Genus Macrotristria Stal, 1870 (Whiners and Cherrynoses)

This is a large and diverse Australian genus currently with 24 distinct species recognised, although two of these (including one illustrated here) will soon be placed into Burbunga (Moulds, in prep.). Most species aggregate in various acacia scrubs, although some more widespread species inhabit eucalypt forests and riverine environments.

Distribution of the genus Macrotristria


Index to Genus Macrotristria

Black Cherrynose Little Whiner Macrotristria sylvanella
Cherrynose Macrotristria angularis Macrotristria sylvara
Coastal Whiner Macrotristria dorsalis Maranoa Cherrynose
Corroboree Cicada Macrotristria godingi Northern Cherrynose
False Cherrynose Macrotristria intersecta Tiger Cherrynose
Green Cherrynose Macrotristria kabikabia Tiger Prince
Green Whiner Macrotristria kulungura  
Green Whizzer Macrotristria maculicollis  

Little Whiner Macrotristria dorsalis Ashton, 1921

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 31-38mm.

Colour: Adults can be either green or yellow. All specimens tend to fade to yellow after death.

Range and Season: Northern Queensland from Princess Charlotte Bay south to Innisfail and west to near Georgetown, with a possible record from further south at Bowen. This species can be encountered from December until March.

Habits: Adults prefer eucalypts growing in many situations, from dry woodlands, to the edges of rainforest. This species aggregates in a similar fashion to other members of the genus

Song: A high-pitched continuous whine, with a lower undertone that fluctuates in pitch and volume in a regular pulsing pattern.

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Coastal Whiner Macrotristria kulungura Burns, 1964

Female

Size: Forewing length: 31-44mm.

Colour: Live adults are green, but this often fades to yellow in dead specimens.

Range and Season: From the islands of the Torres Strait south to Clairview Beach in central Queensland. The main season is from November to May.

Habits: Forests growing on or near the beachfront are inhabited, including rainforest and mangroves. Adults are often scattered throughout an appropriate habitat and are not particularly common.

Song: A loud piercing whine, similar to that of M. dorsalis, but lower in pitch and with a harsh pulsing undertone.

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Green Whiner Macrotristria sylvanella Goding and Froggatt, 1904

Status: Junior synonym of M. intersecta.

Appearance: Only two species in this group, M. sylvanella and M. intersecta, have black bars on the postclypeus ("nose"). M. sylvanella is easily distinguished from M. intersecta by having a plain green thorax (yellow in faded specimens; similar to M. kulungura pictured above).

Size: Forewing length: 31-43mm.

Range and Season: Coastal and subcoastal areas in the wet tropics of north-eastern Queensland. Adults occur from October to March.

Habits: Populations often occur in moister forest, but the species does inhabit most eucalypt forest types.

Song: A strong whine, not as unpleasant as M. kulungura or M. intersecta.

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Corroboree Cicada Macrotristria intersecta (Walker, 1850)

Male

Female

Alternate names: Green Whizzer.

Size: Forewing length: 31-43mm.

Range and season: From the Kimberleys in north-west Western Australia, through the top half of the Northern Territory and into Queensland, where it occurs from the Torres Strait islands and Cape York south to Mt. Isa in the west and the Dawson Highway in the east. Adults are present from September to February.

Colour variants: Varies widely in colour from green to almost reddish orange.

Habits: This species prefers dry open forest, but will occur on the edges of rainforest in some areas. Populations are usually large and cover expansive areas of habitat. Upper branches of trees are favoured as calling sights.

Song: An especially piercing and loud whine, which closely resembles that of M. dorsalis and M. kulungura, but is harsher in tone.

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Green Cherrynose Macrotristria sylvara (Distant, 1901)

Female

Alternative name: Northern Cherrynose.

Size: Forewing length: 48-62mm.

Colour: Live specimens are bright green with yellow markings, but these colours tend to fade in collections.

Range and Season: North Queensland from the islands of the Torres Strait south to Ingham. December to March is the main season.

Habits: Tall trees in open forest, often growing beside watercourses are inhabited, as well as large trees in towns. Populations are usually large, but may be relatively local.

Song: A strong continuous rattling call, interspersed with sequences of fluctuating pulses or revving.

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Tiger Cherrynose Macrotristria godingi Distant, 1907

Male

Female

Alternative name: Tiger Prince.

Size: Forewing length: 46-58mm.

Range and Season: North Queensland from the McLeod River south to about Charters Towers and east to Townsville and Bowen. The season for this species is from November to January.

Habits: Large trees growing along rivers and also smaller trees in more open, dryer habitats are preferred. Populations are usually local and wary widely in size.

Song: Repeated rattling bursts that each last about 1.5 seconds before ending with an abrupt twang. The song is very distinctive and unlike that of any other Queensland Macrotristria spp.

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Cherrynose Macrotristria angularis (Germar, 1834)

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 46-61mm.

Range and Season: It occurs from Cairns south to the Victorian border and west to South Australia near Adelaide. Adults usually emerge in November and may persist up until March or sometimes April.

Habits: This species prefers the upper branches of Eucalyptus spp. and Corymbia spp. growing in dry sclerophyll forest, open forest and temperate heathland with emergent eucalypts. In the inland, eucalypts growing beside rivers are inhabited. Local populations are usually large with individuals aggregating on trees, often with populations of Thopha spp.

Song: A strong whistle, with a broken staccato phase and a continuous phase. Rapid changes in rhythm are a common component of the song. Singing may occur at any time of the day, but always takes place at dusk.

Oscillogram of continuous phase of calling song

Recording of calling song (Stanthorpe, Queensland

Recording of calling song (Sydney, New South Wales)

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Maranoa Cherrynose Macrotristria sp. nov.

Appearance: A large cherrynose with darkened wing venation. Co oration is similar to M. godingi, but has more black around the head and pronotum.

Size: Forewing length: 46-62mm.

Range and Season: Restricted to Carnarvon National Park in inland Queensland. December to January.

Habits: Adults occur high up in eucalypts and angophoras.

Song: A strong penetrating whine.

Recording of calling song

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False Cherrynose Macrotristria maculicollis Ashton, 1914

Appearance: Somewhat resembles M. angularis, but with different markings on the thorax, including four yellow bars on the pronotal collar.

Size: Forewing length: 45-52mm.

Range and Season: Inland eastern Australia from the Connors River south to Goondiwindi and east to Millmerran in Queensland and further south to the Pilliga Scrub near Narrabri in New South Wales. This species has been observed from November to March.

Habits: Inhabits mostly eucalypts associated with the brigalow belt in south-east Queensland and dry eucalypt forest in New South Wales. It tends to go unnoticed in populations of other Macrotristria spp.

Song: A coarse whine or whistle, often obscured to human ears by the songs of other large cicada species.

Recording of calling song

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Black Cherrynose Macrotristria kabikabia Burns, 1964

Appearance: Somewhat similar to M. maculicollis in general appearance; however, this species is much darker and has very dull markings on the thorax.

Size: 42-52mm.

Range and Season: Inland southern Queensland from Edungalba west to Idalia National Park and south to St. George and Cunnamulla. Adults have been collected from December to February.

Habits: Populations mostly inhabit acacia scrubs, but can also occur in other tree communities, such as cypress and eucalypt forest/woodland. It is not often encountered and may only emerge every few seasons.

Song: A long coarse buzz, similar to the call of a Burbunga spp., but louder.

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Species from elsewhere in Australia

Darwin Whiner Macrotristria doddi Ashton, 1921

Male

(Restricted to Darwin, Northern Territory)


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