New cicada species in Nagaland underscores need for conservation

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Source: This post is based on the article “New cicada species in Nagaland underscores need for conservation” published in Down to Earth on 12th October 2021.

What is the news?

Recently a new Cicada species Platyomia kohimaensis was discovered in the Naga Hills. The species was found near the village of Mitelphe within the Kohima district. ​

This discovery has been made after almost a century. No new cicada was discovered after those found by British entomologists in the Naga Hills in the early 1900s.

What are Cicadas?

Cicadas are hemipteran insects. They are known for their loud, complex and species-specific acoustic signals or songs.

Habitat: Most cicadas are canopy dwellers and are found in natural forests with large trees. They act as indicators of a healthy forest ecosystem. They occur more in areas around undisturbed bamboo groves.

Threats: Loss of natural habitat because of clearing of forest land, wildfires, agricultural land and other similar activities.

What is special about Platyomia kohimaensis?

According to the researchers, it sings only in the dusk for a few hours. While most cicadas call during the day.

Distribution of other cicada species

Savazana mirabilis and Salvazana Imperalis: They were discovered in Meghalaya. They prefer only certain tree species found in undisturbed forests.

Chremistica ribhoi (locally called niangtaserand popular as ‘world cup cicada’): They also belong to Meghalaya, surrounding the areas of Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary.

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