Calipsalta brunnea, Moulds & Marshall, 2022

Moulds, Max & Marshall, David C., 2022, New genera and new species of Western Australian cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae), Zootaxa 5174 (5), pp. 451-507 : 491-493

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Calipsalta brunnea

sp. n.

Calipsalta brunnea sp. n.

( Figs 11 View FIGURES 8–14 , 20 View FIGURES 15–20 , 48–50 View FIGURES 48–49 View FIGURE 50 )

Synonymy. Cicadetta sp. A brown sandplain cicada Ewart 2009: 123–124; Pl. 1, fig. C.

“spinifex rattler” Marshall et al. 2016: fig. 2.

Etymology. From the Latin brunneus meaning dusky, tawny, and referring to the tawny brown colour of this species.

Types. Holotype male (Simon Lab. voucher 10.AU.WA.WOL.03), near Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater , Western Australia, 19°10.908’S 127°46.636’E, 25.i.2010, Hill, Marshall, Moulds ( WAME 113474 ) ( WAM) GoogleMaps . Paratypes as follows: WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 2 males, 3 females, AU.WA. WOL, near Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater, Western Australia, 19°10.908’S 127°46.636’E, 25.i,2010, Hill, Marshall, Moulds GoogleMaps ; 1 male, AU.WA.NSR, 23 km NE of Sandfire Rd house, 19°40.741’S 121°16.042’E, 16 m, 9.ii.2006, Hill, Marshall, Moulds GoogleMaps ; 1 male, 50 km SW of Sandfire Flat, between Broome and Port Hedland, 15.ii.1977, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ; 6 males (2 Simon Lab. vouchers 11.AU.WA. DEE.01, 11.AU.WA. DEE.02), 60 km ESE of Derby on Gibb River Rd , 46 m, 17°26.224’S 124°10.046’E, 22.xi.2011, K. Hill, D. Marshall GoogleMaps ; 1 female, 40 km W of Warburton , 26°13’S 126°19’E, 29.xii.1995, M.S. & B.J. Moulds, K.A. Kopestonsky GoogleMaps ; 2 females, Mary R. x-ing, 100 km SW of Halls Creek township , 1.i.1986, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ; 1 male, 6 females, Lake Mackay , ca 100 km ENE Kiwirrkurra Agrimin Camp, 22°42’06.9”S 128°38’49.8”E ( GDA 49 ), 14.xi.2017, T.A. Moulds ( MSM). GoogleMaps 1 male, 1 female, same data as holotype ( WAME 113475-113476 ) ( WAM). NORTHERN TERRITORY: 2 females, nr Caseys Bore NT, ESE Ringwood Stn , xii.1968, U.N.E. Explor. Soc. ( ANIC). 1 female, Taylors Creek , 47 km N of Barrow Creek township, 22.i.1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds (DE). 1 male (Simon Lab. voucher 10.AU.NT. HME.01), edge of Hermannsburg , 591 m, 23°56.382’S 132°47.413’E, 29.i.2010, Hill, Marshall, Moulds GoogleMaps ; 5 males, 1 female (2 Simon Lab. vouchers 04. NTR. PCK.11, 04. NTR. PCK.11), 32 km S of Elliot , 240 m, 17°49.3’S 133°40.5’E, 26.i.2004, Cooley, Hill, Marshall, Moulds GoogleMaps ; 1 female, AU.NT.LJA, Luritja Road , 99 km N of Lasseter Hwy, 24°29.898’S 132°03.944’E 31.i.2010, Hill, Marshall, Moulds [at light] GoogleMaps ; 3 males (genitalia prep. ERE 7 ), 11 females, 70 km E of The Three Ways, nr Tennant Creek township , 21.i,1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ; 3 males (2 genitalia prep. CI 112, ERE 2, ERE 8 ), 14 females, Taylors Creek , 47 km N of Barrow Creek township, 22.i,1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ; 3 females, Barkly Hwy, 75 km ESE of junction with Tablelands Hwy , 4.i.1987, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ; 3 males, 1 female, 27 km S of Rabbit Flat , 12.i.2002, 20°22’52”S 130°08’54”E, M.S. & B.J. Moulds GoogleMaps ; 1 male, 1 female, Newhaven Stn , Tanami Desert, ii.2010, J. & D. Schofield ; 1 male, 3 females, 29 km ENE of Ayers Rock , 2.ii.1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ; 1 female, Yulara Resort , Ayers Rock, 2.ii.1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ( MSM). 1 female, Taylors Creek , 47 km N of Barrow Creek township, 22.i,1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ( LP). 1 female, Taylors Creek , 47 km N of Barrow Creek township, 22.i,1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ( PH). 1 female, Taylors Creek , 47 km N of Barrow Creek township, 22.i.1984, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ( WAME 113477 ) ( WAM). SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 1 female, 26°09’S 130°35’E, 56 km W of Amata, Musgrave Ranges , 19.i.1982, D.C.F. & B.G.F. Rentz & R. Honeycutt, stop 14 ( ANIC). GoogleMaps QUEENSLAND: 4 females, Ethabuka Res. , 23°51.565’S 138°28.855’E, 12.ii.2007, S. Morrison ( MSM). GoogleMaps

Distribution and habitat ( Figs 20b View FIGURES 15–20 , 48 View FIGURES 48–49 ). Widely distributed through arid and semi-arid regions of Western Australia and Northern Territory, and from near Amata at the western end of the Musgrave Ranges in the far northwest of South Australia and from Cravens Peak Reserve ( Ewart 2009) and Ethabuka Reserve (S. Morrison) in far south-western Queensland. Records from Western Australia include near Derby and Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater in the north, Sandfire Flat at the western extremity of the Great Sandy Desert, Lake Mackay at the eastern extremity of the Gibson Desert, and near Warburton near the northern edge of the Great Victoria Desert. In the Northern Territory it is widely distributed south from Elliot to Uluru (Ayers Rock) but records are lacking from the south-eastern quarter. There are records from mid November to mid February. Adults are often associated with herbaceous plants in open shrubland with spinifex and other grasses.

