Pauropsalta katherina, Owen & Moulds, 2016

Owen, Christopher L. & Moulds, Max S., 2016, Systematics and Phylogeny of the Australian Cicada Genus Pauropsalta Goding and Froggatt, 1904 and Allied Genera (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Cicadettini), Records of the Australian Museum 68 (4), pp. 117-200: 157-159

publication ID 10.3853/j.2201-4349.68.2016.1598

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scientific name

Pauropsalta katherina


Pauropsalta katherina   n.sp.

Fig. 25 View Figure 25 , Pl. 3

Pauropsalta kathrina Owen et al., 2015: 261   , nomen nudum.

Types. Holotype male, (one genitalia prep. PAU208 and molecular voucher 06.AU.NT.STC.06; GenBank accessions: KM377166,KM377247, KM377487, KM377608, KM668284) 60 km S of Tennant Creek , Northern Territory, 20°10.932'S 134°13.125'E, 388 m, 31.i.2006, Hill, Marshall, Moulds ( NTM) GoogleMaps   . Paratypes — WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1♂, 1♀, nr Mt Robinson , 112 km NW of Newman, 12.ii.2006, 23°03.386'S 118°51.977'E, Hill, Marshall, Moulds ( AE) GoogleMaps   . 1♂, Sandstone , E of Mt Magnet, 15.i.06, S. Lamond ( JO)   . 1♀, nr Mt Robinson , 112 km NW of Newman, 12.ii.2006, 23°03.386'S 118°51.977'E, Hill, Marshall, Moulds ( LP) GoogleMaps   . 2♂♂ (one genitalia prep.PAU203), 5♀♀, nr Mt Robinson , 112 km NW of Newman, 12.ii.2006, 23°03.386'S 118°51.977'E, Hill, Marshall, Moulds GoogleMaps   ; 1♂ (genitalia prep. PAU269), 25 km E of Sandstone , 17.i.1989, M.S. & B.J. Moulds   ; 1♂ (genitalia prep.PAU 377), 45 km SE of Leinster , 28°13'S 121°1'E, 16.i.1989, M.S. & B.J. Moulds ( MSM) GoogleMaps   . 1♂, 2♀♀, nr Mt Robinson , 112 km NW of Newman, 12.ii.2006, 23°03.386'S 118°51.977'E, Hill, Marshall, Moulds ( WAM) GoogleMaps   . NORTHERN TERRITORY: 3♂♂ 4♀♀, 60 km S of Tennant Creek , 20°10.932'S 134°13.125'E, 388 m, 31.i.2006, Hill, Marshall, Moulds GoogleMaps   ; 1♂, Ti Tree, Hwy 87, 2.i.2000, R.P. Meyer   ; 1♂, 37.5 km NW of Tilmouth Well on Tanami Rd , 22°36.749'S 132°19.111'E, 30.i.2007, K. Hill & D. Marshall GoogleMaps   ; 1♂ (molecular voucher 10.AU.NT.TMU.01), Tanami Rd , 130 km NW of Yuendumu, 21°30.242'S 130°58.991'E, 27.i.2010 GoogleMaps   ; 2♂♂, 1♀, c. 20 km S of Alice Springs on Stuart Hwy , 23°50.792'S 133°49.020'E, 1.ii.2007, K. Hill & D. Marshall ( MSM) GoogleMaps   . QUEENSLAND: 1♂ (genitalia prep. PAU298), Alnagatta Bore, Ethabuka Reserve , S.W.Q., 23°15.565'S 138°28.855'E, 4.ii.2007, S. Morrison ( MSM) GoogleMaps   .

Distribution ( Fig. 25 View Figure 25 ). Inland Western Australia from Mount Robinson (some 112 km NW of Newman) south to Sandstone and near Leinster, the Northern Territory from the Tanami Desert, near Tennant Creek township south to approximately 20 km south of Alice Springs, and in southwestern Queensland on the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert. It was found to be locally common around Tilmouth Well (some 180 km NW of Alice Springs) in the Northern Territory and around Mount Robinson in Western Australia, on both occasions after periods of heavy rain. The single record from Queensland was also taken during a period of good rains. Adults have been taken from early January to mid February but their appearance is probably tied to good rainfall during warmer months.

Habitat. Spinifex ( Triodia species   ), where males often call from the stalks of prominent seed heads.


Male (Pl. 3). Available specimens in two main colour forms; those from central Australia, the single male from near Sandstone, W.A., and the single male from south west Queensland are almost entirely black, while those from the Pilbara region of Western Australia are primarily orange (mainly on the abdomen and ventral thorax). A pair from 60 km south of Tennant Creek township are somewhat intermediate. The holotype is almost entirely black   .

Head narrower than lateral angles of pronotal collar; dominantly black; orange or yellowish spot adjacent to pronotum midline, sometimes fused with orange or yellow fascia of pronotum. Postclypeus jet black with complete or incomplete orange to pale yellow ventral margin; occasionally with an orange spot on midline around most anterior portion; transverse ridges and central groove moderately developed. Anteclypeus jet black. Rostrum black, occasionally tending orange or yellow proximally, reaching to or just beyond apices of mid coxae. Antennae black to dark brown. Supra-antennal plates black, sometimes edged orange.

