Tryella willsi ( Distant, 1882 ), 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: 298-301

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Tryella willsi ( Distant, 1882 )


Tryella willsi ( Distant, 1882)   , n.comb.

Figs. 59a,b, 94, 95, 106

Tibicen willsi Distant, 1882: 127   , pl. VII; Goding & Froggatt, 1904: 609.

Abricta willsi Distant, 1905a: 27   ; ibid., 1906: 131; Froggatt, 1907: 351; Kirkaldy, 1907b: 308; Ashton, 1914: 349; Kato, 1932: 181; Burns, 1957: 637; Metcalf, 1963: 210; Wagner, 1968: 155; Duffels & van der Laan, 1985: 235; Moulds, 1990: 123–124; Ewart, 1993: 139.


(a) Lectotype female here designated and 2 paralectotype females (in BMNH) (examined)   . Lectotype ♀ bearing five labels: (i) “Peak Downs.” handwritten in india ink; (ii)

willsi   / Dist.” handwritten in india ink; (iii) “SYN-/ TYPE ” machine printed on circular label with blue border; (iv) circular label with red border on which is machine printed “Type”; (v) “Distant Coll./1911-383” machine printed. Two paralectotype ♀♀ each bearing three labels: (i) “Peak Downs” machine printed; (ii) “Distant Coll./ 1911-383.” machine printed; (iii) “SYN-/ TYPE ” machine printed on circular label with blue border; and one specimen bearing an additional label stating Abricta   / willsi Dist.   /det. R. J. Izzard. 1961./ ♀ comp. with type”   .

There are also 233 in BMNH labelled “Peak Downs”, “Distant Coll./1911-383” that have been previously considered syntypes of willsi   . Distant (1882) clearly had only females (except for a male in ZMH discussed below) so these specimens cannot be syntypes of willsi   and are here disregarded.

(b) Paralectotype male and paralectotype female (in ZMH) (examined)   . Paralectotype 3 bearing four labels: (i) “Sidney[sic]./Mus. Godeffroy./No. 17625” machine printed with 17625 handwritten in india ink; (ii) label with bold black printed border, a fine inner printed border within which “No.” is machine printed at the top left hand corner and “Museum Godeffroy/Hamburg” between the borders at top and bottom respectively, and handwritten inscription in india ink “17625./ Tibicen   ./willsi./ Sidney/Dist” (possibly the oldest label); (iii) label with printed black border within which is handwritten “W. willsi Dist.   ”; (iv) pink label on which is machine printed “ Paratype ”. Paralectotype ♀ bearing three labels: (i) “Peak Downs” handwritten, “Mus Godeffroy./No.” machine printed, “17625” handwritten; (ii) label with bold black printed border, a fine inner printed border within which “No.” is machine printed at the top left hand corner and “Museum Godeffroy/Hamburg” between the borders at the top and bottom respectively, and handwritten inscription in india ink “17625./ Tibicen   ./willsi./PK Downs/Dist.” (possibly the oldest label); (iii) pink label on which is machine printed “ Paratype.”

Lectotype and paralectotype designations. Distant (1882) based his description of this species on nine females but added a footnote stating that “[Since writing the above I have discovered one male specimen of this species in the Godeffroy collection, which was received from Sydney…]”.

Under Article 72.4.1 of the Code this male could be considered to form part of the type series and that Wagner (1968) correctly listed this male (plus a female) in ZMH as syntypes. All six syntypes are conspecific. I am reluctant to designate the single male as a lectotype because it could be argued by some that it does not form part of the type series. The female selected as lectotype has been so chosen because it is typically coloured and is here designated so as to clarify the identity of this species   .

Type locality. Distant (1882) lists Peak Downs and Sydney as type localities. Only the male in ZMH is labelled as coming from Sydney. Distant’s footnote to the original description states that this male “was received from Sydney” and it appears likely that Distant assumed it originated from Sydney. As it is conspecific with the 5 known females, and the known distribution of the species is restricted to Queensland, it is reasonable to consider this male incorrectly labelled and that Sydney is an erroneous locality   .

