Tryella noctua ( Distant, 1913 ), Moulds, 2003

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: 290-292

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Tryella noctua ( Distant, 1913 )


Tryella noctua ( Distant, 1913)   , n.comb.

Figs. 26, 48, 49, 64a,b, 91

Abricta noctua Distant, 1913: 487   ; Ashton, 1915: 91; Distant, 1915: 53; Burns, 1957: 636, 637; Metcalf, 1963: 209; Duffels & van der Laan, 1985: 235; Moulds, 1990: 121–122, pl. 15, figs 2, 2a.

Abricta rufonigra Ashton, 1914: 349   , pl. 17.


(a) Abricta noctua   . Lectotype male here designated, bearing four labels: (i) Abricta   / noctua   /Dist./type” handwritten in black ink, probably original Distant label; (ii) “Type/H.T.” small white circular label with red border on which is machine printed; (iii) “SYN-/TYPE” small white circular label with blue border on which is machine printed; (iv) “ Australia./W.W.Froggatt,/1913-364” rectangular machine printed label (in BMNH). Examined.

Lectotype designation. Distant (1913) did not designate a holotype or state the number of specimens examined. While it is probable that he had only the one specimen listed above, following Recommendation 73F of the Code to consider such specimens as syntypes, and in the absence of any other previous designation of this specimen as type, this specimen is designated lectotype.

Type locality. The last label listed above for the lectotype is a BMNH label indicating from where the Museum obtained the specimen and its registration number. There is no label giving locality, date of collection or name of collector. The original description states “ Hab. N.W   .

Australia, Cue (H.W. Brown, type in Brit. Mus.)” and there is no reason to doubt that this is the true type locality   .

(b) Abricta rufonigra   . Lectotype male here designated (in SAM) (examined). Bearing three labels as follows: (i) “ Cue, W.A. / H.W. Brown ” small machine printed label; (ii) Abricta rufonigra Ashton.   / Type ” hand printed in India ink; (iii) Abricta rufonigra Ashton.   /Syn. of A. noctua Dist.   / W.A./ Type. I2939, I4960”.  

Lectotype designation. Ashton’s (1914) description of A. rufonigra   is based on an unstated number of specimens of unstated sex from “ Western Australia: Cue”, although it is likely that only one male was available for the description. In the SAM there are a further male and two females bearing similar data as the specimen labelled “Type”. However, measurements of one of the females are not compatible with those stated in the original description despite an additional label attached to this specimen stating “2939 Abricta rufonigra   and what appears to be the words willsi W L Dist   ” and “n. sp.”. Further , there are two males and two females in ANIC also labelled Cue and possibly old enough to have been seen by Ashton.  

While it is most likely that the male “type” is in fact a holotype it is not possible to categorically deny it forms part of a syntype series. To clarify the identity of this name the specimen detailed above is here designated lectotype.

Note on synonymy. Following publication of his description of A. rufonigra, Ashton   found that Distant had described the species as A. noctua   the preceding year. Consequently Ashton (1915) placed A. rufonigra   as a junior synonym of A. noctua   . H.W. Brown often divided his field catches between Distant and Ashton which also led to the creation of synonymies for other cicada species.

