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Aenetus virescensby Bryce McQuillan
Via Flickr:
Puriri Moth

7/9/16                     Dark Lyric Cicada     

Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (Free-living Hemipterans)
Superfamily Cicadoidea (Cicadas, Leafhoppers, and Treehoppers)
Family Cicadidae (Cicadas)
Subfamily Cicadinae
Genus Neotibicen (Annual or Dogday Cicadas)
Species lyricen (Lyric Cicada)
Subspecies engelhardti (Dark Lyric Cicada (“ssp. lyricen var. engelhardti”))

Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tibicen lyricen ssp. lyricen var. engelhardti (Davis 1910), “Dark Lyric Cicada”
As with several taxa, color and pattern are certainly not absolutes for species id., however, can be helpful. Regarding measurements, these too can be misleading; some individuals may not adhere to “specified measurements” used to “key out” a species. Within this particular taxon, T.lyricen, color, pattern and size may differ (these observed differences are an artifact of individual variation, geographic origin and/or in some cases gender).


The color form engelhardti (previously considered a distinct subspecies) is usually black with a very small amount of green, tan or brown on the pronotum (often in the shape of an anchor or tear drop). Across and circumventing the “engelhardti range”, there are numerous intermediate types (lyricen-engelhardti variants), especially where the color forms “lyricen” and “engelhardti” transition/overlap.

Due to its distinct color and pattern and the fact the literature often refers to this variety as a distinct subspecies, I recommend keeping the form “engelhardti” separate here on the guide - at least for now.

Tibicen lyricen, Lyric Cicada
1) In general, Lyric Cicadas are 2 inches or slightly more in total length (incl. wings).
2) Dark brown/reddish-brown legs (occasionally with hints of green - tenerals may have green legs!!)
3) The pronotum of these cicadas has a well developed black pronotal collar with pronotal patches which may be green, bronzy-green, bronze, reddish-brown, brown or black in coloration (typically not as clean or “leaf green” as in Tibicen tibicen … exception in ssp. virescens)
4) Dark eyes: when alive/fresh, T. lyricen has dark black/brown eyes (rarely with dark greenish black hues when teneral)
5) Ventral black stripe on venter of abdomen is well developed in both genders and in all subspecies and color variants
6) Males of this species have oblique opercula (reddish-tan in color)
7) Behavioral note: When ALIVE, lyric cicadas will usually tuck their legs tightly to the sides and “play dead”