Most cicada species spend many years living as nymphs in the soil, feeding on plant roots. Depending on the species, and probably external conditions, there are mass hatchings in some years, when thousands emerge from the ground and hatch into the relatively short-lived (days to weeks) adult stage.
This summer is such a year, not just for the Red Roarers (Psaltoda aurora), but also the Northern Double Drummers (Thopha sessiliba). The Northern Green Grocers (Cyclochita virens) are quite abundant every year, but they only call for about 15 minutes at dusk. All three species are 60-70mm long – quite large!
Red Roarer and Northern Greengrocer
You can tell the difference between males and females by the difference in size of their opercula, which cover their sound organs.
Males have a mainly hollow abdomen and large sound organs.
Cicada-killer Wasps obviously can tell the difference between males, which are full of air, and females which are full of eggs, as they always catch females to drag into their burrows as food for their offspring.
To give you an idea how noisy Red Roares can be (and they call all day!), listen to this, with the volume on maximum:
If you’d like to hear the songs of, for example, the Deafening Cherrynose, the Sprinkler Squeaker or the Jungle Grinder, go to Dr Lindsay Popple’s website: