An effective method for accurate nymphal-stage delimitation of the cicada Hyalessa fuscata

Hoa Quynh Nguyen, Erick Kim, Yoonhyuk Bae, Soyeon Chae, Seongmin Ji, Jiman Heo, Sungsik Kong, Thoa Kim Nguyen, Thai Hong Pham, Yikweon Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subterranean nymphal development in cicadas presents challenges to researchers in accurately estimating the number of their developmental stages, although such information is crucial to understanding and predicting their population dynamics. While most studies have relied on head width as an attribute for life-stage determination to date, such character in cicadas can be highly variable and thus differentiation solely based on such morphology is prone to subjectivity in practice. Here, we propose a reliable method for instar estimation that is applicable to Hyalessa fuscata nymphs. We first obtained morphometrics of nymphs in all stages. Second, we computed logarithm-transformation and principal component analysis to extract a transformed variable that captures most of the variance of morphological characteristics. Third, k-means were computed to divide the dataset into distinct clusters assuming four-, five- and six life-stage scenarios for the best interferences of life stages. Finally, simple linear regression analysis was conducted to compare and select the best fit model. Our result shows that five nymphal stages best fit for H. fuscata nymphs. This method is expected to provide an easy-to-handle ecological tool for the study of life history of cicadas as well as other insects that have long life cycles and multiple developmental stages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101952
JournalJournal of Asia-Pacific Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Hyalessa fuscata
  • K-means clustering
  • Life-stage delimitation
  • Linear regression
  • Principal component analysis


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