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Cicada species

18th July, 2023 Environment

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  • An insect cicada species, which is commonly found in South India, has assumed an Indian identity in light of the finding of a new study.
  • Earlier it was known as Purana tigrina and since 1850 was considered to be of Malaysian origin.
  • It is now named as Purana cheeveeda (after its Malayalam name Cheeveedu).

Other Details

  • The Association for Advancement in Entomology has now corrected the taxonomic identification and classification of this species.
  • Earlier cicada found in the region was considered as the Malaysian species owing to the superficial similarities of these species such as –
    • Colouration
    • morphology

Findings of the study/research

  • A team of researchers was led by Kalesh Sadasivan, a research associate of Travancore Nature History Society.
  • While documenting cicadas, it found differences in the structure of the male genitalia & operculum.
  • Morphological characteristics differences were found.
  • They compared the specimens to the holotype and specimen of P. tigrina from Malaya.

Significance of this study

  • Enriching and identifying biodiversity of the
  • More accurate classification of taxonomy of this
  • More efforts to understand the distinct features of this species for better conservation.
  • It will also help in the impact of decline of this incest on deteriorating quality of soil and vegetation.
  • It also implies a high degree of endemism.


  • Mainly found in Malabar, Travancore and Malaya regions of South India.
  • It can also be believed to be found across the tropical evergreen forests ranging from Goa to Kanyakumari.


  • These are hemipteran insects, also known as true bugs, belonging to the superfamily of Cicadoidea.
  • There are more than 3,000 known species of cicadas.
  • Most diversity of this species is found in Indian and neighbouring country Bangladesh.


  • These generally have two pairs of membranous wings and prominent compound eyes.
  • The length is in range of 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2 inches).
  • They produce loud, high-pitched buzzing sounds during hot weather.
  • These are generally found on large trees in natural forests.
  • They also occur in deserts, grasslands.

Usefulness of Cicdas

  • They help in aerating the soil.
  • They are used in folk medicines.
  • In some regions they act as religious and monetary symbols.
  • This species is an indicator of soil health and vegetation.
  • The dead body acts as a nutrient source, nitrogen to be specific, which helps in growth of the plants.
  • In some community is an important source of food.


  • Deforestation due to construction activities.
  • Frequent natural or human induced forest fires.
  • It is also captured for food and medicine purpose


Consider the following statements about Cicadas:

1. These are the insects belonging to the super family of Cicadoidea.

2. Purana cheeveeda, a commonly found insect species, is now considered to be of Malaysian origin.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only

B. 2 only

C. Both 1 and 2

D. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (A)