For nearly 80 years, the North American cicada Okanagana viridis has received little attention in scientific literature, but a new article in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America provides the first notes on the song and ecology of this elusive species, and updates its known range.
O. viridis is unusual in a large genus of 60 otherwise arid- or cold-adapted, mostly western U.S. species, in that it is found in the temperate deciduous southern forests of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. It is almost solid bright green, and it calls from high in trees during daylight hours and occasionally at dusk, during the summer months. The song is a thin, dull, steady whine which last for 30 seconds, and it is composed of irregular doublet or triplet pulses.
O. viridis is uncommon in collections, and it appears to be restricted to remaining small forest patches near lowland river deltas.
"This new research on this cicada has filled in significant gaps in our understanding of this species," said Gene Kritsky, author of the book Periodical Cicadas: The Plague and the Puzzle. "It also shows there is sill much to be discovered about large and colorful insects here in the United States."
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The article, "The Song, Morphology, Habitat, and Distribution of the Elusive North American Cicada Okanagana viridis (Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae)," was written by Drs. Kathy Hill and David Marshall (University of Connecticut).