Swamp Songbird


July 5, 2022

Swamp Piewik (Aphrophora major) - a species of bug from the suborder cicadiformes and the family of cicadiformes. It lives in Europe and the palearctic East Asia (disjunctive range). Stenobiont associated with open wet and wet areas. The larvae feed on herbaceous plants and grasses, while adult insects feed on birches and willows.


This species was first described in 1896 by Philip Reese Uhler. In 1900, Leopold Melichar described the same species as Aphrophora alpina. They were synonymized by Shōnen Matsumura in 1903. Matsumura described Aphrophora flavomaculata in 1904, and Yezophora kurilensis in 1940 - both were synonymed with A. major in 1997 by Tadashi Komatsu as part of a review of Japanese representatives of the genus.


In Europe, males range from 10.6 to 11.8 mm, and females from 11.1 to 12.6 mm of body length, in East Asia, males range from 11 to 13.2 mm, and females from 12.2 to 14 mm. . In Europe, it is the largest representative of the genus Aphrophora. The body structure is squat and the outline in the dorsal view is oval with rather pointed ends. The length of the body is 3.3 to 3.4 times the width of the head, and the width of the body is 1.2 times greater than its width. Coloration of the body varies from ocher through brownish gray to dark brown, usually with a darker underside of the abdomen. The covers are characterized by a small, but distinct, yellowish spot in the center of the media line, sometimes they also have a less distinguished, darker, oblique band through the center, sometimes broken into two dark spots. The surface of the head and the pronar is flat, smooth, with a rather clearly marked longitudinal rib running through their center. The head is triangular in outline, from 3.8 to 4 times wider than its long and not much wider than the front edge of the prependium. The frontoclipeus is significantly swollen, 1.1 to 1.4 times longer than it is broad. The front edge of the parietal is broken at an angle of 117–120 °. The pre-crutch is 1.4 times wider than it is longer. The medullary is more or less flattened, without raised edges. The covers are 2.9 to 3 times longer than the broad ones, with profuse points, covered with fine hair. Usage on the covers is relatively well marked. The legs of the rear pair have a length of 1.5 to 1.7 times longer than that of the front pair. The shaves of the hind pair are also 2 to 2.2 times longer than the thighs. The male's genitals have a pygophore with a ventral side 1.8 times longer than the dorsal side, and equipped with a hook and a disc. The anal tube is twice as long as it is wide. The length of the subgenital plate is 0.7 times the length of the pygophore measured in the center of its ventral side. In the dorsal view, the pre-apical part of the aedeagus is 0.6 to 0.7 connective widths and is roundish on the sides. The apex of the aedeagus is undiplied. The stylus has an inner notch that is much larger than the outer one.

Biology and Ecology

This insect is stenobiont, mesohigrophilic and heliophilic. It lives in wet and wet habitats of an open, grassy nature with scattered shrubs and trees. It occurs in peat bogs, especially in transitional bogs (eagerly from the Scheuchzerio-Caricetea class) and on the edges of raised bogs, wetlands, wetlands and meadows, forest clearings and forest edges located in shady valleys. It reaches a height of 850 meters above sea level and there is one generation per year. Adult forms are observed from July or August to October. The mating takes place in late summer. Males attract females with sounds produced by the tympanic organs located on the sides of the first abdominal segment. The song of A. major consists of a continuous high-pitched note lasting from 4 to 6 seconds, with an undivided rhythm