Monday, July 18, 2011

Leafhoppers -- Cicadellidae

I thought I would share some of my photos of a very abundant (approximately 20,000 species) insect that has very little press coverage, leaf hoppers. They belong to the family Cicadellidae in the order Hemiptera and like other members of that family they have piercing-sucking mouth parts. Those awful brown marmorated stink bugs that have been invading our homes are also Hemiptera. The leaf hoppers are much smaller and not as harmful to plants and don’t invade our homes.

Colladonus clitellarius (Saddled Leaf hopper)

They are attracted to lights and that is where most of these photos were taken. They are very small and hard to focus in my camera. When they see the big of my camera lens they take off in a run or hop to who knows where.

Draeculacephala zeae (Cicadelline Leafhopper)

Occasionally I have found them on plants like this Sharpshooter. Is is about twice the size of the others on this page and had the habit of running to the other side of the stem just as I had it in focus and before I took the photos. 

Paraulacizes irrorats (Speckled Sharpshooter)

Oncometopia orbona (Broaded-headed Sharpshooter)

They can be found in nearly every habitat that has vascular plants. The adults live for only a few months while they mate and lay eggs. The eggs are inserted into the tissue of the host plant where they are dormant for a while, often overwintering. The young nymphs feed on the plant sap and have about 5 moults before they are mature adults.

Ponana pectoralis

I found it interesting that they have an organ at the base of their abdomens called “tymbals” that are used to make sounds. Fortunately they are too faint for us to hear otherwise we would go crazy because there are so many of them.

Tylozygus bifidus

They are very tiny and range in size from 2 to 30 mm in length.  The one below is about 3 mm long.

Typhlocyba apicata (Typhlocybine  Leafhopper)


Ellen Rathbone said...

Such pretty little insects...even if they can be destructive to plants.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

What amazing variety, and so lovely they could be worn as jewelry. Thanks for showing us what it would be hard for us to see with our own eyes.