Smallest cicada found in unexpected area

Smallest cicada found in unexpected area

Iwasaki kusazemi found on Yagaji Island.

April 27, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

The smallest cicada in Japan, iwasaki kusazemi, was found buzzing on Yagaji Island in Nago City on April 22. Iwasaki kusazemi is a type of cicada, measuring about 1.5-2cm. The cicadas start buzzing around March or April every year.

The cicada was previously only known to inhabit Miyako and Yaeyama islands and a part of southern Okinawa Island, but 10 years ago, as the species started to expand its habitat to areas on Okinawa Island, it was confirmed that the cicadas also inhabit Yagaji Island.

Sixty-six year old Michio Taira of Nago City noticed the buzzing sound while he was planting flowers on Yagaji Island on April 22. As he looked around, he found the small cicada.

Taira said, “I was surprised that cicadas had started making noise this early and so I looked at trees nearby, and I found about 10 cicadas. I’ve never seen such small cicadas.”

A curator at the museum of the University of the Ryukyus, Takeshi Sasaki, speculated that the species has further expanded its habitat, “The cicada was found on Yagaji Island before, but there are some cases where the cicadas have been found in other areas in Nago City. Possibly the iwasaki kusazemi is flying and expanding its habitat.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)

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