Sunday 20 October 2013

A new species of Cicada from Meghalaya State in northeast India.

Cicadas (Cicadoidea) are large members of the True Bug order (Hemiptera) related to Leafhoppers and Spittlebugs. Male Cicadas produce a loud song, similar to that of Crickets, when seeking a mate, though this song is produced in a quite different way, by vibrating special membranes on the Insect's abdomen rather than by rubbing limbs or wings together. Nevertheless this habit, combined with the large size of Cicadas, has led to them being referred to colloquially as Crickets or Locusts in many parts of the world. Cicadas have an unusual life cycle, living out most of their lives as a burrowing juvenile, then emerging on mass as adults to reproduce after a period of time specific to the species; one North American species only emerging at seventeen year intervals.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 29 August 2013, Sudhanya Hajong of the Centre for Insects Systematic at the Department of Zoology at North-Eastern Hill University and Salmah Yaakop of the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia describe a new species of Cicada from Meghalaya State in northeast India. 

The new species is placed in the genus Chremistica, and given the specific name ribhoi, after the Ri Bhoi District of Meghalaya, where it was discovered. Chremistica ribhoi is a 25-28 mm black and brown Cicada with a four-year life-cycle; it last emerged in May 2010 and 2006. It was found living at two sites, near Siden and Lailad villages, both in Ri Bhoi District, and is apparently well known to the local population, who regard it as a useful food animal.

Chremistica ribhoi, male specimen. Hajong & Yaakop (2013).

The approximate location of the area where Chremistica ribhoi was discovered. Google Maps.

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