Genus Pauropsalta Goding and Froggatt, 1904 (Squeakers, Bark-buzzer and Tree-buzzer)

This is a large genus of highly mobile and wary Australian cicadas (one species also occurs in Papua New Guinea). It has been partially revised by Ewart (1989) and still requires more work. The group has a few characteristic features including the infuscation in the hindwing beside the plaga and modified, enlarged pygophore lobes that resemble a pair of blinkers (Moulds, 1990). The hindwings normally have 5 apical cells. Songs are often complex, with two rhythmic components and usually low-pitched. Many species are very difficult to differentiate morphologically. Calling songs are diagnostic.

Distribution of the genus Pauropsalta within Australia


Index to Genus Pauropsalta

Alarm Clock Squeaker Mt Moffatt Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr fuscata
Bark Squeaker Northern Sandstone Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr rubea
Beach Squeaker Paperbark Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr siccanus
Black Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta aktites Pauropsalta virgulatus
Black Squeaker Pauropsalta annulata Pauropsalta vitellinus
Burnett Red-eyed Squeaker Pauropsalta annulata species complex Poplar Box Squeaker
Bronze Bark-buzzer Pauropsalta aquilus Red Squeaker
Bulloak Squeaker Pauropsalta ayrensis Rose Gum Squeaker
Callitris Squeaker Pauropsalta basalis Sandstone Squeaker
Channel Country Squeaker Pauropsalta circumdata Small Bark Squeaker
Deniliquin Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta collina Small Black Squeaker
Dusty Squeaker Pauropsalta collina species complex Small Maraca Squeaker
Ephemeral Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus Sooty Squeaker
Fairy Dust Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus species complex South-western Bark Squeaker
Flooded Gum Squeaker Pauropsalta encaustica Southern Bark Squeaker
Great Montane Squeaker Pauropsalta eyrei Southern Mountain Squeaker
Granite Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata Southern Red-eyed Squeaker
Gurulmundi Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica species complex Sprinkler Squeaker
Inland Bark-buzzer Pauropsalta infrasila Static Squeaker
Inland Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta mneme Striped Squeaker
Inland Red Squeaker Pauropsalta nigristriga Ticker
Inland Small Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta opacus Tropical Orange Squeaker
Inland Sprinkler Squeaker Pauropsalta rubea Wallum Bark Squeaker
Kempsey Squeaker Pauropsalta rubristrigata Western Slopes Squeaker
Maraca Squeaker Pauropsalta siccanus Yellow Squeaker
Montane Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. A Yellow Tree-buzzer
Montane Grass Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr circumdata  

Alarm Clock Squeaker Pauropsalta mneme (Walker, 1850)

Male

Female

Alternative name: Ticker.

Size: Forewing length: 20-26mm.

Range and Season: From south of Stanthorpe in Queensland, on and east of the Great Dividing Range through New South Wales and the A.C.T. into most of Victoria. It can be found from September to January.

Habits: This species occurs in open eucalypt forest and temperate heathland, where it may be common at times. It is often encountered in forested areas around Sydney. Adults are exceptionally wary and difficult to observe. It is one of the most mobile cicadas in eastern Australia. Males prefer to sit on the main trunks of eucalypts and females are usually found in small shrubs.

Song: A complex set of buzzing and ticking phrases that can even be produced when flying between vantage points. It sounds something like "ritter-ditter-dit-derrr ditit-ditit-ditit-ditit-ditit-ditit ritter-ditter-dit-derrr ditit-ditit" etc and is uttered at a fast rate and at a fairly low frequency.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Tropical Orange Squeaker Pauropsalta infrasila Moulds, 1987

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 23-31mm.

Range and Season: From the tip of Cape York through Weipa east to Cooktown and south to near Georgetown in Northern Queensland. There is also an isolated population on the Blackdown Tableland in central Queensland. Specimens have been collected from October to May.

Habits: This species occurs in open woodland and savannah where adults perch on the main trunks of eucalypts. Populations vary in size and abundance. Like most members of the genus, adults are wary and difficult to capture.

Song: Short, repetitive phrases.

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Fairy Dust Squeaker Pauropsalta opacus Ewart, 1989

Male

Size: Forewing length: 24-29mm.

Range and Season: Known from the Atherton Tableland region, from Tinaroo north to Mt Carbine, and from Paluma, north-eastern Queensland. Adults occur from November to March.

Habits: This species usually occurs in eucalypt forest, where adults tend to perch high up on ironbarks. Males sing during periods of sunshine.

Song: Complex with two components. The first component consists of a fluttering phrase that is interrupted by a 4-5 second continuous buzzing phrase every 8-15 seconds. The second component also has a fluttering phrase, but it is interspersed by a sharp "zip" and a brief pause regularly every few seconds.

Recording of calling song

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Yellow Squeaker Pauropsalta vitellinus Ewart, 1989

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 21-26mm.

Range and Season: Widespread throughout Queensland from Cardwell west to Cloncurry and south to Lemon Tree near Millmerran and Beardmore Dam via St George. It occurs from November to February.

Habits: Populations occur in eucalypts along inland rivers and on the tops of ridges. It can be a common species that is difficult to observe due to its habit of preferring the upper limbs of trees, although it is attracted to light.

Song: Sharp repetitive double chirps slightly similar to the call of Gudanga adamsi.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Striped Squeaker Pauropsalta virgulatus Ewart, 1989

Male

Size: Forewing length: 17-22mm.