Material examined. Types and the following specimens: QUEENSLAND —8 33, K179906–K179913, 8 ♀♀, K179987–K179994 “Separation” nr Duaringa, xii.1993 – iv.1994, A.W.Smith; 2 ♀♀, K179958, K179959, Carnarvon Rge , 14.xii.1948, N. Geary; all in AM   . 13, 10 km W of Undilla Hsd , 95 km ENE of Camooweal, 21.xii.1986, MBM   ; 2♀♀, nr Undilla Hsd , 60 km ENE of Camooweal, 21.xii.1986, MBM   ; 13, Selwyn Mine , 160 km SE of Mt Isa, 30.i.1991, T   . Woodger; 333, 2♀♀, Nonda railway stn, 70 km W of Richmond, 6.i.1987, MBM   ; 533, 1♀, 30 km N of Hughenden , 21.i.1977, MBM   ; 1033 (1 male genitalic preparation no. AB54), 34♀♀, 60 km E of Hughenden , 4.ii.1981, MBM   ; 13, Sheepskin Ck , [nr Connors R.], 75 mi SSW of Sarina, 10.xi.1973, AMW-H; 13, Barcaldine, 10.ii.1981, MBM   ; 633, 2♀♀, “Noonbah”, SW of Longreach, 27,28,31. i.1998, 1,2,4,5,6. ii.1998, A. Emmott; 233, 40 km SE of Blackall on Barcoo R   ., 30.xii.1993, J.E. & M.S. Heath; 2033, 96♀♀, Barcoo R   , S of Blackall , 24°35'01"S 145°48'31"E, 29.xii.2000, MBM GoogleMaps   ; 1♀, Bee Ck , 25 km SW of Nebo, 6.ii.1981, MBM   ; 233, 3♀♀, 60 km NE of Clermont , 7.ii.1981, MBM   ; 13, 6♀♀, 100 km NW of Marlborough, 28.i.1981, P.S. Valentine; 2♀♀, Grave Gully, approx. 40 km N of Marlborough, 3.ii.1973, AMW-H; 1♀, 2 km W of Emerald, 1.i.1994, J.E. & M.S. Heath; 733, 13♀♀, “Mourangee”, near Edungalba, on red soil tableland, 14.xi.1987, E.E. Adams; 13, 3♀♀, Mourangee Hsd , near Edungalba , 18.xii.1985, R   . Adams; 13, 3.5 km N of Mourangee Hsd, near Edungalba , 7.xi.1986, E.E. Adams; 533, 2♀♀   , same data but 4 km N and 20,23. i.1991; 1♀   , same data but 3 km E and 28.i.1991; 1♀   , same data but 5 km E and 5.xii.1983; 333, 9♀♀   , same data but 4 km SE and 28.i.1991; 933, 7♀♀   , same data but 5 km S and 14.xii.1983, 11,28. xi.1987; 233 (1 male genitalic preparation no. AB55), 1♀   , same data but 5 km SW and 24.xii.1983; 2♀♀   , same data but 2 km WNW and 6.xi.1986; 1♀, “Bellwood”, near Edungalba, 25.xii.1983, E.E. Adams; 2133, 10♀♀, foothills of Blackdown Tableland, Expedition Range , 23.xii.1972, MBM   ; 1♀, Springsure , 28.xii.1995, D. Kitchin and T   . Jack; 2♀♀, 6 km NE of Rolleston , 24.xi.1986, MBM   ; 13, 65 km S of Rolleston , 20.xii.1983, MBM   ; 3♀♀, Charleville, 19.xii.1995, Colin Dollery; 1♀, Biloela , 21.xii.1995, D. Kitchin, T   . Jack; 13, Theodore , 16.i.1991, GAD   ; 733 (1 male genitalic preparation no. AB81), 4♀♀, Mt Scoria, near Thangool , 21.xi.1987, R   . Eastwood; 533, 2♀♀, 49 km SSE of St George near Moonie R   ., 18.xii.1983, MBM   ; all in MSM. 1♀, 60 km E of Hughenden , 4.ii.1981, MBM   ; 1♀, Hughenden, (no date), H.H. Batchelor ; all in QM   . 1♀, Cloncurry, 7.ii.1966, P. Brown; 1♀, Biloela , 12.i.[19]47, A. R   . Bird ; 13, Linville, 16.xii.[19]51, G. Saunders; 233, 2♀♀, 28 km ENE of Eulo, 28°04'S 145°18'E, 16.iii.1991, C.J. Burwell; all in UQIC GoogleMaps   .


