Thopha saccata Click to enlarge image
Double Drummer cicada, Thopha saccata, in Wedderburn, NSW. Image: Dave Britton
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    saccata
    Genus
    Thopha
    Subfamily
    Cicadinae
    Family
    Cicadidae
    Super Family
    Cicadoidea
    Suborder
    Cicadomorpha
    Order
    Hemiptera
    Superorder
    Auchenorrhyncha
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    12 cm - 15 cm

Introduction

The Double Drummer is one the largest cicadas in Australia and it has a song to match.

Habitat

The Double Drummer lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Distribution

The Double Drummer is found throughout eastern Australia.

Seasonality

Adult Double Drummers can be found from November to March and tend to gather on large eucalypt trees. Often many adults emerge together and clusters of empty nymph skins (called exuviae) can be seen around the bases of eucalypts.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Double Drummer seems to have a tendency to fly out to sea. Thousands of individuals have been reported as far as 8 km offshore. Their bodies are sometimes washed up on beaches.

Communication

One of the loudest of all cicadas, the Double Drummer's high-pitched erratic whine sounds a bit like a bad bagpipe player. When populations are dense, these cicadas are almost unbearable to be near when they sing in unison.