sexes similar; practically no variation.
Distribution.—Wellington; Auckland; Taupo. No authentic South Island records.
This is an extremely beautiful and very distinct species, differing from M. cruentata, its nearest relative, in markings, habits, note, habitat, time of greatest abundance, and sometimes in size. It is essentially the cicada of the bushes. As its colour might indicate, leaves are its habitual environment, whence its rather harsh note is frequently heard late in the season; but it is amazingly difficult to detect its location. The note is monotonous and insistent, with no variation. It is much louder than that of M. cruentata, with a grating, harsh quality absent from the notes of the other cicadas.
February and March. One female of this species was taken at electric light in the evening.
6. Melampsalta cruentata Fabr. (Plate XLVI : fig. 9, ♂; fig. 10, ♀; fig. 11, red variety of ♂.)
Tettigonia cruentata Fabr., Syst. Ent., 680, 10, 1775. Cicada sericea Walk., Cat. Hom. B.M., 169, 1850. C. rosea Walk., l.c., 220. C. angusta Walk., l.c., 174. C. bilinea Walk., l.c., Suppl. 34, 1858. Melampsalta rosea Stal, Oefv. Vet. Ak. Fork., p. 484, 1862 (quoted by Distant). M. muta Distant (part), Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., vol. 9, p. 326, 1892; Kirby (vars. β-δ), Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 28, p. 455, 1896. M. sericea Kirby, l.c., p. 456. M. angusta Distant, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., vol. 9, p. 326, 1892; Goding and Froggatt, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vol. 29, p. 643, 1904. Cicada muta Hudson (and vars. flavescens, cinerascens, rufescens), Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 51, 1891. Cicadetta cruentata and angusta Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 28, 1909.
♂. General colour dark red, brownish, or olivaceous, with a silvery or pale median stripe from frons to tip of abdomen. Mesonotum with two heavy black obconical patches, variable in size. Cruciform elevation always paler. Abdomen—segmental margins red, brownish, or olivaceous, remainder dark. Costa olivaceous or reddish. Tegmina and wings clear.
Long. 14–17 mm.; tegmen, 18–21 mm.
♀. Resembles male except in larger size and the following : General colour pale greenish, olivaceous, yellowish, ochreous, or bright red.
Long. 18–23 mm.; tegmen, 20–24 mm.
Both sexes extremely variable in colour, size, and intensity of markings. Pale median stripe always present, sometimes edged with darker, especially on the anterior segments of abdomen. The eighth apical cell of the tegmen is nearly as broad as long.
Distribution.—Probably generally distributed throughout the country at low levels. It is interesting to note that this is the only species not endemic. Goding and Froggatt (“Monograph of Australian Cicadidae”) record it from Adelaide and Victoria.
This is the common cicada of the open country from November to May. In contradistinction to the shrub-loving M. muta, it shows a decided preference for grass, herbage, and swamp-vegetation on or near the ground. The species is extremely variable; but the continuous median stripe is constant, and the note varies but little. In tone the song is intermediate between the shrill, weak chirping of M. scutellaris and M. cincta and the rather harsh, insistent stridulation of M. muta. Observations in the field emphatically confirm Distant's opinion that the two extreme forms (angusta and cruentata) are one and the same species.
Var. subalpina. (Plate XLVI : fig. 12, ♂; fig. 13, ♀.)
Cicada muta var. subalpina Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 51, 1891. Melampsalta muta Kirby, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 28, p. 455, 1896. Cicadetta muta Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 27, 1909.
General colour vivid green occasionally suffused with reddish. Genital segment with two dark lateral lines. Cruciform elevation tinged with red or yellow. The obconical spots of the mesonotum sometimes marked with red. Legs sometimes green with red tarsi. Tegmina and wings suffused with green (distinction from type). Veins green, costa reddish.
Size larger than type. Long. 18–23 mm.; tegmen, 23–28 mm.
