Redeye, Psaltoda moerens and Greengrocer, Cyclochila australasiae
- Plate Number: 50
- Media: Lithographic print - lithographic ink on paper
- Artist: Arthur Bartholomew
- Lithographer: Arthur Bartholomew
- Location: Australia, Victoria, Yarra River, near Melbourne
Plate 50, Figure 1. The Great Black, or Manna cicada, Cicada moerens (now known as Redeye, Psaltoda moerens)
The Cicadæ, forming the old genus Cicada of Linnæus, constitute now the family Cicadidoe, to the section Octicelli of which (or those having 8 marginal cells to the upper wings) the two kinds figured on our plate belong. They are the largest and the most famous of the Homopterous insects, remarkable above all things for the loud song of chirping whir of the males in the heat of the summer. Our
The Greeks keeping the Tettix in cages for the sake of their song, and praising their musical performances so highly, one might almost think indicated a great falling off in their powers to please in our day. As the Chinese, however, do exactly the same still with their Cicada, I fancy (as the Cicadoe are too great conservatives to change) that the real fact may be that the ancient Greek taste for music may have resembled the execrable modern Chinese one, which, as I have heard it grandly exemplified in some of their theatres on the goldfields, might be said in its din to be diabolical-if the comparison were not perhaps unfair to the absent.
Both sexes have short lives in the perfect state, and may be seen lying about on the ground under the trees, dead or dying, in abundance after their noisiest few days. Our Nankeen Kestrel and other small hawks devour them on the wing in great numbers in their season, and they are probably very nice, like the Greek ones praised by Aristotle as the bonne-bouche. The pupæ, the bachelor males, and the females when full of eggs, are the greatest delicacy for the epicure, according to the Greek authority, but none of my friends have enabled me to say whether in their opinion the Australian species merits the praise.
Plate 50, Figure 4. The Great Green Cicada, Cyclochila australasiæ (now known as Greengrocer, Cyclochila australasiae) found on the banks of the Yarra
This species is much less abundant than the C. moerens, and seems more confined to moist places, such as river banks and deep ravines and gullies. The song begins like the quacking of a duck for some time before breaking into the continuous "whir," and is far louder than that of the C. moerens, becoming perfectly unbearable and deafening where they abound. It seems to frequent the various species of Acacia (popularly called Wattles) quite as often or more often than the Eucalypti. It appears at about the same time as the C. moerens in the hottest time of the year, but is much less widely distributed. It is not uncommon along the banks of the Yarra, near Melbourne. The pupa resembles that of the C. moerens, but is larger, and the tooth-like spines on the anterior legs are darker, larger, and stronger; and the large basal tooth has a small additional spine near its base.