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Bush Cicada or Tibicen dorsata

Bush Cicada

Tibicen dorsata

(order:Hemiptera family:Cicadidae)

Taken by Jocelyn Smith-Pfannenstiel

(Kansas:Sedgwick County: Lincoln and Rock Road: 37 40'N/97 14'W on a tree August 25)

Diagnosis- Adult T.Dorsata have two pairs of clear membranous wings folded over their abdomen. They have stout bodies and broad heads. They have large compound eyes. Their mouth parts are piercing sucking. Females and males have the same characteristic brown, white, and black markings. The males are around 3 cm females are slightly smaller. Males can be identified by the presecence of tymbals. Tymbals are a form of striated muscle that expand and retract rapidly to produce a species specific mating call. The newly molted adults can be identified by the absence of a white waxy buildup 

                                                                          Male  Tibicen Dorsata                                                                                                                                      

Female Tibicen Dorsata

Habitat-Short or long grass prairie and woodlands



Distribution-Their range is North, South, and East of Kansas. 

Tibicen Dorsata distribution map


Nutrition- They are herbaceous xylem ,of woody plant, feeders. The larvae feed also feed on the Xylem but its from the roots of woody plants. Feeding serves two purposes nutrition and body temperature control through evaporative cooling.



Natural Adult life history- T. Dorsata emerges every year from June to September. The average life span is 2 to 5 years majority is spent underground as a larvae.T. Dorsata is hemimetabolous. The female T. Dorsata will oviposit 500-600 eggs on a twig or leaf. Once the eggs hatch the larvae will fall then dig underground. There they will feed on the roots of a woody plant. When ready they emerge find a tree to attach then molt into an adult. Once their wings are dry they disperse and find a mate. When threatened, cicadas will play dead or let out a alarm squawk to scare the predator away. The males use their tymbals to sing. The singing tends to occur at the hottest hours of the day.


T.Dorsata nymph

Tibicen dorsata cicada on Rose of Sharon

Conservation Status: Stable



Cicada Mania:

Cicadas of Michigan:


Marshall, S.A. 2006. Insects:their natural history and diversity: with a photographic guide to insects of eastern North America. Firefly Books. Buffalo, Ny.

Slater, James A. and Baranowski, Richard M. 1978. How to know the true bugs (Hemiptera-Heteroptera). W.C. Brown Co. Dubuque, Iowa.

Gullan, P.J. and P.S. Cranston. 2010. The Insects and outline of Entomology.John Wiley & Sons. West Sussex, UK

Submitted by:Jocelyn Smith-Pfannenstiel

Wichita State University
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