Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps

Superfamily CICADOIDEA


Compiler and date details

June 2012 - ABRS following revision by Moulds (2012)

18 May 2004 - M.S. Moulds & Sally Cowan, Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia


The Cicadoidea, commonly known as cicadas, possess 3 ocelli, a flagellum usually 5-segmented with the segments progressively shorter and more slender, a complete tentorium, forefemora thickened and spinous, and well developed wing venation.

Cicadas are generally recognised as part of the infraorder Cicadomorpha, a category encompassing the Cercopoidea and the synonymous Membracoidea/Cicadelloidea (Evans 1963; Hamilton 1981; Carver et al. 1991; Blocker 1996).

This catalogue lists 244 described species placed in 83 genera, following revision by Moulds (2012). The number of world species approximates 2600 and based on this figure the Australian cicada species currently makes up some 8.6% of the world fauna. All but four Australian species are endemic, as are 26 of the 40 genera.

The most recent catalogues of Cicadoidea are those of Metcalf (1963) who listed all world species to 1955, and Duffels & van der Laan (1985) who listed species from 1956-1980. Previously, Burns (1957) had catalogued the Australian cicada fauna building on the much earlier works of Goding & Froggatt (1904) and Distant (1906). Bibliographies of Cicadoidea literature have been published by Metcalf (1962) and Duffels & van der Laan (1985).

Family/subfamily arrangements for the Cicadoidea are still unclear. Two families are now generally recognised: the Tettigarctidae with subfamilies Tettigarctinae and Cicadoprosbolinae, and Cicadidae with four or five subfamilies, viz. Cicadinae, Tibicininae, Tettigadinae, Plautillinae and possibly Platypediinae (Hayashi 1984; Moulds 1990; Chou et al. 1997; Boulard 1998). In addition, however, in comparatively recent times, there has been in use a classification comprising four families, viz. Tettigarctidae, Plautilidae, Cicadidae with two subfamilies Cicadinae and Platypleurinae, and Tibicinidae with four subfamilies Tibicininae, Tettigadinae, Platypediinae and Ydiellinae (Boulard 1988, 1996).

Duffels & van der Laan (1985) follow the latter but place Tettigadinae at family rank.

Distant (1906), Kato (1956), Boulard (1988) and Chou et al. (1997) provided keys to the family/subfamily groupings they used at the time. Kato (1956) provides the most comprehensive key to tribes, incorporating the 27 tribes as then known.

An overview of the systematics and biology of the Australian cicada fauna is provided by Moulds (2012). In this comprehensive work, he revises his earlier study (Moulds 1990) and provides keys to tribes of Australian Cicadinae and Cicadettinae and to the Cicadoidea genera. Earlier keys to genera were those of Goding & Froggatt (1904) and Distant (1906).


The earlier version of this section of the Australian Faunal Directory was assisted by funds from the Australian Biological Resources Study.

Database Notes

Limital Area

Distribution data in the Directory is by political and geographic region descriptors and serves as a guide to the distribution of a taxon. For details of a taxon's distribution, the reader should consult the cited references (if any) at genus and species levels.

Australia is defined as including Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., Cocos (Keeling) Ils, Christmas Is., Ashmore and Cartier Ils, Macquarie Is., Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard and McDonald Ils, and the waters associated with these land areas of Australian political responsibility. Political areas include the adjacent waters.

Terrestrial geographical terms are based on the drainage systems of continental Australia, while marine terms are self explanatory except as follows: the boundary between the coastal and oceanic zones is the 200 m contour; the Arafura Sea extends from Cape York to 124 DEG E; and the boundary between the Tasman and Coral Seas is considered to be the latitude of Fraser Island, also regarded as the southern terminus of the Great Barrier Reef.

Distribution records, if any, outside of these areas are listed as extralimital. The distribution descriptors for each species are collated to genus level. Users are advised that extralimital distribution for some taxa may not be complete.


Compiler(s) / Author(s)

M.S. Moulds & Sally Cowan, Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia


General References

Blocker, H.D. 1996. Origin and Radiation of the Auchenorrhyncha. pp. 46-64 in Schaefer, C.E (ed.). Studies on Hemipteran Phylogeny. Lanham : Entomological Society of America (Th. Say Publ.).

Boulard, M. 1988. Taxonomie et nomenclature supérieures des Cicadoidea. Histoire problèmes et solutions. Ecole pratique des hautes Etudes, travaux du Laboratoire Biologie et Evolution des Insectes Hemipteroidea 1: 1-89

Boulard, M. 1998. Nomenclature et taxonomie supérieures des Cicadoidea ou vraies cigales: histoire, problèmes et solutions (Rhynchota Homoptera Cicadomorpha). Ecole pratique des hautes Etudes, travaux du Laboratoire Biologie et Evolution des Insectes Hemipteroidea 10: 79-129

Burns, A.N. 1957. Checklist of Australian Cicadidae. Entomologischen Arbeiten aus dem Museum Georg Frey 8(2): 609-678

Carver, M., Gross, G.F. & Woodward, T.E. 1991. Hemiptera (bugs, leafhoppers, cicadas, aphids, scale insects, etc.) [with contributions by Cassis, G., Evans, J.W., Fletcher, M.J., Hill, L., Lansbury, I., Malipatil, M.B., Monteith, G.B., Moulds, M.S., Polhemus, J.T., Slater, J.A., Štys, P., Taylor, K.L., Weir, T.A. & Williams, D.J.]. pp. 429-509 in CSIRO (ed.). The Insects of Australia. A textbook for students and research workers. Melbourne : Melbourne University Press Vol. 1 xiii 542 pp.

Chou, I., Lei, Z., Li, L., Lu, X. & Yao, W. 1997. The Cicadidae of China (Homoptera: Cicadoidea). Hong Kong : Tianze Eldoneio 380 pp. [in Chinese supplemented by English]

Distant, W.L. 1906. A Synonymic Catalogue of Homoptera. Part 1. Cicadidae. London : British Museum iii 207 pp.

Duffels, J.P. & van der Laan, P.A. 1985. Catalogue of the Cicadoidea (Homoptera, Auchenorhyncha) 1956–1980. Dordrecht, Netherlands : Series Entomologica. Junk Vol. 34 414 pp.

Evans, J.W. 1963. The phylogeny of the Homoptera. Annual Review of Entomology 8: 77-94

Goding, F.W. & Froggatt, W.W. 1904. Monograph of the Australian Cicadidae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 29(3): 561-670, pls xviii, xix

Hamilton, K.G.A. 1981. Morphology and evolution of the rhynchotan head (Insecta: Hemiptera, Homoptera). Canadian Entomologist 113(11): 953-974

Hayashi, M. 1984. A review of the Japanese Cicadidae. Cicada (Transactions of the Japanese Cicada Club) 5(2/3/4): 25-51

Kato, M. 1956. The Biology of the Cicadas. Bulletin of the Cicadidae Museum. Jinbocho Kanda, Tokyo : Iwasaki Shoten 319 pp. [in Japanese; headings, subheadings, captions and index in English]

Metcalf, Z.P. 1963. General Catalogue of the Homoptera. Fasc. 8. Cicadoidea, in two parts. Raleigh : University of North Carolina State College 1411 pp.

Moulds, M.S. 1990. Australian Cicadas. Kensington : New South Wales University Press 217 pp.

Moulds, M.S. 2012. A review of the genera of Australian cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadoidea). Zootaxa 3287: 1-262


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
19-Jul-2012 19-Jul-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)