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a family of insects of the suborder Auchenorrhyncha; the family includes some of the largest known insects. There are about 1,800 species, distributed mainly in the tropics. The USSR has more than 40 species, belonging to 14 genera.
The body length reaches 62 mm, and the wingspread is as great as 185 mm. The head and the antennae are short. On the top of the head, between the compound eyes, are three ocelli arranged in a triangle. Both pairs of transparent wings are equally strong and have pronounced venation. The femurs are thickened and have two or three spines. The males produce loud, continuous noises by means of a complex sound apparatus on the lower side of their body: paired cymbal organs, each consisting of a sclerotized membrane and muscles that set it in motion. The vibration of the membrane produces the sound. Internal air sacs that act as resonators are adjacent to the cymbais; sound intensity is also regulated by the lobular processes of the metathorax. Cicadas are distinguished by the most musical “song” of all insects; they sing during the hottest time of day.
Adult females deposit their eggs under the bark of branches or in leaf petioles; in the latter case the females saw through the lumen with their ovipositor. Metamorphosis is incomplete and complex. The larvae, which have powerful fossorial limbs, enter the soil, where they develop for three or four years (in some species, as many as 17 years). They feed on the juices of roots and underground stems. Upon crawling out upon the surface, the larvae becomes nymphs; the nymphs climb trees, where they metamorphose into adult cicadas. Cicadas damage certain forest trees and agricultural crops by sucking put plant sap. The most common harmful species in the USSR is the cotton cicada.
REFERENCEZhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.
I. V. KUDRIASHOVA