What is Cicada?

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Recently, a ‘foreign’ cicada that is commonly found in several parts of South India has assumed an Indian identity.

Why in news?


  • The insect species that has now been named as Purana cheeveeda (after its Malayalam name Cheeveedu) used to be mistaken for Purana tigrina, a species that was first described in Malaysia in 1850.
    • Due to the differences in their morphological characteristics, the Association for Advancement in Entomology has corrected the longstanding error in taxonomic identification and has excluded the Malaysian species from the South Indian cicada fauna. 


Key Facts about Cicada

  • Cicadas are hemipteran insects known for their loud, complex and species-specific acoustic signals or songs.
  • The generic diversity of cicadas in India and Bangladesh ranks the highest in the world, followed by China.
  • Most cicadas are canopy dwellers and are found in natural forests with large trees.
  • P. cheeveeda could extend across the tropical evergreen forests ranging from Goa to Kanyakumari.


Types of Cicada

  • Scientists divide the over 3,000 cicada species into two groups: annual and periodical.
  • Annual cicadas emerge from the ground at different times each summer.
  • They’re usually dark with greenish markings.
  • These insects avoid predators by camouflaging themselves in the trees and flying from hungry birds and moles.
  • Only seven species of cicadas are in the periodical cicadas.
  • These bugs all emerge from the ground at the same time(Summer).
  • These groups appear after a dormant period of either 13 or 17 years.


Benefits of Cicada

  • They prune mature trees, aerate the soil, and once they die, their bodies serve as an important source of nitrogen for growing trees.


Q1) What is Nitrogen?

Nitrogen is a chemical element with the symbol N and atomic number 7. It is a crucial element for life and plays a fundamental role in various biological processes. It is the most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, making up about 78% of the air we breathe.

Source: Commonly-found cicada species sheds its foreign tag to embrace an Indian identity