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Saturday, March 30, 2024

Meghalaya is home to newly found cicada species.

Newly Found Cicada Species

Meghalaya is home to newly found cicada species.

Scientists have found a fascinating new species of cicada in Meghalaya that they have dubbed the "Butterfly Cicada." This cicada, which is a member of the genus Becquartina, is the first specimen of its kind found in the nation.

The cicada is known as the "butterfly cicada" due to its multicolored wings; its species name, "bicolour," refers to its two different color variations.
The finding, which was reported in the journal Zootaxa, increases the genus Becquartina's total recognized species to seven.

The cicada was discovered in the vicinity of Balpakram National Park in South Garo Hills District in 2017 by Dr. Vivek Sarkar of the Wildlife Institute of India. Subsequently, in 2020, Sudhanya Ray Hajong, Head of Department of Zoology, NEHU, discovered it in the Nongkhrah community forest in Ri-Bhoi district.

Afterwards, Rodeson Thangkiew, a Research Fellow collaborating with Prof. Hajong, independently documented it in 2020.The finding, which was reported in the journal Zootaxa, increases the genus Becquartina's total recognized species to seven.

Nevertheless, no documentation of its existence between these sites exists. Studies on the morphology and bioacoustics of these two populations showed similarities, suggesting the existence of a single species.

"We made several observations and call recordings of the species, including collecting a few more specimens for our research," Professor Hajong stated to The Shillong Times.
"It's a unique cicada that's usually grouped as 'butterfly cicada' because of its colorful wings," he continued. Because this species has two different color variations, it was given the species name bicolor. The current finding brings the overall number of species to seven.

Because the species is endemic and only found in two locations—a community forest in Ri-Bhoi and a protected area in the Garo Hills—Professor Hajong also advocated for its conservation.

No other region of Northeast India has reported seeing it. The species is restricted to the Garo Hills and the Ri-Bhoi district, where it favors dense woodlands and natural flora. The cicada's calling patterns differ in the areas of Garo Hills and Ri-Bhoi, and it is active from April to June. Men make loud calls in the morning and evening in Garo Hills, while throughout the day in Ri-Bhoi, calls are audible.

There are six species of Becquartina known to exist in Southeast Asia. The significance of preserving the cicada's habitat in community forests and protected areas is highlighted by this discovery.

Rich saffron makes up the basal third of the hind wing, while the apical two-thirds are matte black with traces of spots on the first and fifth apical cells and large squarish spots of rich saffron from the second to fourth sub-apical cells. Together, these sub-apical patches resemble a sub-apical patch.

The forewing of the second form, sometimes known as the white form, has a greenish-brown post-internodal transverse fascia. The apical two-thirds of the hind wing are matte black, while the basal one-third is pale and slightly greenish white. There are six species of cicadas in the genus Becquartina, which are found in China, Thailand, and Vietnam. Because of the color of their wings, the species of this genus are frequently referred to as "Butterfly cicadas."

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