Range and Season: Queensland, from Mt. Carbine south to the Paluma Range and Mt. Garnet in the north, with other populations near Glenden, at the Blackdown Tableland and on Fraser Island. November to April

Habits: Adults prefer the lower trunks of eucalypts growing in dry open forest. It occasionally occurs at the edge of rainforest.

Song: Two phases: 1. a fast series of short chirps and 2. chirps interspersed by sharp buzzing phrases.

Recording of phase 1 of calling song

Recording of phase 2 of calling song

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Dusty Squeaker Pauropsalta nigristriga Goding and Froggatt, 1904

Appearance: Head and thorax dark with orange markings. The Abdomen is orange with short black bars on the dorsal surface of the tergites. Tergites 2 and 8 are largely black. Very similar to P. infrasila, but Female ovipositor always extends more than 2mm from the tip of the abdomen.

Size: Forewing length: 21-26mm.

Range and Season: From Weipa, through Cooktown, Cairns and the Atherton Tableland, south to beyond Townsville. It occurs from December to April.

Habits: Adults occur on the trunks of eucalypts in dry sclerophyll forest, woodland, savannah and rural areas. It is generally uncommon, but widespread throughout a suitable habitat.

Song: Monotonously repeated "zeeeeeep" phrases. Each phrase lasts about 1.5 seconds.

Recording of calling song

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Great Montane Squeaker Pauropsalta rubristrigata (Goding and Froggatt, 1904)

Male

Female

Appearance: This species is very similar to P. circumdata, but can be distinguished by its broader wings, which are only 2.5 times longer than wide. The wings of P. circumdata are three times longer than wide (Moulds, 1990).

Size: Forewing length: 26-28mm.

Range and Season: In Queensland it has been recorded only from Expedition Range National Park and nearby Isla Gorge National Park and in New South Wales it is known from near Tenterfield and at Gibraltar Range National Park near Glen Innes in the north and from the Cooma district in the south. In also occurs in Victoria from the Gippsland Lakes to Melbourne and around Adelaide in South Australia. It is known to occur from November to February.

Habits: Populations occur in open eucalypt forest on the edges of ridges and near watercourses. It is a locally common species that prefers the trunks and larger branches of myrtaceous species. In the south the species often occurs lower down and is relatively easy to observe, but in the northern areas of its range this species often sits high up on large gums, where it may be overlooked.

Song: A strong, low frequency series of rapid phrases that slow down and become double phrases before the song burst ends. The major singing period is in the late afternoon and at dusk.

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Bronze Bark-buzzer Pauropsalta circumdata (Walker, 1852)

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 22-28mm.

Range and Season: From Sydney, coastally north to Kroombit Tops in south-east Queensland and also the Blackdown Tableland, Auburn River National Park and Carnarvon Gorge region in inland Queensland. It occurs throughout Greater Brisbane, including the Lockyer Valley, from late September until sometimes as late as June.

Habits: Males usually sing whilst perched high up on tall eucalypts. The peak singing periods are mid morning and late afternoon. Females are found on shrubs and small eucalypts lower down. This species tends to be fairly sedentary unless disturbed.

Song: A pronounced zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzziiip, which rises in amplitude, but only lasts for a few seconds. This is repeated regularly. Individuals do not sing in unison.

Recording of calling song (Brisbane Queensland)

Recording of calling song (Goombungee Queensland)

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Inland Bark-buzzer Pauropsalta sp. nr circumdata

Appearance: Closely similar to P. circumdata. Only differs in the length of the female ovipositor, which is much longer in the Inland Bark-buzzer.

Size: Forewing length: 22-28mm.

Range and Season: From the Carnarvon National Park (C. Eddie) east to the Mundubbera district, southern Queensland.

Habits: Populations are found in open forest in sub-humid areas. Adults sit on the upper limbs and branches of eucalypts.

Song: A short zziiip, repeated regularly.

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Red Squeaker Pauropsalta rubea

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 16-21mm.

Range and Season: Occurs coastally and subcoastally from north Queensland south to the Royal National Park, Sydney. This is a widespread species in Greater Brisbane, including the Islands. In the inland, populations occur along the Great Dividing Range. Adults occur from September until about April.

Habits: Prefers to perch fairly high up on eucalypts in wet and dry sclerophyll forests and also in heathland. It tends to be a rather wary species at most times of the day. Populations reach higher levels of abundance on coastal islands than on the mainland.

Song: Monotonously repeated: dit-derr, dit-derr, dit-derr or dit-dit-derr, dit-dit-derr or dit-dit-dit-derr dit-dit-dit-derr (on some coastal islands). It is most noticeable in the late afternoon.

Oscillogram of calling song 1

Recording of calling song 1

Oscillogram of calling song 2

Recording of calling song 2

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Inland Red Squeaker Pauropsalta rubea?

Appearance: Resembles P. rubea, but is slightly larger and has a much darker, contrasting thorax; wing costa has a deep red colour.

Size: Forewing length: 19-23mm.

Range and Season: Occurs in the dryer parts of the Queensland tropics, including the western side of the Atherton Tableland south into central and southern inland Queensland including Belyando Crossing, Blackdown Tableland, Mt Moffatt, Miles, Binjour west of Gayndah, Mt French near Brisbane and also Mt. Kaputar in New South Wales. Adults emerge in September and persist until at least late summer.

