Genus Cystosoma Westwood, 1842 (Bladder Cicadas)

This genus contains two described species and one undescribed species endemic to eastern Australia. The males have hugely inflated abdomens and adults always have green forewings. All species only sing at dusk.

Distribution of the genus Cystosoma


Index to Genus Cystosoma

Bladder Cicada Cystosoma schmeltzi Small Bladder Cicada
Chanting Bladder Cicada Cystosoma sp. nr schmeltzi
Cystosoma saundersii Lesser Bladder Cicada

Bladder Cicada Cystosoma saundersii Westwood, 1842

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 38-51mm.

Colour: Adults are entirely dark green in life.

Range and Season: Known from the Atherton Tableland and around Mackay in Tropical Queensland, from Carnarvon National Park in inland Queensland and coastally and subcoastally south from Kroombit Tops in central Queensland to Sydney in New South Wales. Adults are present from August to May.

Habits: Specimens in habit leafy rainforest trees and are most abundant near rivers and creeks. Populations have also adapted to the introduced Lantana, on which they can sometimes be very common. Singing males are difficult to locate due to their cryptic coloration, even though most can be found within easy reach. They also come in to light.

Song: A very low pitched, guttural growl. The song is not completely continuous and has momentary pauses. Singing occurs at dusk and early after nightfall.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Small Bladder Cicada Cystosoma schmeltzi

Male

Female

Alternative name: Lesser Bladder Cicada

Size: Forewing length: 26-36mm.

Range and Season: Known from populations around Mossman, near Mt. Garnet and from Townsville coastally south to Rockhampton and in the inland through Emerald, Springsure, Mitchell, Chinchilla, Millmerran and Crows Nest south to Stanthorpe in Queensland and further to Gunnedah in New South Wales. It occurs from September to March.

Habits: Small trees and shrubs throughout the inland and especially around rural towns. Moulds (1990) notes that it occurs in hamil grass in northern Queensland. Adults are not wary and are easy to observe and handle.

Song: A broken rattle, similar to the call of the Bladder Cicada, but emitted at a higher pitch. Singing occurs only at dusk.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Chanting Bladder Cicada Cystosoma sp. nr schmeltzi

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length:  26-36mm.

Range and Season: So far only known from the Expedition Range National Park, from near Theodore, Cania Gorge north of Monto and near Eidsvold in inland Queensland.

Habits: Populations occur very locally in groups of trees. Its behaviour is very similar to the Small Bladder Cicada.

Song: Very different to the call of C. schmeltzi, although it is produced at a similar frequency. The song is a rich chanting series of pulses "ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch" emitted monotonously by singing males in unison at dusk.

Recording of calling song

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