Material examined. Types and the following: WESTERN AUSTRALIA —1 3, K179960, 1♀, K179961, Cue , no date, H.W. Brown, H. Ashton Coll.; 1♀, K179836, 55 km   SE of Leinster , 28°20'S 121°05'E, 16.i.1989, MBM GoogleMaps   ; 13, K179835, Leonora , 15.i.1989, MBM   ; all in AM. 233, 2♀♀, Cue , ex W.W. Froggatt Collection; all in ANIC   . 13, 60 km W of Sandstone , 18.i.1989, MBM   ; 13, 1♀, Sandstone , 18.i.1989, MBM   ; 1♀, 40 km E of Sandstone , 17.i.1989, MBM   ; 13, “ Depot Springs ”, 27°56'S 120°05'E, 17.i.1989, MBM GoogleMaps   ; 1 3, 3♀♀, Agnew , 17.i.1989, MBM   ; 13, 4♀♀, 17 km ENE of Agnew , 27°59'S 120°41'E, 17.i.1989, MBM GoogleMaps   ; 733, 11♀♀, 55 km SE of Leinster , 28°20'S 121°05'E, 16.i.1989, MBM GoogleMaps   ; 933 (1 male genitalic preparation no. AB22), 11♀♀ (1♀ ex exuviae), Leonora , 15,16. i.1989, MBM   ; 1♀, White Cliffs [NE of Laverton], 18.i.1978, M. Powell; all in MSM   . 13, 2♀♀, Cue , (no date), H.W. Brown; all in SAM   . 1♀, 55 km SE of Leinster , 28°20'S 121°05'E, 16.i.1989, MBM GoogleMaps   ; 13, Leonora , 15,16. i.1989, MBM   ; 13, reg. no. 34332, Winburn Rocks , 94 km E of Warburton, 26°05'S 127°30'E, 22.i.1990, T GoogleMaps   . F. Houston & M.S. Harvey; 333, 1♀, reg. nos. 34326–34329, 2.5 km N of Mt Linden , 29.19'S 122.25'E, 17– 23.iii.1979, T   . F. Houston et al.; 1♀, reg. no. 34317, Weld Range , 2.iii.1963, A. Douglas; 1♀, reg. no. 34318, Prairie Downs Stn, i/ iii.1963, C. Snell; 1♀, reg. no. 34320, Mileura, nth Cue, 16.xii.1969, E. Lindgreen; 1♀, reg. no. 34319, 50 m W Charles Knob, approx   . 300 m NE Laverton , 25°S 124°E, 30.i.1964, M. Gillett; 333, 3♀♀, reg. nos 34302, 34321, 34323–34325, 34333, 3.8 km, c. 7 km NE and GoogleMaps   13.8 km ENE of Comet Vale Siding , 29°57'S 121°07'E, 7–15.iii.1979, T GoogleMaps   .F.

Houston et al.; 2♀♀, reg. nos. 34330–34331, 6 km NE of Mt Cooper , 26°11'S 127°57'E, 21.i.1990, T GoogleMaps   . F. Houston & M.S. Harvey; 1♀, reg. no. 34322, same data but, on branches of mulga; all in WAM GoogleMaps   . NORTHERN TERRITORY —3 33, 1♀, small hill 20 km E of Glen Helen Gorge , 28.i.1984, MBM   ; 333, Ayers Rock , 3.ii.1984, MBM   ; all in MSM. SOUTH AUSTRALIA —8 33, 3♀♀, 17 km S of Chandler railway siding, 5.ii.1984, MBM   ; 13, 2♀♀, 24 km NW of Marla , 5.ii.1984, MBM   ; 13, 1♀, 30 km S of Mt Willoughby Stn , 6.ii.1984, MBM   ; 13, 13 km N of The Twins Hsd, Stuart Hwy , 7.ii.1984, MBM   ; 233, 1♀, Coober Pedy, 23.xii.1988, S. Lamond ; all in MSM   .