Habits: This species is often found around dry ridges and gorges in semi-arid country, where eucalypt forests occur. It is rarely observed but will come in to light traps.

Song: Almost indistinguishable from P. rubea, though slightly shorter, and with a coarse tonal quality. The specific status of the two populations requires investigation.

Recording of calling song

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Rose Gum Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nov.

Alernative Common Name: Flooded Gum Squeaker.

Appearance: Similar to P. rubea, though darker and often larger; markings and wing costal region coloured ochre rather than red.

Size: Fore wing length: 18-22mm.

Range and Season: South-eastern Queensland to far north-eastern New South Wales. Localities include the Blackbutt Range (northern limit), the Landsborough-Beerwah area (Sunshine Coast), Mt Mee, throughout Brisbane Forest Park (including Mts Glorious and Nebo), Mt Tamborine and the Border Ranges National Park. Late September to March.

Habits: Occurs in tall open forest and wet sclerophyll forest, most often in association with Eucalyptus grandis and possibly E. saligna. Adults sit on the main trunk of these smooth-barked eucalypts, often high up, where they tend to remain static.

Song: A soft continuous hiss, occasionally interrupted by a sharp tick in mid-song.

Recording of calling song


Beach Squeaker Pauropsalta aktites Ewart, 1989

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 14-17mm.

Range and Season: Found from Great Keppel Island, central Queensland, south to Congo on the New South Wales coast. Adults occur from September to May.

Habits: This species usually occurs within 50m of the beach and is common, especially on Beach Sheoak (Casuarina equisetifolia). It is sometimes found on dune grasses. Adults are highly mobile and wary.

Song: Similar to P. rubea, but more drawn-out and metallic: "Dit-derrrrrrrrrrrrr; dit-derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr; dititit-derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" etc.

Oscillogram showing two phrases of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Sooty Squeaker Pauropsalta aquilus Ewart, 1989

Male

Size: Forewing length: 16-19mm.

Range and Season: From near Greenvale in central Queensland, through Carnarvon National Park near Injune and the Taroom and Eidsvold districts south to Miles, Chinchilla, Lake Broadwater and Esk. It also occurs on the coast from Curtis Island near Gladstone south to Cooloola. Adults are present from September to February.

Habits: This is a locally common species. Populations are always found in the near vicinity of water in areas of open forest. Adults can be found at any height on the main trunk of eucalypts. It is a wary insect that is hard to observe.

Song: Similar to P. rubea, but faster and more slurred: "dit-dyerr dit-dyerr dit-dyerr dit-dyerr" etc.

Recording of calling song

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Bulloak Squeaker Pauropsalta siccanus Ewart, 1989

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 15-17mm.

Range and Season: Collected at Augathella, Wyseby, Miles and near Glenmorgan in Queensland. It occurs from December to February.

Habits: This is a wary species that prefers woodlands dominated by Bulloak (Allocasuarina leuhmannii), but also occurs on Callitris spp. Males usually sit on the main trunks. Females oviposit on the outer branches.

Song: Sharp clear phrases, repeated monotonously.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Callitris Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr siccanus

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 15-17mm.

Range and Season: Known from near St. George, Mitchell, Lake Broadwater via Dalby, Leyburn and near Inglewood in southern Queensland and from near Narrabri in northern New South Wales. Adults have been observed from December to February.

Habits: This is a fairly static cicada that prefers Callitris trees growing in open woodland.

Song: A distinctive "ratatatatatatatat" like the burst of an automatic weapon. There may be a few seconds gap between phrases. Singing is most obvious in the late afternoon and on overcast days.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Pauropsalta corticinus complex

A group of small-medium sized Pauropsalta cicadas that are mobile and generally occur on the main trunks of eucalypts. They are distinguished by possessing rounded pygophore lobes in the male genitalia (c.f. the similar P. fuscata/encaustica complex) and a slightly trumpet-shaped adeagus. They differ from the P. annulata complex by their overall dusky appearance. Each of the known song types is near identical in morphology. Many represent different species, but a number are unresolved. All require comprehensive investigation.


Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus Ewart, 1989

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 16-19mm.

Range and Season: This species occurs coastally from Mt. Morgan in central Queensland south to the border. It only occurs west of the Great Dividing Range in the Toowoomba district and occurs sympatrically with the Montane Bark Squeaker at Oakey, near Pittsworth and at Auburn River National Park south-west of Mundubbera. Adults are present from from September to April.

Habits: This species occurs in open eucalypt forest, usually where Eucalyptus tereticornis is present or where ironbark species occur (e.g. E. crebra). Adults are wary and prefer the main trunks of trees.

Song: A distinctive, drunken march: "dit dit dit dit dit... dit-dit-derrrrr, dit dit dit dit dit dit-derrrrr, dit dit dit dit dit dit-dit derrrrrr" etc. Singing can occur at any time of the day.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Montane Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus complex

Male

Female

Appearance: Bulkier and often larger than P. corticinus; thorax often conspicuously covered with a thin coat of hair.

Size: Forewing length: 16-20mm.

Range and Season: From Mt Moffatt, Carnarvon Gorge, Expedition Range National Park and Auburn River National Park in central Queensland, south through Oakey, Pittsworth, Warwick, Killarney and Stanthorpe in south-east Queensland to the Gibraltar Range, near Glen Innes in northern New South Wales. It is absent from the main range escarpment around Toowoomba and Cunningham’s Gap, but has been recorded east of the divide on a ridge south of Gatton and on the lower slopes of Mt Barney. Adults are known to occur in December and January.