This is a well-marked green variety which sometimes bears a great superficial resemblance to M. muta, from which it is readily distinguished by the pale median stripe of the pronotum. Its note also seems intermediate between that of M. cruentata (type) and that of M. muta.
“That this is no more than a variety is proved by the fact that specimens have been known to mate with the typical red variety of the species.” (Hudson.)
This is such a distinct variety that further study may justify its elevation to specific rank.
Distribution.—Silverstream, Wellington (T. Cockcroft); Mount Arthur and Dun Mountain, Nelson; Arthur's Pass; Tapuaenuku, Kaikoura Mountains; Murchison.
7. Melampsalta fuliginosa n. sp. (Plate XLVI, fig. 2, ♀.)
♀. Head black. Notum uniform dead-black with slight scattered indications of golden pubescence. Abdomen black with silver median dorsal stripe. Segmental margins laterally olivaceous. Ventral surface fuscous brown. Abdominal segments edged with paler.
In size, shape, and ratio of body-length to tegmen-length resembles M. cruentata. Long. corp. 21 mm.; tegmen, 21 mm.
Distribution.—Wellington. One specimen. February.
This is described from a unique female specimen. It may possibly prove, when a series can be obtained, to be only an extreme variety of the highly variable M. cruentata. However, in the absence of any intermediate forms it seems at present sufficiently distinct.
8. Melampsalta indistincta n. sp. (Plate XLVI: fig. 7, ♂; fig. 8, ♀.)
Eyes brown. Head pubescent, brownish-grey. Vertex with central pale area. Pronotum dark-brownish with small lateral dark streaks obscured by white pubescence. Median line of pronotum pale-yellowish, edged with darker and expanding to full width at edge of mesonotum, though interrupted by two black spots. Mesonotum black with two olive-brown lateral streaks. Abdomen black with indications of a pale median dorsal streak and with segmental margins pale brown at the sides. Sides of abdomen with silvery pubescence. Cruciform elevation pale with black apex. Costa and veins pale-brownish. Ventral surface—♂ pale brown with black median area, ♀ uniform pale yellowish-brown.
Long. corp. 14–17 mm.; tegmen, 17–20 mm.
Distribution.—Pipiriki, Wanganui River, Auckland (Hudson); Paekakariki. “Amongst boulders in hot sunshine. Note very distinctive.” January.
This little species was discovered by Mr. Hudson.
9. Melampsalta cincta Walk. (Plate XLV, fig. 11, ♂.)
Cicada cincta Walk., Cat. Hom. B.M., 204, 1850. C. muta var. minor Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 52, 1891.
General colour tawny or reddish with black markings. Pronotum with pale median longitudinal band containing posteriorly two distinct black dots. Two diagonal black streaks laterally. Mesonotum heavily marked with black; a faint silvery median streak. Approximately anterior third of abdomen black, remaining segments edged posteriorly with red, especially laterally. Silvery median longitudinal streak varying in intensity. Bases of tegmina and wings brilliant red. Anal area of wing outlined more or
less vividly with carmine. Costa and veins green. Post-costal area red. More or less silvery pubescence on whole surface. Sexes similar. Mesosternum almost wholly pale.
Long. corp. 15–18 mm.; tegmen, 16–21 mm.
Distribution.—Taupo; Wellington (Hutton). River-bed of the Manawatu at Palmerston North; Pipiriki, Wanganui River; Motueka, Maitai (Hudson).
This well-marked species is confined to the sand-dunes not far above high-water mark, among Spinifex hirsutus, Coprosma acerosa, and Scirpus frondosus. Its note is shrill and weak, somewhat resembling that of the small cricket. In common with the other littoral species (M. leptomera n. sp.) it exhibits considerable unwillingness to fly; and the males are out of all comparison much more abundant than the females.
