Dead-twig discrimination for oviposition in a cicada, Cryptotympana facialis (Hemiptera: Cicadidae)


In phytophagous insects, in spite of some general advantages of oviposition on a vital part of their host food plants, certain species prefer dead tissues for oviposition. In the present study, we examined oviposition-related behaviors of a cicada, Cryptotympana facialis (Walker), which lays eggs exclusively into dead twigs. From behavioral observation of females experimentally assigned to live or dead plant material, we found that egg laying into freshly cut live twigs is abandoned in two phases, i.e., before and after initiation of egg nest-creating behavior with the ovipositor. Behavioral sequence analyses revealed that oviposition was generally preceded by rubbing with the rostrum tip and brief stylet-penetration behavior, suggesting that oral assessment may play a primary role in decision-making of oviposition in the earlier discriminating phase. From the similarity in behavioral flows of this assessment to vital tissue-seeking behaviors, cicada females are presumed to judge a twig as dead by sensing the absence of vital cues. These findings contribute to understanding a behavioral basis of dead plant recognition for oviposition, potentially giving an insight into ecological and evolutionary aspects of diverse oviposition preferences.

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We thank Elizabeth Nakajima for linguistic corrections.

Author information

Correspondence to Hideharu Numata.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Online Resource 1. A video of boring behavior (MPG 3464 kb)

Online Resource 2. A video of egg-laying behavior (MPG 4020 kb)

Online Resource 3. A video of rubbing behavior (MPG 2300 kb)

Online Resource 4. A video of probing behavior (MPG 3932 kb)

Online Resource 5. A video of scuffing behavior (MPG 2088 kb)

Online Resource 1. A video of boring behavior (MPG 3464 kb)

Online Resource 2. A video of egg-laying behavior (MPG 4020 kb)

Online Resource 3. A video of rubbing behavior (MPG 2300 kb)

Online Resource 4. A video of probing behavior (MPG 3932 kb)

Online Resource 5. A video of scuffing behavior (MPG 2088 kb)

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Moriyama, M., Matsuno, T. & Numata, H. Dead-twig discrimination for oviposition in a cicada, Cryptotympana facialis (Hemiptera: Cicadidae). Appl Entomol Zool 51, 615–621 (2016).

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  • Cicada
  • Dead twig
  • Kinematic diagram
  • Oviposition behavior
  • Oviposition site selection