Habits: This species prefers to sit on the trunks of eucalypts in montane forests. Adults occasionally can be found in grass. Populations are local and individuals are wary.

Song: A loud, strident, regimental march: "ziit, ziit, ziit, zerrrrrrrrr; ziit, ziit, ziit, ziit zerrrrrrrr" etc. Singing occurs during periods of sunshine.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Inland Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus complex

Male

Female

Alernative Common Name: Black Bark Squeaker.

Appearance: Similar to other Bark Squeaker species, but quite dark compared to its siblings in Queensland. Specimens have a small amount of hair on the thorax.

Size: Forewing length: 16-20mm.

Range and Season: Restricted to inland south-east Queensland from west of Warwick to the Goondiwindi district. September to March.

Habits: Adults perch low down on tree trunks and in grass in dry open forest growing on loams and sandy loams. It is a locally common species.

Song: The most erratic of the group. It begins with a series of long versus short pulses before altering to a more typical "zit zit zit zit zit zit zerr, zit zit zit zit zit zit zerr" song pattern.

Oscillogram of calling song - near Durikai

Recording of calling song - near Durikai west of Warwick

Recording of calling song - Glenlyon Dam via Texas

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Border Ranges Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus complex

Alternative common names: Kempsey Squeaker.

Appearance: Closely resembles P. corticinus.

Size: Forewing length: 16-19mm.

Range and Season: Known from near Killarney in south-east Queensland and south through Legume, Woodenbong, the Border Ranges National Park and the Casino district to Kempsey and further to the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales. November to February.

Song: Similar to P. corticinus, but regular, increasing and decreasing in pulse repetition rate during each phrase: "dit-dit-derrrrr-didididididi-di-dit-dit dit dit dit dit-dit-derrrrrr..." or "dit dit dit dit dididididididi dit dit dit dit didididididi dit..." etc.

Recording of calling song


Gurulmundi Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus complex

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 15-17mm.

Range and Season: Known only from Gurulmundi State Forest north of Miles, Queensland. Occurs from September until, at least, December.

Habits: Males are mobile and prefer to sit on the trunks of trees and sometimes on burnt timber in open forest. Females are often found on heath shrubs. It can be a locally common species.

Song: Sharp clicks and occasionally double-clicks, uttered in a similar fashion to the song of P. siccanus, but slightly faster.

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Southern Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus complex

Appearance: Large and black. Very similar to the Black Bark Squeaker.

Size: Forewing length: 16-19mm.

Range and Season: A wide-ranging species in southern New South Wales, from the western Sydney area and the Capertee Valley (V. Powys) north-west to Nyngan in central New South Wales and south-west to Mildura (D. Emery) on the Victorian border. It occurs from September to March.

Habits: Populations occur in dry eucalypt forest and riverine woodland on grey alluvial soils, where numbers may be plentiful. It occurs on Eucalyptus fibrosa, E. crebra and occasionally on E. mollucana in western Sydney. Further inland it also occurs on eucalypts, including E. camaldulensis. General behaviour is similar to other P. corticinus sibling species.

Song: Two components are known. The first is vaguely similar to typical P. corticinus, but it is much faster: "dididi-di-dyerrrrrr, dididi-didyerrrrr". The second component is similar to the song of the Sooty Squeaker P. aquilus: "dit-dyerr dit-dyerr dit-dyerr dit-dyerr". Components may interchange at any time.

Recording of calling song

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Deniliquin Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta corticinus complex

Appearance: Appears identical to the Southern Bark Squeaker.

Size: Forewing length: 16-19mm.

Range and Season: Known only from the Edward River, Deniliquin, southern New South Wales. Recorded in December.

Habits: Populations occur in riverine eucalypt woodland.

Song: Similar to other members of its group in its frequency components, but very different in structure. It comprises a series of of staccato chirps with regular pauses. The overall pattern forms a pleasant repetitive rhythmic motif.

Recording of calling song

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Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

A large and diverse group of small, gracile cicadas. They are characterised by their overall dusky appearance and by having five complete ribs in the male timbal (i.e. the fifth rib extends across the timbal). The males also possess hooked pygophore lobes as well as a simple adeagus (i.e. not trumpet-shaped) in the genitalia. Each of the song types illustrated here are morphologically identical, except for some differences in coloration, especially in the male genitalia, which is often black in the northern populations and sandy-brown in the more southern populations (similar to P. collina). The pale genitalia is broadly used to represent that close to P. encaustica and the dark genitalia is regarded to be closer to P. fuscata. However in some taxa, including P. encaustica itself, this phenotypic difference is present between populations that produce the same song. Many of these song types will most likely represent different species, but at present they are little known and require rigorous investigation.


Small Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata Ewart, 1989

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 15-18mm.

Range and Season: Coastally and subcoastally from northern Sydney in New South Wales to Kroombit Tops in Queensland. It also occurs on the north-western slopes of New South Wales at Mt. Kaputar. It is fairly common, but somewhat patchy in Greater Brisbane, with population numbers varying greatly throughout the region. Restricted to the Hawkesbury Sandstone region in Greater Sydney. It occurs from very early in September until about April, with very low numbers persisting after January.

