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Swamp Cicada (Neotibicen tibicen)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Swamp Cicada

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Swamp Cicadas are at home in the hot, humid marshes of the southern U.S., but they also fare well enough in the colder states up north.

Updated: 01/06/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
These completely harmless insects are known for the loud buzzing noise the males make in the summer. The mating call attracts females, who deposit their eggs inside twigs of tree branches. The ridges on the legs of cicadas are used to saw off the twigs, allowing the newly hatched larvae to burrow into the ground where the twig fell. Adults do not feed at all; instead they devote their time and energy to reproductive efforts. Cicadas can be annual, coming back every year, or periodical (every 5, 10, 13, or 17 years) depending on the species and the climate.

Larvae feed on the sap from tree roots. They emerge from the ground and molt into adult form. Their brown, hollow, crunchy, molted exoskeletons are often left clinging to tree trunks, window screens, wooden fences, plant stems, and blades of grass. This insect, especially as an adult, is a nutritional treat for animals like raccoons, birds, and lizards. Even dogs eat them when they catch them. The huge number of cicadas in the summer allows for heavy amounts of predation without threatening extinction.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
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: tibicen
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Neotibicen tibicen
Category: Cicada and Planthopper
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 40mm (0.78" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: flying; noisy; shells; large; slow; harmless

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 40mm (1.6in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 30mm
Hi: 40mm
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 Swamp 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 Swamp Cicada. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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