Kikihia ochrina

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Kikihia ochrina
Kikihia ochrina (Walker, 1858) AMNZ55161.jpg
Female syntype specimen held at Auckland Museum
Kikihia ochrina (Walker, 1858) AMNZ21946.jpg
Male syntype specimen held at Auckland Museum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha
Infraorder: Cicadomorpha
Superfamily: Cicadoidea
Family: Cicadidae
Subfamily: Cicadettinae
Tribe: Cicadettini
Genus: Kikihia
Species: K. ochrina
Binomial name
Kikihia ochrina
(Walker, 1858)[1]
  • Cicada aprilina Hudson, 1891
  • Cicada ochrina Walker, 1858
  • Cicada orbrina Kirby, 1896
  • Cicadetta aprilina
  • Cicadetta ochrina
  • Kikihia aprilina
  • Melampsalta muta ochrina
  • Melampsalta ochrina

Kikihia ochrina (commonly known as the April green cicada) is a species of insect endemic to New Zealand.[3]


The British entomologist Francis Walker first described K. ochrina in 1858 as Cicada ochrina from a specimen presented to the Natural History Museum, London by Colonel Bolton.[4] George Hudson described K. ochrina in 1891 and, thinking it was a new species, named it Cicada aprilina.[5]


K. ochrina is bright green in colour with only a few dark markings, the most prominent of which are two sickle shaped lines and two dots in the middle section of the thorax. This species can be distinguished from its close relative Kikihia dugdalei as it has green legs without the pink patches that mark the legs of K. dugdalei. Male specimens of K. ochrina also always lack the pair of small black spots on their underside that are found on most male K. dugdalei specimens.[3] The noted New Zealand entomologist George Hudson regarded it as the most beautiful of the New Zealand cicadae. He described its song as being "very quick and shrill".[5]

Life cycle[edit]

The April green cicada are present each summer. The eggs of the K. ochrina are likely to be laid from January to May with a peak at March. The eggs then develop over winter with the nymphs hatching in the summer, probably sometime in December. The eggs therefore mature over a 7 to 11-month period. Once hatched the nymphs immediately bury themselves underground whether they develop for a further two years before emerging. They then shed their exoskeleton and moult into an adult. This species therefore has a life cycle of approximately three years.[6] Hudson was of the opinion that the adults of this species first appear around February but are most abundant in April.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

K. ochrina is found in the North Island and the Three Kings Islands of New Zealand, as well as in Canterbury where it was likely introduced.[7] This species inhabits evergreen trees and shrubs, particularly broad leaf natives such as Coprosma, Hebe and Myoporum as well as introduced trees such as Poplars.[3][8] It commonly emerges from soil underneath the mahoe tree.[6]

Behaviour and predation[edit]

Hudson regarded this species as particularly wary of potential threats and flying off for long distances if disturbed. He hypothesized that the extreme caution of this species resulted from K. ochrina being present later in the year than other ciciadae and the species adapting to more frequent predation by birds.[5]


  1. ^ "Kikihia ochrina (Walker, 1858)". Landcare Research. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  2. ^ Sanborn, A.; Dmitriev, D. A. "Species details : Kikihia ochrina (Walker, F., 1858)". Naturalis. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Kikihia ochrina - April Green Cicada". Landcare Research. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  4. ^ Walker, Francis (1858). "Cicada ochrina". List of the specimens of homopterous insects in the collection of the British museum. Supplement.: 34. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.34441. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Hudson, George Venon (May 1891). "On the New Zealand Cicadae". Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute. 23: 53. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b Logan, David P. (2006). "Nymphal development and lifecycle length of Kikihia ochrina (Walker) (Homoptera: Cicadidae)". Weta. 31: 19–22. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  7. ^ Hill, Kathy B. R.; Marshall, David C.; Cooley, John R. (December 2005). "Crossing Cook Strait: Possible human transportation and establishment of two New Zealand cicadas from North Island to South Island (Kikihia scutellaris and K. ochrina, Hemiptera: Cicadidae)" (PDF). New Zealand Entomologist. 28 (1): 71–80. doi:10.1080/00779962.2005.9722688. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Selected New Zealand cicada species". Cicada Central. University of Connecticut. Retrieved 24 May 2016.

External links[edit]