Tryella castanea (Distant, 1905)

Moulds, M. S., 2003, An Appraisal of the Cicadas of the Genus Abricta Stål and Allied Genera (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae), Records of the Australian Museum 55, pp. 245-304: 281-283

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Tryella castanea (Distant, 1905)


Tryella castanea (Distant, 1905)   , n.comb.

Figs. 10, 54a–e, 77, 83, 84

Abricta castanea Distant, 1905a: 27   ; Distant, 1906: 131; Kirkaldy, 1907a: 16; Ashton, 1914: 349; Kato, 1932: 181; Burns, 1957: 635; Metcalf, 1963: 206; Duffels & van der Laan, 1985: 234; Moulds, 1990: 122–123; Ewart, 1993: 139.

Types. Syntype series of 533, 1♀, (all BMNH) (examined). 13 bearing three labels: (a) Abricta   / castanea   /Dist./ type” handwritten in black ink, probably original Distant label; (b) small white circular label with red border on which is machine printed “Type”; (c) small white circular label with blue border on which is machine printed “SYN-/ TYPE ”. 4 33, 1♀ each bearing two labels: (a) a pale blue circular label on which is handwritten in black ink “North/ Austr”; (b) small white circular label with blue border on which is machine printed “SYN-/ TYPE ”   .

Distant (1905a) did not designate a holotype or state the number of specimens examined. He did, however, indicate in his description that he had several specimens and gave a range for male body length.All six specimens in BMNH listed above that are believed to be syntypes are considered conspecific   .

Type locality. Distant (1905a) gave the type locality simply as “North Australia ” and the collector as “J. R. Elsey”. The description of castanea   states “tegmina unspotted” and indeed the type series totally lacks fore wing infuscations except for one male with some very limited infuscation. Specimens consistently lacking fore wing infuscations, or occasionally with very limited infuscation, are known only from the Victoria River, Northern Territory, especially from the vicinity of Timber Creek township (see comments below). These also tend to be smaller than specimens from elsewhere and the syntype series clearly falls within this smaller size range. Further, Distant (1905b) described Abricta elseyi   from the Victoria River, from material taken by Dr J. R. Elsey during the Gregory Exploration Expedition, British Museum. As J. R. Elsey is also stated to be the collector of the type series of castanea   it is reasonable to conclude that the type locality of this species is also the Victoria River.

