Tanna japonensis

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Tanna japonensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Cicadidae
Genus: Tanna
Species: T. japonensis
Binomial name
Tanna japonensis
Distant, 1892
Subspecies

T. j. ishigakiana
T. j. japonensis

Tanna japonensis, also called evening cicada and higurashi (蜩, 茅蜩, ひぐらし?), is a species of cicada, a family of insects, and a member of the genus Tanna. It is distributed throughout East Asia, and is most common in Japan. Its shrill call can be heard most often in the morning and evening.

Its kanji name is derived from the character for Miscanthus, a type of reed that it inhabits. In Japan, it is also known as kanakana (カナカナ?) because of the noise that it makes.

Characteristics[edit]

The adult male has a body length of 28–38 mm (1.1–1.5 in), the female is 21–25 mm (0.8–1.0 in). The male's abdomen is longer and thicker than that of the female, making it easy to distinguish between them. In addition, the intra-abdominal cavity of the male is more developed, giving it a more resonant call.[1]

The body is coloured reddish-brown with green around the compound eye and in the centre and back of the thorax; mountain dwelling specimens tend to be darker.[1]

Habitat[edit]

Variants of T. japonensis are common in Southern Hokkaido, in a wide range of habitats. They proliferate in China, but not the Korean Peninsula. They inhabit the cedar, cypress and hardwood forests from northern Hokkaido to Kyushu, from the mountains to the plains. In southern Kyushu, they live in the lower mountainous regions.[1]

In Japan, their habitat ranges from temperate Hokkaidō in the far North to Subtropical Amami Ōshima, close to Taiwan (variants and subspecies, such as T. j. ishigakiana), and live in a wide range of habitats. Outside of Japan, they live throughout China. It was previously believed that they also lived in the Korean peninsula, but this was a clerical error. They live in the cypress, cedar and hardwood forests, from the mountainous regions in Hokkaido to the plains of northern Kyūshū, and even in Southern Kyūshū they can be found in slightly higher mountain elevations.

Ecology[edit]

Parasite moth Epipomponia nawai (Lepidoptera: Epipyropidae) caterpillars attached to the abdomen of a female Tanna japonensis.

The parasitic moth Epipomponia nawai uses the animal as a host for its eggs. The T. japonensis can also come under attack from flesh flies.[1]

A 1st instar larva of Epipomponia nawai (about 0.6 mm long) near the basal area of the right hind wing of a female Tanna japonensis

Call[edit]

The peak time for hearing T. japonensis is from autumn onwards, but they can also be heard at the end of summer in some regions. From September until mid-October, their calls can be heard almost every day.[1]

The males call with a distinctive, melancholy sound of "KIKIKIKIKI", "KEKEKEKEKE" and "CANNAT KANAKANA ...". This occurs before sunrise, and they often sing at twilight or after sunset, in dusk, when the temperature has dropped, or when it becomes cloudy.[1] The call changes with temperature, being correlated with the firing rate of the tymbal nerve.[2]

In Japan, the sound is popularly associated with melancholy, and it has been the subject of literature, and television shows, such as "Summer Evening" and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, feature it as a sound effect or a plot point. Their call is quite loud, but does not carry well over distance.[1]

Hayano Cemetery Park, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan, 6:40PM July 17, 2011 (Some background noise from wind sound)

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Subspecies[edit]

Tanna japonensis ishigakiana Kato, 1960[edit]

This variant is found in Ishigaki, an island in Okinawa. Though once listed on the red list, they are no longer thought to be endangered. Their cry is a more metallic sound with a faster tempo.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Itō, ShūShirō Hokuryūkan (1997), 学生版 日本昆虫図鑑 (Students Encyclopedia of Insects, Japanese Version) (in Japanese), Tokyo: Kita Takashi Hall, ISBN 4-8326-0040-0 
    Nakao, Shunichi (1990), セミの自然誌 - 鳴き声に聞く種分化のドラマ (in Japanese), Chuokoron New Company, ISBN 4-12-100979-7 
    Miyatake, Tanomoto; Kanou, Yasutsugu (1992), 検索入門 セミ・バッタ (in Japanese), ISBN 978-4-586-31038-8 
  2. ^ Sakis Drosopoulos and Michael F. Claridge (2006), Insect sounds and communication: physiology, behaviour, ecology, and evolution, CRC Press, p. 532, ISBN 0-8493-2060-7  page 113