Habits: Occurs in open forest and in wallum, montane and coastal warm temperate heathland. Often perches low down on eucalypt trunks and especially on burnt branches where it can be very cryptic. This species is extremely mobile and wary and is superficially very similar to the slightly larger Bark Squeaker, P. corticinus.

Song: A thin, fairly high-pitched, hiss-like zssiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, lasting up to two seconds, often repeated. Singing can occur at any time during the day, but will cease at the first sign of disturbance. The song is considerably shorter from the Sydney area north to Gibraltar Range and possibly to the Border Ranges National Park in New South Wales. The calling song has not yet been recorded from Mt Kaputar.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song (Brisbane, Queensland)

Recording of calling song (Gosford, New South Wales)

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Wallum Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 15-17mm.

Range and Season: A coastal Queensland insect, from Woodgate National Park near Bundaberg, south to the Noosa River, with an isolated population on Moreton Island. It is present from September to April.

Habits: Males prefer to sing from burnt stumps in the drier forests associated with coastal wallum. Females inhabit heath vegetation. Adults are wary and difficult to observe.

Song: Quick "tseeep" phrases periodically interspersed with a broken phrase that sounds similar to a cicada distress call. Observations have shown that this broken phrase is a typical component of the species' song throughout its range. Singing occurs in bright sunshine.

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Oscillogram showing a single phrase of calling song

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song


Inland Small Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

Appearance: Superficially resembles a large P. fuscata.

Size: Forewing length: 16-18mm.

Range and Season: Occurs on the central tablelands of Queensland including the Blackdown Tableland, Carnarvon Gorge and Mt Moffatt. Observed from December to January. Probably present from late September to early February.

Habits: Adults occur in grassy open forest, often near rocky outcrops or where large boulders are present.

Song: Closely similar to P. fuscata, but considerably longer, lasting at least 4 seconds.

Recording of calling song

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Mt Moffatt Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

Appearance: Superficially resembles P. fuscata.

Size: Forewing length: 15-17mm.

Range and Season: Known only from the southern end of the Mt Moffatt section, Carnarvon National Park. Recorded in January.

Habits: The only known population is found in open forest, with rocky outcrops and intruding boulders. Adults are found on eucalypts growing on the flats, away from the riverbeds and on the steep rocky outcrops.

Song: A strongly structured phrase, repeated continuously.

 

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Northern Sandstone Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

Male

Size: Forewing length: 15-18mm.

Range and Season: Known from sandstone ridges in the Isla Gorge region of central Queensland. It has been observed in December.

Habits: Found in open stringybark forest where adults normally occur on the upper trunks. Occasionally singing males were located lower down on sheoaks growing at the top of the ridge. This is a highly mobile species.

Song: Surprisingly high-pitched for a member of this genus. It comprises of a repetitive "tzeeeeeep tzeeeeep" with a noticeable upward inflection, uttered in flight and whilst stationary.

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Montane Grass Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

Male

Size: Forewing length: 15-17mm.

Appearance: Has distinct red-brown markings in the middle and along the sides of the thorax. Near Kyogle the male genitalia is dark, further south it is sandy-brown.

Range and Season: Known from the Gibraltar Range near Glen Innes and from Toonumbar near Kyogle in northern New South Wales. Adults have been collected in January.

Habits: Found locally in grass growing in open forest on fertile soils. Adults are quite mobile and difficult to observe.

Song: High-pitched "zeeeeeet" phrases that sounds closely similar to the song of P. fuscata from the Gosford area. Requires investigation.

Oscillogram showing a single phrase of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Black Squeaker Pauropsalta encaustica (Germar, 1834)

Male

Size: Forewing length: 15-19mm.

Range and Season: Three populations are known: (1) from the elevated areas around Crows Nest, Toowoomba, Mt Mee, Mt Glorious and near Gatton in south-east Queensland, (2) from the Warrumbungles and Pilliga Scrub via Coonabarabran in central New South Wales, and (3) from the Blue Moutains, Nattai (D. Emery) and the Royal National Park in New South Wales. Adults occur from September to March.

Habits: Adults are highly mobile and locally common in open forest, montane heath and coastal warm temperate heathland. They prefer to sit on the trunks of eucalypts, including both smooth-barked and rough-barked species. Sometimes burnt trees are used as a singing perch. Often occurs with Pauropsalta mneme in New South Wales.

Song: Fairly high-pitched, with two song components. The first component consists of rapid, repetitive "sip" phrases. The second component is similar but the phrases are drawn out to about three times the length of those in the previous component. Singing occurs in bright sunshine.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Southern Mountain Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

Appearance: Similar to the Black Squeaker, but with slightly more obvious reddish markings.

Size: Forewing length: 15-19mm.

Range and Season: Known from Mt. Ainslie in the A.C.T (D. Emery), near Mt Gambier in south-east South Australia (B. Haywood) and from Tasmania (Moss, 1989). This is the only Pauropsalta that occurs in Tasmania. On the mainland it is probably more widespread than the records suggest. Adults occur from November to January.

Habits: Adults occur in cool temperate eucalypt forests where they are often moderately plentiful. Adults sit low down on the Sunny side of eucalypt trees when the temperature drops late in the day to catch the afternoon sun (D. Emery).

Song: Two main phrase types. The first phrase resembles the call of Cicadetta hackeri. The second part of the song consists of rapid ticking occasionally interspersed with artefacts. The two phrase types can occur in the same phase or separately as repetitive phrases depending on the cycle of each individual male's song. Singing occurs during periods of sunshine when the temperature rises above 14°C.