Male ( Figs. 26, 48, 49, 64a). Head. Black, often with a very small muddy yellow marking on midline against posterior margin not discernible to naked eye; postclypeus black, sometimes with areas dark ferruginous, below often with a yellow margin barely discernible to naked eye; anteclypeus black, sometimes with a little ferruginous not discernible to naked eye. Rostrum tending brown basally but otherwise black; reaching bases of hind coxae. Antennae black. Often bearing some silver pubescence, especially below. Thorax. Pronotum with a broad black fascia on dorsal midline, otherwise dark ferruginous; pronotal collar black, on some individuals tending partially brown on lateral angles. Mesonotum sometimes almost entirely black but usually dark ferruginous with black markings, the black appearing as a fascia bordering wing grooves and as a broad middorsal fascia that often incorporates a pair of very dark ferruginous obconical markings based on anterior margin; cruciform elevation black or dark brown. Thorax above often with some silver pubescence; below usually substantially covered by silver pubescence. Wings. Hyaline. Fore wings always with a bold zigzag infuscation following basal veins of apical cells 2–4 and usually also along the length of vein R1b forming apical cell 1; venation black, costa dark brown; basal cell barely tinted brown; basal membrane dark grey; costa and veins on basal half or so of wing usually with some silver pubescence not always discernible by naked eye. Hind wings with infuscations bordering plaga along vein 2A and 3A; plaga off white; venation muddyyellow to brown. Legs. Black and brown to varying extent but usually with tibiae dominantly black. Opercula. Brown to nearly black but usually tending brown across posterior margin; often bearing fine silver pubescence usually discernible to naked eye; clearly separated exposing apex of sternite I and barely concealing tympanal cavities. Abdomen. Tergites black or nearly so, sometimes with a little dark brown mainly confined to tergites 2 and 8. Sternites dark brown with a broad black midline, sometimes almost entirely black, the black always reaching full width of sternite VII but contracting on its anterior half; sternite VIII always entirely black or nearly black. Abdomen above and below usually with silver pubescence visible to naked eye. Tymbals ( Fig. 26). Usually 10 long tymbal ribs, otherwise as for generic description. Genitalia ( Figs. 48, 49). Pygofer black or nearly so; upper pygofer lobes in lateral view broad, slightly tapering to a broad rounded apex, in ventral view slightly angled inwards with the subdivision of terminal section clearly visible externally as a stepped profile; basal lobes without webbing fusing inner and outer lobes, outer lobe in lateral view like a very long thin finger, gently curved, almost equal in length to upper pygofer lobe. Uncal lobes scoop-like and gently upturned at their distal ends; lateral processes of uncus in lateral view broad at base but steeply tapering on basal third, thereafter narrow and parallel-sided, apex rounded. Conjunctival claws simple, sharply pointed, directed ventrally. Flabellum   absent. Palearis on distal third of theca, reaching distal end, nearly even in width but tapering abruptly at proximal end.

Female ( Fig. 64b). Colour and markings similar to male. Abdominal segment 9 black dorsally, usually becoming partially dark brown ventrally. Ovipositor sheath black; clearly extending beyond dorsal beak.

Measurements. n = 1033, 10♀♀ (includes smallest and largest of available specimens). Length of body: male 18.6– 24.4 (22.0); female 20.3–25.8 (23.7). Length of fore wing: male 23.8–29.0 (26.9); female 25.7–31.9 (29.0). Width of head: male 6.6–8.0 (7.4); female 6.9–8.6 (7.8). Width of pronotum: male 6.8–8.9 (7.9); female 7.4–9.4 (8.5).

Distinguishing features. This species is remarkably similar to T. occidens   but is easily distinguished by the colour of the postclypeus which is black or very nearly so in noctua   but ferruginous brown in occidens   . However, there are major differences in male genitalia between these two species (see T. occidens   for details).

There is also similarity between T. noctua   and darker individuals of T. stalkeri   . The latter species is never nearly black and the hind wing plagal area along vein 3A entirely devoid of black.

Distribution ( Fig. 91). Arid regions of Central and Western Australia south of the Tropic of Capricorn in areas receiving less than 300 mm average annual rainfall. From Western Australia there are records from as far west as Mileura Station, north as far as Prairie Downs and south to Comet Vale near Menzies. From the Northern Territory there are records from a small hill 20 km east of Glen Helen Gorge, and from near Ayers Rock. All South Australian records are from along the Stuart Hwy between Chandler and Coober Pedy. Adults have been taken from mid December to late March.

Habitat. Mulga ( Acacia aneura   ) and possibly other shrubs and small trees. Adults tend to perch along small branches where they are often well camouflaged.

Song. Adults sing both during the day and at dusk; otherwise unknown.


South African Museum


Australian National Insect Collection


San Jose State University, Museum of Birds and Mammals


Australian Museum


Marine Science Museum, Tokai Univ.


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Western Australian Museum














Tryella noctua ( Distant, 1913 )

Moulds, M. S. 2003

Abricta rufonigra Ashton, 1914: 349

Ashton, H 1914: 349

Abricta noctua

Moulds, M 1990: 121
Metcalf, Z 1963: 209
Burns, A 1957: 636
Ashton, H 1915: 91
Distant, W 1915: 53
Distant, W 1913: 487