Male ( Figs. 59a, 94, 95). Head. Black; postclypeus dark reddish brown; anteclypeus black, sometimes with a hint of brown. Rostrum brown at base becoming black apically; passing bases but not apices of hind coxae. Ocelli amber to ruby red. Antennae black. Head above lacking obvious pubescence, below usually with silver pubescence primarily on lorum and not always obvious to naked eye. Thorax. Pronotum orange yellow with a broad black fascia on midline, this fascia spreading laterally both at its anterior end against pronotal margin and at its posterior end against pronotal collar; pronotal collar black but sometimes brown anterior or lateral angles; anterior and posterior oblique fissures strongly mottled black or dark brown. Mesonotum usually black but sometimes dark ferruginous but always with a large black blotch immediately anterior of cruciform elevation and along lateral margin above wing bases; cruciform elevation either black or mid brown. Thorax above without noticeable silver pubescence. Thorax below partly black and partly brown but always brown adjacent to legs and usually bearing fine silver pubescent not obvious to naked eye. Wings. Hyaline. Fore wings with distinct infuscations at bases of apical cells 2 and 3 and sometimes also extending to cell 1, the infuscations at bases of cells 2 and 3 usually a continuous zigzag but occasionally divided into two; venation brown to black, costa ochraceous usually with costal vein brown; basal cell always partly or entirely tinted translucent brown; basal membrane orange; costa and veins on basal third or so occasionally bearing some silver pubescence not visible to naked eye. Hind wings usually with a distinct infuscation at distal end of vein 2A; plaga light brown often with a dark tinge either side of plaga on 3A and a very weak brownish tinge barely discernible principally over basal half; venation brown. Legs. Brown, sometimes partly tending black, without markings. Opercula. Light yellowish brown contaminated to varying degrees by black suffusion; usually carrying some silver pubescence usually not discernible to naked eye; clearly separated exposing apex of sternite I and barely concealing tympanal cavities. Abdomen. Tergites black or nearly so, the posterior margin of segments 2–7 ochraceous or ferruginous, tergite 8 black to varying degrees but always substantially black dorsally and usually substantially ferruginous laterally. Sternites ferruginous; posterior margin of III–VI ochraceous; midline of sternites with a distinct, but not sharply defined, black fascia. Abdomen above and below often with some silver pubescence but usually not obvious to naked eye. Tymbals. Usually 10–11 long tymbal ribs, otherwise as for generic description. Genitalia ( Figs. 94, 95). Pygofer black or brown and black; upper pygofer lobes in lateral view with upper margin distinctly curved outwards in central region, lower margin straight with distal end curved upwards towards an upturned pointed apex, in ventral view angled slightly inwards near midpoint and outwards on distal quarter; basal lobes with a broad webbing fusing much of outer and inner lobes, in lateral view outer lobe just a short finger-like projection beyond webbing. 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, straight, parallel-sided, apex nearly square. Conjunctival claws simple, sharply pointed, directed laterally. Flabellum   a large rounded lobe across entire ventral surface. Palearis near distal end of theca, rounded with proximal end gradually tapering.

Female ( Fig. 59b). Colour and markings similar to male. Abdominal segment 9 dark ferruginous brown tending black; always black dorsally including dorsal beak. Ovipositor sheath black and clearly extending beyond dorsal beak.

Measurements. n = 1033, 10♀♀ (includes smallest and largest of available specimens). Length of body: male 15.3– 19.2 (17.9); female 16.5–21.8 (19.9). Length of fore wing: male 20.4–24.3 (23.0); female 21.9–26.5 (24.9). Width of head: male 5.4–6.2 (5.9); female 5.5–6.8 (6.3). Width of pronotum: male 5.5–6.6 (6.2); female 5.7–7.1 (6.7).

Distinguishing features. This is clearly the blackest of all Tryella species   and typical specimens are unlikely to be misidentified. However, a series of three males and two females from Nonda in the central west of northern Queensland, show a basic ferruginous pigmentation rather than black and slightly reduced fore wing infuscations so that they are indistinguishable from T. burnsi   without reference to male genitalia. Even then care must be taken in assessing characters; the presence of a well-developed palearis on the aedeagal theca of willsi   clearly distinguishes this species from burnsi   . The known distributions of these two species are, for the most part, allopatric but they may be possibly sympatric in coastal districts between Mackay and Rockhampton although all known records for the two species in this region are separated by the Connors Range, willsi   occurring only to the west and burnsi   only to the east.

Aberrant specimens might also be confused with T. graminea   but are at once distinguished by the glass-clear wings of willsi   compared to the slightly tinted wings of graminea   (clearly visible when held above a white background).