Thorax. Pronotum black, usually with orange or yellowish markings; fascia along midline orange or yellowish, usually extending from head to near pronotal collar; orange or yellowish patch exterior to lateral fissures variable in extent, sometimes also orange or yellowish patch between paramedian and lateral fissures and sometimes also between paramedian fissures excluding midline; pronotal collar between lateral angles black or partially black with posterior margin orange or yellowish, usually mostly orange or yellowish near midline; lateral margin of pronotal collar ampliate. Mesonotum primarily black with orange or yellowish markings; orange or yellowish marking on either side of midline extending from the anterior arms or the cruciform elevation, usually to pronotum between lateral and submedian sigilla, often swollen around mid point but never crossing midline; lower ridge of wing groove orange or yellowish; cruciform elevation black or partly orange or yellowish, if orange, then distal ends of arms black, sometimes midline black. Metanotum black at hind wing base, remainder orange, sometimes black near midline.

Legs. Fore legs black with orange or yellow to varying degrees but with coxae and femora always yellowish or orange at extreme distal end; femora with spines always black; all tarsi usually black, sometimes with hint of orange. Pretarsal claws always black or dark brown apically, sometimes entirely black. Meracanthus black with outer lateral margin edged orange or yellowish.

Wings. Hyaline. Fore wing with fused stem of veins M and CuA not complete, the veins abutted rather than fused as one; venation brown; without infuscations; basal membrane grey to black, sometimes with hints of brown. Hind wing with 5 apical cells; venation brown except for pale yellow 2A; plaga muddy white to grey to pale brown; black infuscation on wing margin at distal end of vein 2A and also often abutting plaga.

Opercula. Reaching a little beyond distal margin of tympanal cavity; medial apices not widely separated but by no means very close; flat other than a low rounded swelling of epimeron 3; orange or black but often a mixture of both.

Timbals with four long ribs spanning the width of timbal membrane and one shorter anterior rib terminating level with upper end of adjacent intercalary rib.

Abdomen. Tending triangular in cross section with epipleurites reflexed inwards from junction with tergites. Dorsally black, orange or yellowish brown. Tergite 1 black with narrow orange or yellow anterior margin; tergites 2–7 black, orange or a mixture of both variable between individuals, but distal margins nearly always narrowly edged yellow or light orange; tergite 8 black with orange or yellowish posterior margin. Sternite I–VIII either orange with black spot around anterior midline or predominantly black with yellow posterior margin.

Genitalia ( Fig. 25 View Figure 25 ). Pygofer upper lobe a rounded flap-like lobe tending to point interiorly. Secondary basal pygofer lobe small, in lateral view broadly rounded, in ventral view parallel-sided and apically rounded. Median lobe of uncus wider than long with a rounded apex with a slight median depression. Claspers short, stumpy, with short conical apices turned strongly outwards. Aedeagus with pseudoparameres about as long as endotheca, slender, flattened in cross section, arched high above endotheca, in dorsal view the distal portion of each flattened and considerably expanded, this flattened section partly divided into two arms, the interior arm short and triangular, the outer arm much longer and sharply pointed. Endotheca nearly straight, nearly parallel sided, circular in cross-section, apex steeply angled backwards on ventral side and with a dorsal fleshy projection that is broadly triangular in shape (somewhat resembling the dorsal fin of a shark).

Female (Pl. 3). Similar to male. Abdominal segment 9 orange or muddy yellow, with a dark brown or black fascia on each side of midline extending distally from the anterior margin but not reaching posterior margin; dorsal beak absent. Ovipositor sheath long, extending some 1.0– 1.5 mm beyond apex of abdomen; dark brown to black.

Measurements. Range and mean (in mm) for 10♂♂ and 10♀♀; includes smallest and largest of available specimens. Length of body: male 15.8–18.4 (17.2); female 15.7–18.3 (17.1). Length of fore wing: male 16.0–18.1 (17.2); female 17.1–20.1 (18.4). Width of fore wing: male 6.0–6.9 (6.5); female 6.5–7.5 (6.9). Ratio length/width of fore wing: male 2.5–2.7 (2.6); female 2.6–2.8 (2.7). Width of head (including eyes): male 4.6–5.3 (4.9); female 4.5–5.3 (5.0). Width of pronotum (across lateral angles): male 4.9–5.6 (5.3); female 5.0–6.0 (5.5).

Distinguishing features

A distinctive species within Pauropsalta   and allied genera (those species with an infuscation on wing margin at the distal end of hind wing vein 2A), the males of which have an abdomen that is clearly wider then the thorax, and a pygofer with a poorly developed caudal beak that is obtuse in dorsal view rather than sharply pointed. Females have a protruding ovipositor sheath but lack a dorsal beak on abdominal segment 9.

Pauropsalta katherina   is closely allied to Pau. sinavilla   from which it differs not only in its substantially black colouring ( Pau. sinavilla   is prominently orange and black), but males have a much less rounded abdomen in cross section being reflexed at the epipleurites while that of Pau. sinavilla   is very rounded in cross section.

The male genitalia have remarkable pseudoparameres that arch high above the endotheca and terminate in front of the endothecal gonopore, a feature shared only with Pau. sinavilla   . The male genitalia clearly differ from those of Pau. sinavilla   in lacking serrations along the apical margin of the pseudoparameres.

Etymology. From the Latin form of the Greek Alkaterine, meaning “pure”, the origin of the English name Katherine, and here used to honour Kathy Hill in recognition of her substantial contribution to Australian cicadas systematics.

Song ( Fig. 25 View Figure 25 ). The song is composed of a series of echemes. Each echeme is less than 1 s in length. Echemes usually occur at a rate of c. 1.4 echemes per second. The song frequency ranges from 2–19 kHz with the dominant frequency occurring between 4 kHz and 11 kHz.


Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences


Laboratory of Palaeontology


Marine Science Museum, Tokai Univ.


Western Australian Museum














Pauropsalta katherina

Owen, Christopher L. & Moulds, Max S. 2016

Pauropsalta kathrina

Owen, C & Marshall, K 2015: 261