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Western Slopes Squeaker Pauropsalta fuscata/encaustica complex

Appearance: Like a larger version of P. encaustica with brighter abdominal and thoracic markings.

Size: Forewing length: 18-21mm.

Range and Season: Found along the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range throughout central New South Wales. Adults have been collected in mid-summer.

Habits: Often occurs on the upper parts of eucalypts in open forest. It tends to be less mobile than other members of the genus.

Song: I am not familiar with the call of this insect.

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Pauropsalta collina species complex

Two song types are known in this group. They are morphologically identical and differ from the P. fuscata/encaustica species complex only by the broken fifth timbal rib (which spans across the tymbal in P. fuscata and its relatives). Records suggest that the two overlap in distribution, but this needs to be clarified. Their status remains unresolved pending further investigation.


Granite Squeaker Pauropsalta collina Ewart, 1989

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 16-19mm.

Range and Season: From the Chinchilla, Dalby and Leyburn districts in Queensland south through the Granite Belt to the New England area around Tenterfield. It is present from September to March.

Habits: This is a widespread species through open forest and woodland found on granite or associated sandstone soils. Adults are wary and will fly at the first sign of disturbance. Males are found sitting in the tops of shrubs, on the trunks of eucalypt trees or on burnt timber. Females tend to reside low down on shrubs.

Song: A complex, ventriloquial song that begins with a series of high-pitched phrases "seep-seep-seep-seep" etc. and then a new lower pitched phrase is emitted like a "twang" after every one to two high frequency phrases; "seep-seep-twang, seep-seep-twang" or "seep-twang, seep-twang". At a distance only the loud, low frequency twang phrase is audible.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Sandstone Squeaker Pauropsalta collina complex

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 16-19mm.

Range and Season: New South Wales, along the Great Dividing Range south from Sandy Flat (near Tenterfield) and the Gibraltar Range to the Sydney area, including Castlereagh and Silverdale (D. Emery). Adults occur from September to at least January.

Habits: Prefers dark eucalypts (including Broad-leaved Red Ironbark Eucalyptus fibrosa) in the lowlands and stringybarks growing in open forest, temperate woodland and montane heathland. Adults are very mobile and difficult to track down. Females are often found low down on heath vegetation. This species often occurs with Pauropsalta mneme.

Song: Fast, syncopated ticking that is bitonal, giving it a ventriloquial quality. Singing occurs during periods of bright sunshine.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Channel Country Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. A. (in Ewart and Popple, 2001)

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 17-20mm.

Range and Season: This species has a wide range along the river systems of the western drainage system in south-west Queensland, including Adavale and Quilpie. It occurs from November to at least February.

Habits: This species can become locally abundant in eucalypts along the major river systems during mid-summer. It is a wary insect that is difficult to observe, but it is strongly attracted to light.

Song: Short, repetitive pulses produced at a fairly low frequency.

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Pauropsalta annulata species complex

A group of mobile, foliage dwelling insects. They are characterised by rounded (not hooked) pygophore lobes and a trumpet-shaped adeagus in the male genitalia (similar to the P. corticinus complex), yellowish annular rings around the abdomen and often reddish (occasionally white) coloured eyes. Recent work on the group (in prep.) demonstrates that many are distinct species. Some have yet to be resolved.


Sprinkler Squeaker Pauropsalta annulata Goding and Froggatt, 1904

Male - dorsal/ventral/live

Female

Appearance: Males with red or white eyes. Underside of abdomen varies from yellow with a black midline fascia to almost black. Females may be black or reddish-brown with either red or brown eyes. Ovipositor extends to less than 1mm beyond the tip of the abdomen.

Size: Forewing length: 15-18mm.

Colour: Eyes red or sometimes white in life.

Range and Season: From near Schute Harbour, the Boomer Range and Blackdown Tableland in central Queensland, then south from Monto, Eidsvold and Bundaberg to at least Southport, including Biggenden, Gayndah, Gunalda Range, Mt. Mee, Crows Nest, Toowoomba, Pittsworth, Beaudesert, Maroon Dam and Boonah. It is a common species in north-east, south-east and south-west Brisbane with records also from Mt. Crosby and Enoggera Reservoir in the north-west. There is a single record from New South Wales near Kyogle. Adults occur from September to March (or sometimes even to as late as May).

Habits: This species inhabits patches of acacias and dry sclerophyll forests, especially where Eucalyptus tereticornis and Eucalyptus crebra are both present. Sheoaks such as Casuarina glauca and Allocasuarina littoralis are inhabited in some lowland areas. It will also occur in suburban parklands where it can be found on most trees and tall shrubs.

Song: The male's calling song has two main components. The first consists of an alternating long (~2 millisecs) phrase followed by a short (~<1 millisecs) phrase; this is constantly repeated and makes up the "lilting" component of the song. The second component is made up of a ~1 millisec phrase constantly repeated at 2 phrase intervals; this is known as the buzzing or "rattling" component of the song. The two components interchange often in the calling song, creating a sound almost exactly reminiscent of a small sprinkler system.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Southern Red-eyed Squeaker Pauropsalta annulata complex

Male - dorsal/ventral

Female

Appearance: Males with red, white or brown eyes. Underside of abdomen yellow with a black midline fascia. Females reddish-brown or brown and black with either red or brown eyes. Ovipositor extends 1mm or more beyond the tip of the abdomen.

