New species of Cicada discovered in Meghalaya

News Excerpt: 

Scientists have uncovered a dazzling new cicada species known colloquially as “Butterfly Cicadas” from Meghalaya.

About Cicadas: 

  • This cicada, belonging to the genus Becquartina, marks the first-ever record of this genus in the country. 
  • The colorful wings of the cicada earned it the nickname “butterfly cicada”, with the species name “bicolour” reflecting its two distinct colour forms.
  • It is a unique cicada generally grouped as ‘butterfly cicada’ because of its colourful wings. 
  • It has not been found in other parts of Northeast India.
    • The species is localized in Garo Hills and Ri-Bhoi district, preferring thick forests and native vegetation.
  • The basal one-third of the hind wing is rich saffron, and the apical two-thirds are matte black with prominent rich saffron squarish spots.

What are cicadas?

  • Any member of the family of insects that produce sound.
    • They have three simple eyes, two pairs of membrane-covered wings, and a conspicuous compound eye is called a cicadas.
  • Cicadas range in size from 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2 inches), which is medium to large.
  • Male cicadas vibrate membranes close to the base of their abdomens to make loud noises. 
  • Typically, female cicadas deposit their eggs in the woody plant tissues that fall off the plant either immediately after the eggs hatch or later.
  • There are currently about 3,000 identified species of cicadas. 
  • Cicadas are tropical insects that live in deserts, grasslands, and woodlands. 
    • They are members of the Cicadidae family.  
  • The distinct morphologies, songs, and behaviors of the several species make identification simple. 
  • Cicadas have been utilized as a major food source, in folk medicine, and as religious and monetary symbols. 
    • Their song was originally thought to be able to predict changes in the weather.
    • Male cicadas were kept in cages in China so they could sing.
    • Numerous cultures' myths, literature, and music all feature the cicadas.