10. Melampsalta leptomera n. sp. (Plate XLVI, fig. 1, ♀.)
Markings generally as in M. cineta. General colour pale tawny with black markings much obscured by abundant short silvery pubescence. Median pale longitudinal band throughout rather indistinct. Pronotum almost as in M. cincta. Mesonotum black with two pale-brown longitudinal marks containing posteriorly a black dot. Mesosternum black. Abdomen black with the segmental margins faintly red; but the whole appearing grey, owing to white closely-appressed pubescence. Bases of tegmina and wings, costa, post-costal area, and veins orange-yellow. Body and wings very long and narrow. Sexes similar.
Long. corp. 16–20 mm.; tegmen, 18–23 mm.
Distribution.—Lyall Bay, Wellington. January, February.
This striking species occurs nearer the actual beach than M. cincta, almost exclusively among pingao (Scirpus frondosus), the tawny leaves of which it resembles in colour. The favourite position is low down in the axil of a leaf, with the folded tegmina and convexity of the back fitted into the concavity of the base of the leaf. The insect is extremely difficult to detect. It is comparatively unwilling to take to flight, and sometimes falls to the ground with folded wings, rather than attempt to escape in the usual manner. Possibly this is due to the windy nature of its habitat. The note is extremely weak, though not so high-pitched as that of M. scutellaris.
11. Melampsalta quadricincta Walk. (Plate XLV: fig. 3, ♂; fig. 4, ♀.)
Cicada quadricincta Walk., Cat. Hom. B.M., 191. 1850. C. nervosa Walk., l.c., 213. C. cassiope Hudson, Trans. N.Z Inst., vol. 23, p. 54, 1891. Melampsalta quadricincta Goding and Froggatt, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vol. 29, p. 645, 1904. M. cassiope Kirby, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 28, p. 457, 1896. M. mangu White, Ent. Mo. Mag., vol. 15, p. 21, 1879. M. mangu Kirby, l.c., p. 457.
The type of C. quadricincta Walk. is labelled “New Holland,” but no specimens came under the notice of Goding and Froggatt when they monographed the Australian Cicadidae. Considering, therefore, the generally vague character of foreign-locality labels in 1850, I think we are justified, in the absence of other evidence, in concluding that M. quadricincta syn. cassiope, the common alpine cicada of New Zealand, is endemic.
General colour black with long hairs (especially in the female) and pale pubescence. Frons heavily hirsute; tawny spot on each side. Vertex—some indication of pale median area. Pronotum considerably wider than head. Mesonotum almost uniform black. Cruciform elevation tawny. Segmental margins of abdomen more or less tawny or reddish. Ventral surface pale ochreous. Wings perfectly transparent, short. Costa and veins fulvous.
♀ considerably larger.
Long. corp. 19–23 mm.; tegmen, 18–22 mm.
For specimens of this species and all information respecting it I am indebted to Mr. G. V. Hudson. It is the common alpine cicada of New Zealand; elevation, 2,500-4,000 ft.
“Song extremely low—a short muffled rasp, followed by a very faint shrill hiss, about one and a half times as long as the rasp. Written while cicada was singing.” (Hudson.)
Distribution.—Dun Mountain; Mount Earnslaw; Kelly's Creek, Otira (1,000 ft.); Tapuaenuku, Marlborough; Mount Arthur; Lake Harris, Wakatipu. Probably generally distributed on South Island mountains. January, February.
12. Melampsalta nigra n. sp (Plate XLV: fig. 1, ♂; fig. 2, ♀.)
Very stout and squat. Shining deep black except where obscured by dark pubescence and hairs. No signs of markings. Head with coarse forwardly-directed black hairs. Eyes very deep brown. Ocelli red, separated by a deep groove. Surface of head coarsely punctate, more or less pubescent. Pronotum with two rugose grooves diverging from the posterior median elevation. Pubescence pale and sparse, hairs long and dark. Pronotum considerably wider than head. Mesonotum more or less smooth. A little greyish short pubescence in ♀. Cruciform elevation prominent, uniformly black. Long dark hairs covering the thorax are visible in profile. Abdomen short and thick. Dark hairs and greyish pubescence, the latter prominent on the segmental margins of the female. Last body-segment (preceding genital segments) pale in ♀. Dorsal portion of genital segments shining black, sides and under flaps paler. Legs brownish, except anterior pair which are black. Tegmina and wings suffused with brown. Veins very heavy and black.
