Aotearoa is home to the only alpine cicadas in the world (and all alpine cicadas are from the genus Maoricicada). Scree cicadas are found in the high montane to alpine zones on the South Island mountains. It’s thought that ancestral Maoricicada may have been pre-adapted to alpine living thanks to their relative hairiness and dark colouring, and that the genus radiated during the late Miocene.
The scree cicadas are a complex of four subspecies of Maoricicada mangu: Maoricicada mangu mangu (Canterbury scree cicada); Maoricicada mangu multicostata (Northern scree cicada); Maoricicada mangu celer (braying cicada); and Maoricicada mangu gourlayi (Dun Mountain cicada). Only the last two of these have had heir conservation status assessed and both are considered At Risk – Naturally Uncommon.
The Canterbury scree cicada (M. m. mangu) has the widest distribution of the four subspecies. It is found in South Island mountains from Canterbury north (excluding Marlborough and Kaikoura) and is most commonly associated with scree habitat. Nymphs may live in tussock grassland. Adults are seen from January to March. The song of the male is described as a low-pitched monotone of discrete staccato notes of dull toneless quality, like the rattle of a drumstick on a table, followed by a double suffix.
Check these links for more info on the Scree Cicada in NZ
Wikipedia: Information on the Scree Cicada
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