Distribution ( Fig. 106). Inland Queensland from Undilla Stn near Camooweal in the north-west of the State to near Eulo ( Burwell, 1991) and St George in the south and possibly to Bourke in northwestern NSW (Goding & Froggatt, 1904). To the east it extends to near Hughenden, the Isaac River, Mt Scoria near Thangool and possibly to Linville although the latter requires confirmation. Western limits in central Queensland include Blackall and the Rolleston/Injune road near Carnarvon Gorge. Adults are sometimes locally common. There are records from early November to mid February.

The distribution for this species given by Moulds (1990) includes records of T. burnsi   n.sp. unrecognized at the time as a separate species. Records of T. willsi   from Sydney ( Distant, 1882) and King’s Sound (Goding & Froggatt, 1904) are considered erroneous.

Habitat. Shrubs and small trees, especially eucalypts and often Acacia species   , including brigalow ( A. harpophylla   ).

Song. A continuous hissing call sung both during the day and at dusk; otherwise unknown.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. I am especially grateful to Dr M. Coombs and Dr H. Duffels for reviewing the final manuscript and providing many constructive comments. For comments on earlier drafts I am also most grateful to Dr M. Fletcher, Dr M. Gray, Prof. D.F. Hales and Dr D.K. McAlpine.

A number of collectors have provided specimens that have added distribution records or helped resolve taxonomic problems. In particular I wish to thank ErnestAdams, Graham Brown, Edie and her late husband Keith Carnaby, Greg Daniels, Rod Eastwood, Angus Emmott, Jack and Sue Hasenpusch, Shiela Hunter, the late Gordon Jones, Rob Lachlan, David Lane, John Olive, Allan Walford-Huggins, Geoff Williams and Terry Woodger.

The following people have kindly provided access to specimens in their care: Dr N.M. Andersen, UZMC; Prof. M. Boulard, MNHP; Dr M. Carver, ANIC; Prof. A. Ewart, Brisbane; Ms J. Forrest, SAM; Mr L.R. Greenup, Sydney; Dr T. Houston, WAM; Dr M. Humphrey and Dr D.S. Horning, MM; Ms C. McPhee, MV; Mrs J. Margerison- Knight, BMNH; Dr G.B. Monteith, QM; Dr J. Moss, Brisbane; Dr M. Schneider, UQIC; Mr R. Storey, DPI, Mareeba; Prof. H. Strümpel, ZMH; Dr K. Walker, MV; Mr M.D. Webb, BMNH and Dr A. Wells, NTM.

Geoff Avern, AM, gave guidance with photomicroscopy and provided the electron micrographs ( Figs. 7–14, 18–29).

For the photographs used in the coloured figures I extend my thanks to Cizary Rojewski. I am especially grateful to Kyra Kopestonsky for drawing Figs. 1–2, 5–6, 31–32, 35–38, 42–

45 and to Alexandra De Laurentiis for the tracing and inking of Figs. 33–34, 46–49, 67–74, 79–86, 92–101.

In addition I wish to thank Geoff Avern, Sally Cowan, David Hain, Shane McEvey and Geoff Williams who have assisted in a variety of ways. The contribution of each is greatly appreciated.

For assistance with cladistic analyses I thank Drs M. Gray (AM) and D. Yeates (UQ). I am indebted also to the librarians and staff of the Australian Museum, Sydney; The Natural History Museum, London; CSIRO, Black Mountain Laboratories, Canberra and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, for access to literature.

For collecting permits I thank National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW; Forestry Commission of NSW; National Parks , Northern Territory   ; Department of Forestry , Queensland   , and National Parks and Wildlife Service, Queensland.

My wife Barbara and son Timothy have also played a major role in field work, including several trips to remote areas. I also thank Barbara for typing the manuscript.


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


Zoologisches Museum Hamburg


Australian Museum


San Jose State University, Museum of Birds and Mammals


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Marine Science Museum, Tokai Univ.


Queensland Museum


University of Queensland Insect Collection


Royal Botanic Gardens, National Herbarium of New South Wales














Tryella willsi ( Distant, 1882 )

Moulds, M. S. 2003

Abricta willsi

Ewart, A 1993: 139
Moulds, M 1990: 123
Wagner, W 1968: 155
Metcalf, Z 1963: 210
Burns, A 1957: 637
Kato, M 1932: 181
Ashton, H 1914: 349
Froggatt, W 1907: 351
Kirkaldy, G 1907: 308
Distant, W 1905: 27

Tibicen willsi

Distant, W 1882: 127