Sexes similar in size. Long. corp. 16 mm.; tegmen, 16 mm.
For specimens of this insect and all information regarding it I am indebted to Mr. Hudson.
Distribution.—Arthur's Pass: rocks and shingle in hot afternoon sunshine; 4,600–5,200 ft. 11th February, 1920.
“On eastern side of Arthur's Pass (4,500–5,200 ft.) there are shingle-patches and mountain-grass interspersed. Here a new species of cicada was abundant. Extremely wary and difficult to approach. Note of male very short, quick, faint, and low-pitched—quite different from that of M. quadricincta.” (Hudson.)
13. Melampsalta iolanthe Huds. (Plate XLV, fig. 9, ♀.)
Cicada iolanthe Hudson, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 53, 1891; Man. N.Z. Ent., p. 119, 1892. Cicadetta iolanthe Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 27, 1909.
Head very hairy, fuscous. Notum dark olive-brown with indistinct black markings, pubescent. Anterior and posterior borders of mesonotum glabrous, reddish-brown Cruciform elevation reddish-brown, ridged. Abdomen black, segmental margins brown or reddish. Costa reddish-brown. Genital segments reddish. Ventral surface pubescent. Body exceedingly short and stout. Wings short. Median markings absent.
Long. corp. 15 mm.; tegmen, 16 mm.
Distribution.—Taupo; Nelson; Canterbury (Hutton); Wellington (Hudson).
This is the smallest species. December to March. (Hudson.) It has become rather rare, and I have not yet taken a specimen myself.
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|1. Tegmen with two adjacent black spots at ¾||2|
|Tegmen without black spots||3|
|2. Tegmen 27 mm. or longer, base green or olivaceous||M. cingulata.|
|Tegmen 24 mm. or less, base orange||M. strepitans.|
|3. Apex of fifth ulnar area acute||M. scutellaris.|
|Apex of fifth ulnar area obtuse||4|
|4. Continuous median dorsal stripe||5|
|Median stripe wholly or partially absent||6|
|5. Bases of wings red, costa green||M. cincta.|
|Bases of wings orange, costa yellow||M. leptomera.|
|Tegmina and wings colourless||M. cruentata.|
|6. Colour vivid grass-green||M. muta.|
|7. Two obconical red black-edged marks on mesonotum||M. cauta.|
|No such marks on mesonotum||8|
|8. Conspicuous median stripe on abdomen only||M. fuliginosa.|
|Stripe faint or absent||9|
|9. Veins black, heavily marked||M. nigra.|
|10. Distinct pale median stripe on pronotum||M. indistincta.|
|Pronotum practically concolorous||11|
|11. Size larger, colour black, much pubescence||M. quadricincta.|
|Size smaller, colour dark tawny, less pubescence||M. iolanthe.|
Boisduval, Voyage de “l'Astrolabe” (Ent.), 1832.
Distant, W. L., Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 1892.
—–, Monograph of Oriental Cicadidae, 1892.
Fabricius, Systema Entomologiae, 1775.
Goding, F. W., and Froggatt, W. W., Monograph of Australian Cicadidae, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vol. 29, pp. 561–670, 1904.
Gossard, H. A., Periodical Cicada, Ohio Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull. 311, 1917.
Hudson, G. V., Manual of N.Z. Entomology, 1892.
—–, New Zealand Cicadae, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 49, 1891.
Hutton, F. W., Synopsis of Hemiptera of New Zealand described previous to 1896, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 30, p. 167, 1898.
Kirby, W. F., On the Cicadidae of New Zealand, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 28, p. 454, 1896.
Kirkaldy, G. W., Hemiptera, Fauna Hawaiiensis.
—–, Leaf-hoppers, Haw. Sugar-planters' Exp. Sta. Bull. No. 1, 1906.