Size: Forewing length: 14-17mm.

Colour: Eyes bright red in life.

Range and Season: Known localities include: the Carnarvon Gorge region; the Burnett River north of Eidsvold, Brisbane Forest Park, Brookfield, Arana Hills and other north-west Brisbane suburbs (presence in the south-west to be confirmed); Ipswich, including Kholo; common throughout the Brisbane and Lockyer Valleys; the Boonah, Kalbar, Peak Crossing district, Rathdowney and on the main range east of Leyburn; Toowoomba, north of Jondaryan, Warwick, Stanthorpe, and east of Inglewood in Queensland. In New South Wales it has been collected from Casino south through Armidale to Gerroa and Berry on the south coast (D. Emery) and on the central western slopes at Coonabarabran and the nearby Warrumbungle National Park. It is widespread throughout the Greater Sydney area.

Habits: Warm temperate dry eucalypt woodlands including open dry ironbark forests and also stands of Eucalyptus tessilaris and E. citriodora subsp. variegata. In the Lockyer Valley it encroaches upon vine scrubs and it also ventures into well-treed suburbia in the north-western parts of Brisbane and is common in urban parks and gardens around Sydney.

Song: This species has two components of song. The first "lilting" component consists of long and short phrases as in the call of the above species, however the long phrase lasts much longer (~20 millisecs) and the shorter phrase proportionally shorter (2 millisecs), thus creating an entirely different sound - "derr-dit-derr-dit-derr-dit". The second component consists of a continuous long buzzing phrase that can last up to about a minute. This differs in structure from the "rattling" component of the Sprinkler Squeaker. The two components interchange freely throughout the song.

Oscillogram showing broken phase of calling song

Recording of lilting phase of song (Toowoomba, Queensland)

Recording of calling song (Toowoomba, Queensland)

Recording of calling song (Woodenbong, New South Wales)

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Inland Sprinkler Squeaker Pauropsalta annulata complex

Male - dorsal/ventral

Appearance: Males with red or dark eyes. Dorsal side may be black, brown or sandy yellow/olive (in specimens from western Queensland). Underside of abdomen varies from pale yellow with a black midline fascia to almost black. Females may be black or chocolate brown with either red or brown eyes. Ovipositor extends just past the tip of the abdomen (>0.8mm).

Size: Forewing length: 14-16mm.

Range and Season: Edungalba, Theodore, Monto and Eidsvold, east to Binjour near Gayndah, Oakey and Inglewood, west into inland Qld, including the foothills of the Expedition Range, Taroom, Miles, Chinchilla, south of Surat, Mitchell and Blackall. Specimens collected at Goolgowi in southern inland New South Wales by M. S. Moulds, could possibly be included here, although this requires confirmation through a song recording.

Habits: It occurs mainly in association with Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) scrub, also using branches of other acacias and eucalypts as vantage points for singing. Near Surat, a small population occurs in Mulga (Acacia aneura) scrub. In the towns of Chinchilla, Millmerran and Inglewood adults inhabit open eucalypt woodland and gardens. West of Mitchell adults emerge in low shrubs, grass and Cassina sp. and also inhabit Brigalow (A. Ewart).

Song: Has a two component song, similar to the call of the Southern Red-eyed Squeaker. The lilting component is invariably fast and differs consistently from the Southern Red-eyed Squeaker in that the short phrase lasts for about ~1 millisec. instead of ~2. The second part is identical to that of the Southern Red-eyed Squeaker i.e. a continuous buzz. The two components readily interchange during song production.

Oscillogram showing broken phase of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Burnett Red-eyed Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr annulata

Male - dorsal/ventral

Appearance: Both males and females appear very similar to the Inland Sprinkler Squeaker. Box sexes always dark above. Female ovipositor does not extend beyond the tip of the abdomen. Male has distinct genitalia (pygophore thin, aedeagus tapering sharply on the dorsal end and not "trunk-like" as with other members of the group); also timbals with extended anterior ridge.

Size: Forewing length: 14-16mm.

Range and Season: Occurs in sub-humid Queensland from Theodore, Monto and Eidsvold east to Gympie and south to near Blackbutt. Occurs from at least November to January.

Habits: Occurs in dry eucalypt woodland on alluvial plains and also on sandy ridges. Eucalyptus tereticornis and Corymbia tesselaris are known adult food plants. Individuals generally perch high up. Also occurs in rural gardens and parks.

Song: Audibly very similar to the Southern Red-eyed Squeaker; however, the spacing between phrases appears "inverted" see oscillogram below (and compare above). The space between the long phrase and the short phrase is much longer in this species and the space between the short phrase and the long phrase is reduced by comparison. The song is quiet and inconspicuous.

Recording of calling song

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Maraca Squeaker Pauropsalta annulata complex

Male - dorsal/ventral

Female

Alternative name: Poplar Box Squeaker.

Appearance: Generally with red-eyes and distinct thoracic fascia. Head always conspicuously wider than thorax. Female ovipositor does not extend beyond tip of abdomen.

Size: Forewing length: 15-18mm.

Range and Season: Known from Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland and from the Darling Downs at Miles, Glenmorgan, Lake Broadwater, Inglewood and the Leslie Dam west of Warwick in southern Queensland. It possibly also occurs as far north as Torrens Creek, central Queensland; this locality requires confirmation. Adults are present from October to February.

