With the Pygmy Elephant and Western Tarsier we have highlighted two of Borneo’s iconic inhabitants. However, there are many more and this instalment is about one that might not always get the attention it deserves: the Cicada. Maybe they’re just not rare enough, and certainly not cuddly, but these noisy insects perform one of the most characteristic symphonies in the tropical forests around the globe when the daylight wanes. Where the massive Emperor or 6 o’clock Cicada (Pomponia merula) excels in the production of an electrical shaver-like sound, the Jade Green Cicada (Dundubia vaginata) is the most beautiful by far. Around 5.30 every afternoon a few males would start their concert by a rhythmical pulsation of their abdomens (called tymbalisation) to be followed by the ones in their direct vicinity until retirement for the night.
Despite their noisy call cicadas are not easy to locate – their excellent vision warns them for possible threats and they stop calling, hide or simply fly away to another tree when disturbed. When spotlighting in search for some nocturnal action my eyes fell on this stunning male that had emerged from its exuvium just hours before, its bright green body and transparent blue wings completely extracted and unfolded – just sitting there and posing for the camera. Wicked!