Material examined. WESTERN AUSTRALIA —1 3, K179957, 1♀   , K179956, Fitzroy & Margaret Rs, 1896, Calvert Exped., H. Ashton Coll. ; 13, K179847, Wyndham , 31.xii.1991, MBM; 1♀   , K179848, Kununurra, 7.i.1986, MBM; all in AM. 13, Wyndham-K. R.S. [Kimberley Research Station], 15.x.1953, R. Lukins; 13 (genitalic preparation no. AB101), Forrest R. Mission , 7.i.1954, R. Lukins; 13, 1♀   , Wyndham , 27.i, 29.iii, 25.iv.1930, T. G. Campbell; 233, 1♀   , Wyndham , 26.xii.1930, 5.xii.1930 – 8.i.1931, H.J. Willings; 4 33 (1 male genitalic preparation no. AB90), 1♀   , Ascot Station, Wyndham , 14.i.1930, T. G. Campbell; all in ANIC. 1♀   , Tunnel Creek, E of Derby, 1.xi.1978, MBM; 13, 16 km NW of Fitzroy Crossing , 1.i.1986, MBM; 1033, 1♀   , 50 km SSE of Fitzroy Crossing , 1.i.1986, MBM; 333 (two male genitalic preparations Nos AB17, AB70), 1♀   , 80 km SW of Halls Creek township, 2.i.1986, MBM; 233 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB63), Halls Creek township , 2.i.1986, MBM; 233, 2♀♀   , 11 km S of Turkey Creek township, 3.i.1986, MBM; 13, Little McPhees Ck, 150 km S of Wyndham , 3.i.1986, MBM; 13 (genitalic preparation no. AB95), Zebidee Springs, El Questro Stn, E Kimberley, 28.xii.1991, MBM; 533, 3♀♀   , Wyndham, 4.i.1986, 31.xii.1991, MBM; 13, 20 km W of Ord River, Duncan Hwy , 3.i.1986, MBM; 333 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB64), 3♀♀   , Kununurra , 7.i.1986, MBM; 233 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB75), 1♀   , Kununurra , 28.i.1987, E.A. Henty; all in MSM. 933, 2♀♀   , Forrest R. Mission, ii.1954, 6,9.i.54, K.J.C., Collection A.N. Burns; 13, Kimberley Res Stn, Wyndham , 10.xii.[19]53, G. Lukins, Collection A.N. Burns; 1♀   , Wyndham, 23.xii.1953, R. Lukins, Collection A.N. Burns; all in MV. 13, Calvert Exped., 1896, Fitzroy & Margaret Rs. (no other data), in SAM   . NORTHERN TERRITORY —1 3, K179849, 1♀   , K179850, Victoria Hwy, Dingo Ck , nr W.A. border, 1.i.1992, MBM; 13, K179852, 1♀   , K179851, Victoria R. 18 km W of Timber Creek township , 25.xii.1991, MBM; 233, K179947 and K179950, 2♀♀   , K179948 and K179949, Zimmin Rd, Katherine , 6,17. xii.1996, ex Citrus limon, M. Hoult   ; 1♀   , K179951, 20 mi NE Oenpelli, x.1970, W. Omer-Cooper; 433, K179952–K179955, Wa Wee Billabong area , 8,10,11. x.1970, W. Omer- Cooper; all in AM. 1♀   , 30 mi [les] SE of Adelaide River (town), 1.xi.1966, A. & R. Mesa; 6♀♀   , Tindal , 14°31'S 132°22'E, 1–20.xii.1967, light trap, W.J.M. Vestjens; 233, 3♀♀ GoogleMaps   , Katherine , 27.xi.1967, W.J.M. Vestjens; 13, 16°18'S 133°26'E, 9 km SSE of Daly Waters, 11.xi.1979, T. Weir; 1♀ GoogleMaps   , Tennant Creek, 1906, Field, W.W. Froggatt Collection ; all in ANIC. 1433 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB97), 14♀♀   , Victoria Hwy, Dingo Ck , nr W.A. border, 1.i.1992, MBM; 633 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB69), 2♀♀   , junct Victoria & Duncan Hwys , E of Kununurra, 6.i.1986, MBM; 13   , Victoria Hwy, 110 km E of Kununurra, 26.xii.1991, MBM; 13, Alpha Ck, 35 km W of Timber Creek township , 8.i.1986, MBM; 3533 (233 genitalic preparations Nos AB 96, AB99), 18♀♀   Victoria R. 18 km W of Timber Creek township , 25.xii.1991, MBM; 233 (male genitalic preparations Nos AB 13, AB68), 1♀   , 40 km E of Timber Creek   , Victoria Hwy , 8.i.1986; 2233 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB98), 22♀♀   , Victoria Hwy, 10 km E of Victoria R. Inn , at river x-ing, 2.i.1992, MBM; 1♀   , Dashwood x-ing   , Victoria R., nr   Victoria R. Downs , 24.xii.1991, MBM; 233 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB62), 6♀♀   , Springvale Stn , 12 km W of Katherine, 8.xii.1982, A. Walford-Huggins; 4233 (2 male genitalic preparations Nos AB 14, AB15), 44♀♀   , Waterhouse River, Mataranka Hsd , 9.i.1986, 23,24,25. xii.1986, MBM; 333, 6♀♀   38 km N of Daly Waters, Stuart Hwy , 23.xii.1986, MBM; 13, 1♀   , 32 km N of Daly Waters, Stuart Hwy, 23.xii.1986, MBM; 13, 25 km N of Daly Waters , 23.xii.1986, MBM; 2♀♀   , 10 km N of Daly Waters, 8.xii.1982, A. Walford-Huggins; 13, 11 km N of Dunmarra, Stuart Hwy , 23.xii.1986, MBM; 13, Elliott, 7.xii.1982, A. Walford-Huggins; 1233 (one male genitalic preparation no. AB16), 7♀♀   , Tennant Creek township, 23.i.1977, 22.i.1984, MBM; 13, Borroloola, 22.xii.1991, MBM; 13 (genitalic preparation no. AB72), 70 km S of junction Carpentaria / Tablelands Hwys , 12.i.1986, MBM; all in MSM. 2♀♀   , Katherine , xii.1957, J. Wren, Collection A.N. Burns; 3♀♀   , Katherine , xii.1959, B.W. Wren, Collection A.N. Burns, (1 labelled holotype, 2 labelled paratypes of A. tacomona   , an unpublished manuscript name); all in MV. 1♀   , Daly R., (no date), H. Wesselman; 333, 2♀♀   , Tennant’s Ck., (no date), J.F. Field (13, 1♀, incorrectly labelled Abricta willsi   ); all in SAM. 1♀   , Auvergne Stn , 4.xii.1965, J. Edey, in UQIC   . QUEENSLAND —1 3, Escott Stn , W of Burketown, 17°44'S 139°25'E, 19.xii.1991, MBM, in MSM GoogleMaps   .


