Insect Identification logo

Bush Cicada (Tibicen dorsata)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Bush Cicada, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/13/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Bush Cicada  
Picture of Bush-Cicada
Picture of Bush-Cicada

The flashy coloring and huge size of Bush Cicadas are overshadowed only by the deafening chorus they create every summer.

Bush Cicadas are also known as Grand Western Cicadas. They are generally found in states that make up the Central Plains and the Southwest. These large, flying insects are harmless to people. Wings are golden yellow and long. The head and body are brown and golden yellow. The thorax has a yellow 'W' on the top of it and white diagonal lines along the side. White spots run down the 'spine' and side edges of the abdomen. Eyes are large and spaced far apart. Strong legs are brown with a remarkable ability to cling to things. Adults do not feed; instead they focus all their remaining energy on reproduction. They can be found in trees, on bushes, or clutching blades of grass while calling out to others. This species of annual cicada forms huge populations that can be heard all summer long.

The males call to females in a loud buzzing drone that gradually tapers off, only to start up again a few moments later. After mating, females lay fertilized eggs on leaves that eventually fall to the ground. Larval Bush Cicadas dig underground after hatching and feed on the juices of tree roots. They molt into winged adults, leaving behind crunchy brown 'shells' of their previous bodies that can be found clinging to tree trunks, fences, and window screens. These 'shells' so closely resemble the living insect, they are often mistaken for dead ones.

Bush Cicada Information

Category: Cicada and Planthopper
Common Name: Bush Cicada
Scientific Name: Tibicen dorsata
Other Name(s): Grand Western Cicada, Harvestfly

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Hemiptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Cicadidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Tibicen
       Arrow graphic Species: dorsata

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 35 mm to 57 mm (1.365 inches to 2.223 inches)
Identifying Colors: yellow, brown, white, gold, black
Additional Descriptors: flying, buzzing, multicolored, gold,

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Arizona; Arkansas; Colorado; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Mexico; North Dakota; Oklahoma; South Dakota; Texas; Wyoming; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

Images Gallery


BugFinder: What is it?