Habits: This species occurs wherever Poplar Box (Eucalyptus populnea) occurs within its range. Unlike other P. annulata species, this example is often found high up in the eucalypts where it is, also atypically, quite static.

Song: This species has a single song component that is very distinctive to the ear. Like the lilting component of the Sprinkler Speaker, Inland Sprinkler Squeaker and the Southern Red-eyed Squeaker, it has an alternating emission of long followed by short phrases that each make up single repetitive phrase-groups. The long phrase is about 10 millisecs and the short phrase about 2-3 millisecs. The song sounds something reminiscent of a maraca being shaken.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Static Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr annulata

Male - dorsal/ventral

Female

Appearance: Eyes normally red. A constrasting black and yellow in coloration. Male underside of abdomen straw yellow with a thin black midline fascia. Female ovipositor does not extend noticeably beyond the tip of the abdomen.

Size: Forewing length: 15-18mm.

Range and Season: Occurs from near Hughenden, Theodore, Cania Gorge near Monto, Injune, Miles, Chinchilla, Glenmorgan and south of Surat, east to Kindon near Millmerran. A specimen from near Condobolin (G. Daniels) superficially resembles this species, but it's identity requires confirmation. October to January.

Habits: This species is often found in association with gum-topped box (E. pillagaensis) or smooth-barked eucalypts growing in dryer areas with reasonable soils and in the general vicinity of water. Like the Maraca Squeaker, this species is mostly sedentary and always occurs high up. It prefers the trunk or main branches unlike its close siblings, which usually inhabit the outer foliage.

Song: This song is certainly the most atypical of the P. annulata species group. It has one major phase consisting of ~2 millisecond phrases emitted at 2.5 millisecond intervals, thus creating a "hiss-like" rattling sound. This phase is irregularly, but characteristically interrupted with a ~ 4 ms phrase after a ~10 ms pause and then followed by another ~10 millisecond pause before recommencement of the phase. This creates a sort of hiccup in the song where a single sharp zit can be heard audibly in mid song.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Small Maraca Squeaker Pauropsalta sp. nr annulata

Male - dorsal/ventral

Female - dorsal/ventral

Appearance: Similar to the Static Squeaker. Head not as conspicuously wide as the Maraca Squeaker. Female ovipositor extends to less than 1mm beyond the tip of the abdomen.

Size: Forewing length: 15-18mm.

Range and Season: From the Blackdown Tableland and Expedition Range, east to near Maryborough and south to Chinchilla, Kindon near Millmerran and the Oakey district in inland Queensland. September to January.

Habits: Usually found on Silver-leaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus melanophloia) or sometimes Poplar Box (Eucalyptus populnea) growing in sandy soils. Adults reach the height of abundance in November.

Song: Similar to the Maraca Squeaker, but noticeably faster.

Recording of calling song


Ephemeral Squeaker Pauropsalta ayrensis Ewart, 1989

Male - dorsal/ventral

Female

Appearance: Orange-yellow coloration at the posterior base of the dorsal thorax is distinctive.

Size: Forewing length: 15-18mm.

Range and Season: From the southern Wet Tropics in northern Queensland south through tropical, sub-tropical and sub-humid areas to Maroon Dam, south of Brisbane and almost to the border of New South Wales south of Rathdowney. It does not occur west of the Great Dividing Range or in the city of Brisbane. Adults occur from September to May.

Habits: This species has adapted to a wide variety of habits, mostly near water, but it is also a common species in rural towns and cities. It usually inhabits eucalypts and sheoaks and can also be encountered in grass and on fence posts. Numbers vary depending on rainfall, sometimes reaching high levels of abundance. Adults are usually wary except when large numbers are present when they can often be observed without difficulty.

Song: Coarse, soft phrases: "di-derrr-didi-derrr-di-derrrr-didi-iderrr-di-derrr" etc. Singing occurs in bright sunshine.

Oscillogram of calling song

Recording of calling song

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Yellow Tree Buzzer Pauropsalta eyrei (Distant, 1882)

Male

Size: Forewing length: 12-16mm.

Range and Season: Found in both Papua New Guinea and Australia. Occurs right across Cape York except for the very tip, west to Mt. Isa and south to Biggenden and Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland, with a recent record as far south as the Gympie district (G. Monteith). Adults occur from November to April.

Habits: Adults occur high on the trunks and limbs of eucalypt trees growing in many situations, especially near rivers. It is not a particularly mobile species and does not behave like other members of the genus.

Song: A continuous soft buzzing call, emitted throughout the day and also at dusk.

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Paperbark Squeaker Pauropsalta basalis Goding and Froggatt, 1904

Male

Female

Size: Forewing length: 12-16mm.

Range and Season: In the tropical coastal and subcoastal regions of northern Queensland from Weipa to Mackay. It can be found from October to February.

Habits: This species prefers to inhabit paperbark forests, but will sometimes occur in other woodlands. Populations are often local and adults prefer to sit on the trunks and main limbs of trees. It is not a mobile species, but will fly if disturbed.

Song: A distinctive fluttering call with strong modulating pulses.

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Species from elsewhere in Australia

South-western Bark Squeaker Pauropsalta dolens (Walker, 1850)

Male

Species related to Pauropsalta fuscata from around Albany and Perth, south-western Western Australia.


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