—–, List of Hemiptera (excluding Sternorrhyncha) of Maorian Subregion, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 22, 1909.
Marlatt, C. L., The Periodical Cicada, Bull. 71 (n.s.), Bur. Ent. U.S.A. Dept. Agric.
Osborn, H., Leaf-hoppers of Maine, and other papers, in Rep. Maine Agric. Expt. Sta., 1915–16.
Tillyard, R. J., Mesozoic Insects of Queensland, pt. 7, Hemiptera-Homoptera, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vol. 44, p. 857, 1919.
Walker, F., List of Homopterous Insects in British Musseum, 1850.
—–, ibid., Supplement, 1858.
White, F. B., List of Hemiptera of New Zealand, Entomologists' Monthly Magazine, vol. 15, 1879.
Since writing the above I have been enabled to read Distant's Synonymic Catalogue of Homoptera, pt. 1, Cicadidae (B.M.N.H., 1906), from which most of my synonymy was obtained through Mr. H. Ashton, of Sydney. The list includes, however, several items which need incorporating in the revision. It appears that, in the main, all Distant's conclusions are corroborated by New Zealand experience of the insects and of their bionomics. It should be noticed that M. arche Walk. is not synonymous with the New Zealand M. scutellaris Walk., as Kirby maintained. This conclusion of Distant therefore proves the endemicity of M. scutellaris, which had been impugned by Kirby's contention.
Melampsalta strepitans Kirk.—Reasons for following Kirkaldy in elevating M. cingulata var. obscura Huds. to the rank of a species under this name I have given at considerable length.
Melampsalta muta Fabr.—With regard to this species it must be emphatically maintained that it forms no part of H. muta Huds. in Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 23, p. 51, 1891. Hudson consistently kept this species, under his name, M. aprilina, distinct from all the varieties of M. cruentata Fabr. (Hudson's M. muta and M. cincta Walk.).
Melampsalta quadricincta Walk.—It should be noted that there are still no further grounds than Walker's authority for believing that this, our common alpine cicada, occurs in Australia.
The following are additional notes on distribution and time of occurrence :—
Melampsalta cruentata Fabr.—The Dominion Museum possesses twelve specimens (two females and ten males) of the variety subalpina Huds., collected by W. L. Wallace, of the W. R. B. Oliver expedition to the Kermadecs in 1908. They were common on Sunday Island amongst ngaio (Myoporum laetum) from the end of August to March. Unlike the common form of M. cruentata, the variety subalpina is remarkably constant—a character well exhibited by the twelve museum specimens. It should be noted that, whereas the angusta form occurs in Australia (Goding and Froggatt, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vol. 29, p. 643, 1904), apparently the only form in the Kermadecs is variety subalpina.
In New Zealand itself the time of appearance of M. cruentata is evidently much earlier than previous records indicated. Mr. T. Cockcroft found a small dark male with the typical cruentata song on a bank with a northerly aspect at Upper Hutt on the 17th October, 1920. I have no records from the North Auckland district, where, judging from its appearance in August in the Kermadecs, it is probably much earlier.
Melampsalta muta Fabr.—This species was heard frequently, and a male was taken by T. Cockcroft as late as the 3rd June last season in Wellington. In the Wellington district, therefore, there are only three months during which cicadas have not been taken.
General Notes on Occurrence.
There are indications that this season's work will materially extend the known range, both seasonal and geographical, of the New Zealand cicadas. Judging from material in hand, it appears extremely probable that at least two more alpine species exist. These will be described at the end of the season, when more specimens are available. Meanwhile cicadas from all parts of the Dominion will be received and acknowledged with gratitude by the writer at the Biology Laboratories, Wellington. Already I am indebted to Messrs. Hamilton, Cockcroft, Roberts, Grimmett, Harris, Campbell, Lindsay, Philpott, Clark, and other indefatigable collectors, not to mention Mr. G. V. Hudson, who has always allowed me access to his own representative collection.
