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scientific name    Okanagana    

Occur in a variety of habitats, but particularly xeric woodlands, shrublands and grasslands.

Adults are short-lived and emerge in spring and summer. Nymphs overwinter underground.

Members of the genus Okanagana have a predominantly black body, with variably developed tan, red or orange markings depending upon species. Wings are transparent with tan, black and/or reddish veins and basal membranes. Wingspan varies from about 42mm (O. synodica, O. uncinata) to 80mm (O. magnifica) (Davis 1919). The head (including eyes) is narrower than the base of the mesonotum (Davis 1919), a character that will separate Okanagana from other western Canadian genera. Many species are structurally very similar, but the species-specific mating calls will likely reveal additional sibling species (Maw et al. 2000). Royal Alberta Museum page

life history
Eggs are inserted into slits in tree or shrub twigs. These slits are formed in rows by the hardened ovipositors of the female, sometimes causing damage to fruit trees (Beirne 1961). Eight to fifteen egs are laid per slit, the eggs hatching in about 90 days in O. vanduzeei (Simons 1954). Newly hatched nymphs drop to the ground and bury to feed on plant roots through piercing-sucking mouthparts. Cicadas have an unusually long subterranean life cycle, although specific data for Okanagana is lacking; Simons (1954) suggested two to five years for Californian species. Nymphs possess modified tibial projections for digging, and ascend vegetation above ground prior to adult emergence. Adults are often arboreal, and males produce distinctive buzzing sounds (mating calls) with tymbal mechanisms at the base of the abdomen (Simons 1954).

O. ornata is potentially rare or endangered in BC (Scudder 1994).

diet info
Both nymphs and adults feed on plant juices. Some species appear to be host-specific, while others have wider host ranges (Simons 1954).

Found throughout temperate North America, from the southern Northwest Territories to Mexico. Only two species occur in the northeast, with most species occurring in the American southwest (Maw et al. 2000, Davis 1919). O. canadensis (Provancher) occurs north to the Mackenzie River basin, NWT, the northernmost range of any cicada in this primarily tropical family (Maw et al. 2000).

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