Adult description. Male ( Figs 11 View FIGURES 8–14 , 20a View FIGURES 15–20 , 49 View FIGURES 48–49 ). Light brown. Head light brown; postclypeus light brown with lateral grooves a little darker; anteclypeus light brown but darker laterally; antennae dark brown; rostrum dark brown tending black distally, reaching to about mid length of mid coxae. Thorax light brown; pronotal collar and submedian and lateral sigilla dark brown to varying extents. Forewing venation brown becoming black distally, with infuscations overlaying crossveins r to r-m; basal membrane orange. Hindwing venation brown becoming black on distal half, without infuscations; plaga white to pale brown. Legs brown; meracanthus short, broad, pointed, similar in colour to opercula. Opercula pale yellowish brown. Abdomen light brown. Timbals with cavity broadly rounded along posterior margin, on some specimens tending partly weakly ridged; with three long ribs spanning the the timbal membrane and joined at their dorsal ends, and usually one or two short ribs in anterior membrane.

Male genitalia ( Figs 49a–b View FIGURES 48–49 ). Pygofer brown; basal lobes well developed but in lateral view mostly hidden with slight out-curve apically; upper lobes broad, directed slightly upwards, apex broadly rounded; dorsal beak very wide and mostly confluent with pygofer margin. Claspers in lateral view broad, gently curved along upper margin, less so along ventral margin, bluntly pointed, with a wide overhanging rim along upper margin; in ventral view broad, tapering to a bluntly pointed apex, not diverging along their inner margins, their apices abutted. Aedeagus trifid, the pseudoparameres long (much longer than length of thecal shaft), pointed, diverging distally in dorsal view; ventral support about half the length of pseudoparameres; basal plate in dorsal view gently incurved across distal margin with rounded ‘ears’ slightly back-turned.

Female. Similar to male. Light brown. Ovipositor sheath dark brown, projecting a little beyond dorsal beak no more than 0.3 mm.

Measurements. Range and mean (in mm) for 10 males, 10 females (includes smallest and largest of available specimens). Length of body (including head): male 18.9–24.6 (21.4); female (including ovipositor) 19.6–25.6 (22.8). Length of forewing: male 20.9–27.6 (23.9); female 21.9–27.4 (24.7). Width of head (including eyes): male 5.8–7.6 (6.6); female 6.1–7.6 (6.7). Width of pronotum (across lateral angles): male 7.1–9.0 (7.8); female 7.1–9.4 (7.9).

Distinguishing features. Light brown cicadas in life. The forewing is lightly infuscated subapically, the venation is brown, and the rostrum reaches about mid length of mid coxae. Forewing veins M and CuA are either fused at the basal cell for a short distance or unfused but abutted together. The male genitalia have pseudoparameres that are longer than the length of the thecal shaft and a ventral support that is about half the length of the pseudoparameres. The female ovipositor sheath barely protrudes beyond the anal styles and caudal beak.

Calipsalta brunnea sp. n. is most likely to be confused with discoloured individuals of C. fumosa sp. n. that have turned brown after death; the mid brown to black forewing costa of C. brunnea distinguishes it from the pale brown or pale greenish costa of C. fumosa .

Song ( Figs 50a–d View FIGURE 50 ). Recordings were examined from the type locality and the following paratype localities: NT.HME, NT.PCK, WA.DEE, WA.NSR.

The calling song consists of a train of sharp clicks or doublets that oscillates between slower and faster click rates at about 14–23 cycles/s and ends, after a brief silent gap of 0.045 –0.065 s, with an isolated syllable lasting about 0.02 s (sometimes containing only a single click). Click rates vary from 140–31/s. This   GoogleMaps oscillation is so rapid that normally only one slow-rate click is produced per cycle, and only two or three fast-rate clicks. Phrases   GoogleMaps may last longer than a minute. Most   GoogleMaps sound energy is found within the range 8–14 kHz, with a peak around 10 kHz. There   GoogleMaps is no frequency modulation. The   GoogleMaps song has been previously recorded from Cravens Peak Reserve   GoogleMaps in Queensland by Ewart (2009, p. 143–144, “ Cicadetta sp. A ”), who described the song structure as repeated 4-syllable macrosyllables.

The song of Calipsalta brunnea is similar to those of C. viridans sp. n., C. fumosa sp. n., and Pedana hesperia sp. n., but is clearly distinguishable by its more rapid rate of oscillation between fast- and slow-rate sections, over 14 cycles/s compared to less than 7 cycles/s for the other species. Males call both during the day and at dusk. but tend to restrict calling to dusk when day temperatures are exceedingly high.


Western Australian Museum


McManus Galleries


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Marine Science Museum, Tokai Univ.


Australian National Insect Collection


Haslemere Educational Museum


Laboratory of Palaeontology