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Cicada Facts

Size 0.4-4.3 in (1-11 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight Unknown
Lifespan 13-17 years (Singing cicada Magicicada)
Food Sap of plants and trees
Predators Mantis, digger wasp
Habitat Worldwide
Order Hemiptera
Suborder Cicada
Scientific name Auchenorrhyncha
Characteristics Very loud insect

Main Characteristics

There exist more than 45,000 cicada species and they greatly vary in their physical appearance – for instance beautiful and multicolored cicadellinae, treehoppers with their knobbly pronotum and loudly chirping singing cicadas.

Cicada Cicada - Photo: Elliotte Rusty Harold/Shutterstock


What Do Cicadas Eat?

Cicadas feed on the sap of plants. They simply stick their proboscis into a plant like a straw and “drink” from it. Very useful!



Why Do Cicadas Sing?

They do it to attract females or to point out the borders of their territories.

Cicada Cicada - Photo: boyphare/Shutterstock


Where Do Cicadas Live?

Basically everywhere in the world except in the Arctics and Antarctic regions. There it is simply too cold for them and they do not find any food. Cicadas such as the meadow froghopper also live in Europe, but the chirping singing cicadas can only be found in Africa.

Anatomy and Appearance

The Biggest Cicada

The body of the Empress cicada is 2.7-4.3 inch (7-11 cm) long and has a wingspan of 7-7.8 inch (18-20 cm). Thus, it is the largest cicada of the world.

The Smallest Cicada

The smallest cicadas include the leafhoppers and the delphacidae with a body length of just 0.07 inch (2 mm).


Cicada Cicada - Photo: Rene Bechard/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

The Cicada Is the Loudest Insect

The chirping of African singing cicadas can reach up to 106.7 decibel and can be heard at distances of several hundred kilometers. Mostly it sounds a bit like a broken power supply line.

The Cicada Is the Highest Jumping Insect

The meadow froghopper can jump up to 27.5 inch (70 cm) high. It holds the high jump record among all insects.

Cicada Cicada - Photo: Ogrim/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

Which Are the Enenmies of the Cicada?

Cicadas are preyed upon by other insects. But the don't just have natural enemies. Cicadas are considered as delicious food in Australia, Thailand, Japan, China, Burma, Africa, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.


Singing Cicadas Reproduce Every 13 or 17 years

Singing cicadas only mate every 13 or 17 years. For quite a long time scientists did not know the reason for this. Why 13, why 17 years? Well, most of the singing cicada’s enemies mate in intervals of two, three or six years. If cicadas had the same cycle, too many of them would fall prey to hungry young animals. The cycle of 13 or 17 years significantly increases their chances to survive.


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