Male ( Figs. 54a,c, 83, 84). Head. Usually black and ferruginous in variable proportions with the black dominant, but some individuals entirely brown or almost so; antennal plate nearly always partly or entirely ferruginous; postclypeus and anteclypeus ferruginous. Rostrum ferruginous becoming black apically, reaching to about bases of hind coxae. Eyes of live specimens (Victoria River, NT) initially light grey becoming dark grey and finally black with maturity. Antennae usually black but sometimes tending brown; basal segment always brown and usually also part of second segment. Without obvious silver pubescence above but usually distinct below except on clypeus. Thorax. Pronotum ochraceous with a broad pale to very dark ferruginous fascia on midline, this fascia spreading laterally both at its anterior end against pronotal margin to eyes or sometimes beyond, and at its posterior end against pronotal collar; on some individuals the inner portion of this middorsal fascia is very pale so that the fascia appears in outline only while on some other individuals the expansion against the pronotal collar is paler than remainder; pronotal collar either entirely black, entirely ferruginous, or a mixture of both. Mesonotum light to dark ferruginous, sometimes with a pair of middorsal obconical markings based on anterior margin partially or totally defined; cruciform elevation often light brown but always darkened to varying degrees in dark specimens. Thorax above usually without noticeable silver pubescence. Thorax below medium to light brown and always with fine silver pubescence. Wings. Hyaline. Fore wings either without infuscations or with infuscations confined to bases of apical cell 2 and the basal cross vein of apical cell 3, usually infuscation is confined to the cross veins of both cells only but sometimes the infuscation joins along Rs; venation brown, sometimes black basally, costa ochraceous; basal cell weakly tinted translucent amber; basal membrane orange; costa and veins on basal third or so occasionally bearing some silver pubescence not visible to naked eye. Hind wings with a distinct infuscation at distal end of vein 2A which sometimes extends partially around margin of anal lobe no further than 3A, and sometimes overlaying off white plaga; venation brown. Legs. Medium to light brown; without markings. Opercula. Muddy yellow suffused black to varying degrees between individuals, sometimes nearly black; usually covered by silver pubescence not always obvious to naked eye; clearly separated exposing apex of sternite I and barely concealing tympanal cavities. Abdomen. Tergites medium to dark ferruginous, sometimes nearly black, with little tonal variation within individuals although there is a tendency on some specimens for posterior half of each segment to be slightly paler. Sternites somewhat similar in colour but tending on some specimens to be pale on posterior half of sternites III–VI.Abdomen above and below often with silver pubescence not always visible to naked eye. Tymbals. Usually 10 long tymbal ribs, smaller specimens often with 9, otherwise as for generic description. Genitalia ( Figs. 83, 84). Pygofer dark ferruginous; upper pygofer lobes in lateral view very broad at base tapering to a narrow rounded apex, in ventral view nearly straight and usually tilted slightly inwards; basal lobes without webbing fusing inner secondary lobes and outer lobes, outer lobes in lateral view like a very long thin finger, gently curved, nearly equal in length to upper pygofer lobes. Uncal lobes scoop-like and gently upturned at their distal ends; lateral processes of uncus in lateral view nearly equal in length to upper pygofer lobes, often slightly curved downwards and broadly rounded at apex. Conjunctival claws directed laterally, the distal end of each bearing three sharply-pointed teeth, the central tooth longest. Flabellum   absent. Palearis absent. Usually ventral surface of theca with small raised transverse ridges widely spaced.

Female ( Figs. 10, 54b,d,e). Colour and markings similar to male. Abdominal segment 9 light to very dark ferruginous; dorsal beak usually black or blackish. Ovipositor sheath black and clearly extending beyond dorsal beak.

Measurements. 10 km E of Victoria River Inn, NT: n = 1033, 10♀♀ (includes smallest and largest of available specimens). Length of body: male 11.3–15.3 (13.6); female 13.5–17.0 (15.0). Length of fore wing: male 16.8–20.0 (18.5); female 18.4–21.6 (20.0). Width of head: male 4.4– 5.8 (5.1); female 4.8–6.0 (5.4). Width of pronotum: male 4.4–5.5 (5.0); female 4.8–6.3 (5.5). M ATARANKA HOME- STEAD, NT: n = 1033, 10♀♀ (includes smallest and largest of available specimens). Length of body: male 14.6–17.3 (16.0); female 15.4–18.7 (17.4). Length of fore wing: male

19.1–22.5 (21.2); female 20.5–23.8 (22.4). Width of head: male 5.1–5.9 (5.5); female 5.3–6.0 (5.9). Width of pronotum: male 5.1–6.2 (5.7); female 5.5–6.5 (6.2). T ENNANT CREEK TOWNSHIP, NT: n = 1033, 8♀♀ (includes smallest and largest of available specimens). Length of body: male 17.4– 19.3 (18.2); female 20.1–21.0 (20.7). Length of fore wing: male 22.9–25.2 (24.1); female 25.5–27.3 (26.3). Width of head: male 6.2–6.7 (6.4); female 6.7–7.0 (6.8). Width of pronotum: male 6.6–7.4 (6.9); female 7.4–7.8 (7.6).

