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Robinson's Annual Cicada (Neotibicen robinsonianus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Robinson's Annual Cicada

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Robinson's Annual Cicada can be seen every year, ensuring the sounds of summer and shells of early life are around for humans to enjoy.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Annual Cicadas are around yearly, unlike some other species in the Periodical Cicada group, which are known for their huge swarms every 13 or 17 years. Robinson's Annual Cicadas have a more frequent generational presence. For all the adults seen and heard in the trees, there are multiple generations of offspring still underground.

Males call, or sing, to attract females. This chorus creates the iconic whistling/chirping noise only heard in the summertime. This loud singing also attracts predators. Life spans of adults are only a few weeks, so reproduction is the top priority; adults do not eat. After mating, females lay fertilized eggs on leaves. Eggs hatch and the tiny, white ant-like nymphs make their way to the ground where they crawl underground and drink from tree roots. These stay underground for years, feeding and growing. Eventually one resurfaces and molts, bursting out of its light brown exoskeleton. This casing is often mistaken for a live cicada. A freshly molted cicada has a neon green and light tan color. This final molt develops wings and adult immediately begin the search for a mate.

Cicadas are harmless to people: they do not bite and do not have stingers. They are somewhat slow and clumsy fliers. Hefty sizes make it easy to pick up and admire them up close. They can be found anywhere there are trees and shrubs. Brown, crunchy shells of exoskeletons are often attached to window screens, tree trunks, wooden posts, and even tall grass. Listen for Robinson's Annual Cicada during the day in the summer.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Harmless insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Cicadidae
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          Genus: Neotibicen
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            Species: robinsonianus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Neotibicen robinsonianus
Category: Cicada and Planthopper
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 35mm (1.18" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; green; brown
Descriptors: plump; loud; fat; buzzing; flying; eyes; hammerhead; shells; harmless

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 32.5mm
Hi: 35mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Robinson's Annual Cicada may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Robinson's Annual Cicada. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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