This supplement does not claim to bring our knowledge of the family in New Zealand up to date, as it is being sent to press in the middle of the season.
On Taxonomic Characters in the Cicadidae.
It has been suggested that the male genitalia will prove of great value in determining some of the difficult species (Kirkaldy, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 28, 1909). The work of investigating the differences in genitalia is now in hand, and progressing as well as the paucity of material in the rarer species will allow. So far, however, our hopes have not been abundantly realized. Genital differences are often of the greatest value in separating genera; but our cicadas belong, unfortunately, all to the same genus.
A Revision of Hutton's Plesiotypes in the Cicadidae.
Future workers on the family will find it difficult to follow Hutton's observations on the cicadas in his “Synopsis of the Hemiptera of New Zealand” (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 30, p. 167, 1898) without some knowledge of his plesiotypes. These, it is gratifying to learn, are being kept in their original arrangement at the Canterbury Museum, where the Curator kindly allowed me to examine them. The following species are represented :—
Melampsalta scutellaris Walk.—Two females are labelled correctly, and two other specimens appear over the name M. dejecta Huds.
M. cingulata Fabr.—Two typical examples.
M. strepitans Kirkaldy.—One specimen labelled correctly as M. cingulata var. obscura Huds., and one other wrongly identified as M. mangu F. B. White.
M. cruentata Fabr.—A long series of this common and difficult species is divided under the names M. muta, M. cutora, M. cruentata, and M. angusta. The M. muta series consists of specimens of M. cruentata var. subalpina Huds. It is interesting and rather puzzling to note that there is not a single true specimen of M. muta (cutora, or cuterae) in the collection. The Chatham Islands seem to possess a constant and well-marked variety of M. cruentata, represented here by six specimens, and characterized by a dark-ochreous ground-colour, marked extremely heavily with black. I shall have occasion elsewhere to mention the tendency towards melanism in the Chatham Island Hemiptera.
M. cincta Walk.—This species is represented by a number of typical specimens labelled M. iolanthe, and by a series of rather dark forms lacking the green costa and standing above the name M. cincta.
M. quadricincta Walk.—This is correctly labelled M. nervosa Stal, which falls into synonymy. There is another specimen unlabelled.
M. iolanthe Huds.—There is one unlabelled specimen.
Explanation of Plate XLV.
Fig. 1.—Melampsalta nigra n. sp., male.
Fig. 2.–Melampsalta nigra n. sp., female.
Fig. 3.—Melampsalta quadricincta Walk., male.
Fig. 4.—Melampsalta quadricincta Walk., female.
Fig. 5.—Melampsalta cingulata Fabr., male.
Fig. 6.—Melampsalta cingulata Fabr., female.
Fig. 7.—Melampsalta strepitans Kirkaldy, male.
Fig. 8.—Melampsalta cauta n. sp., male.
Fig. 9.—Melampsalta iolanthe Huds., female.
Fig. 10.—Nymph of Melampsalta cingulata.
Fig. 11.—Melampsalta cincta Walk., male.
Explanation of Plate XLVI.
Fig. 1.—Melampsalta leptomera n. sp., female.
Fig. 2.—Melampsalta fuliginosa n. sp., female.
Fig. 3.—Melampsalta scutellaris Walk., male.
Fig. 4.—Melampsalta scutellaris Walk., female.
Fig. 5.—Melampsalta muta Fabr., male.
Fig. 6.—Melampsalta muta Fabr., female.
Fig. 7.—Melampsalta indistincta n. sp., male.
Fig. 8.—Melampsalta indistincta n. sp., female.
Fig. 9.—Melampsalta cruentata Fabr., male.
Fig. 10.—Melampsalta cruentata Fabr., female.
Fig. 11.—Melampsalta cruentata Fabr., red variety, male.
Fig. 12.—Melampsalta cruentata Fabr., var. subalpina, male.
Fig. 13.—Melampsalta cruentata Fabr., var. subalpina, female.
All figures natural size.