Adult variability. There are marked size differences both within and between populations with those from lower rainfall regions usually smaller than those from areas of high rainfall and lush vegetation. Specimens from the Victoria River catchment are characteristically small (compare measurements above). Typical of the majority of localities are those from Mataranka Homestead (with a fore wing length from 19–24 mm). The specimens from Tennant Creek are possibly abnormally large as they were taken from lush eucalypts in watered parkland.

Tryella castanea   is the most variable of all Tryella species   , not only in size (see above) but also in colour and fore wing infuscations. Colour differences may be partially due to aging with darker individuals being older. The presence of fore wing infuscations is characteristic for most localities throughout the species’ range although there is some variability, but never is infuscation exceptionally bold with confinement to the base of apical cells 2 and 3 and nearly always to the cross veins only; a lack of fore wing infuscation is typical only for specimens from near the Victoria River (near Timber Creek township and Victoria River Inn) although a small percentage (approximately 10%, n=102) do show weak infuscations.

Electrophoretic examination of populations from Wyndham in Western Australia, Dingo Creek, Timber Creek and Victoria River Inn in Northern Territory and Escott Station in Queensland that displayed considerable differences in size, colour and wing infuscation, confirmed all were conspecific (Serkowski & Moulds, unpub. data); all possess male genital structures typical of castanea   . Further, the population from Timber Creek which included individuals with either black or grey eyes were clearly shown to be homogeneous   .

Distinguishing features. The exceptional variability of this species calls for care in identification. Within the geographic range of castanea   the most similar species is T. adela   . However, where the two are sympatric (central and eastern part of monsoonal Northern Territory), only small atypical specimens of castanea   are likely to be confused with adela   . Typical specimens of castanea   differ not only in their normally larger size (fore wing rarely below 22 mm), but also by having the basal cell pigmented and the antennal plate nearly always brown rather than black (visible under magnification); male genital structures show clear differences between castanea   and adela   and should be examined in doubtful cases. For the most part, however, castanea   is not sympatric with adela   and geographic location usually provides an excellent guide to identity. Some individuals of T. castanea   are almost indistinguishable from some individuals of T. burnsi   (except for male genitalia); however, the distributions of these two species are quite distinct (ignoring a doubtful record from near Burketown) and specimens of known origins are easily determined.

Distribution ( Fig. 77). Kimberley region of Western Australia, northern half of Northern Territory where records are concentrated on the Victoria River region and along the Stuart Highway between Adelaide River and Tennant Creek with additional isolated records from western Arnhem Land, 70 km south of junction of Carpentaria/Tablelands Highways and Borroloola, and from far northwestern Queensland near Burketown. Records are lacking from the interior of the Kimberley region, the Tanami Desert and much of Arnhem Land but these absences almost certainly reflect a lack of collecting rather than a true absence from these areas.

Adult emergence is probably dependent upon wet season rains. There are records from October to late April.

The distribution for this species given by Moulds (1990) includes records of other Tryella species   unrecognized at the time as distinct from T. castanea   .

Habitat. Adults appear to favour small branches amongst tree foliage.

Song. Singing occurs both during the day and at dusk although the dusk song is usually by far most vigorous and sustained. An analysis of the song is under study (Moulds, in prep.).

Biology. Adults emerge after dark and are capable of flight even before their wings harden. They are pale straw coloured on emergence but show signs of their final pigmentation within 2 hours and are fully coloured and ready to sing by morning.

Severe damage to lemon trees, Citrus limon   , in an orchard near Katherine, NT was caused by large numbers of adults ovipositing in semi-hardened flush growth (R. Dodd, pers. comm.).


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


San Jose State University, Museum of Birds and Mammals


Australian Museum


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Australian National Insect Collection


Marine Science Museum, Tokai Univ.


University of Montana Museum


South African Museum


University of Queensland Insect Collection














Tryella castanea (Distant, 1905)

Moulds, M. S. 2003

Abricta castanea

Ewart, A 1993: 139
Moulds, M 1990: 122
Metcalf, Z 1963: 206
Burns, A 1957: 635
Kato, M 1932: 181
Ashton, H 1914: 349
Kirkaldy, G 1907: 16
Distant, W 1906: 131
Distant, W 1905: 27