Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Treehoppers – Membracidae

Glossonotus univittatus (Hump Back)

For a while I was lumping these treehoppers in with my leafhopper photos but after reading about them and trying to identify my photos I have learned that they are in the family Membracidae which is also in the order Hemiptera. Once I started looking at the Membracidae it became obvious which was which. The treehoppers have an enlarged and ornate pronotum which sometimes look like thorns, seeds and other items to help in camouflage. I did read rhR they think this is really a modified third set of wings. They have the general appearance of a little insect wearing its most spectacular helmet.

Entylia carinata

There are about 3,200 described species and many more are being discovered in the rainforest and some of those are really bizarre. Like the leafhoppers they live only for a few months but they have been on our planet as a species for at least 40 million years.

Cyrtolobus tuberosus

Some lay their eggs in the plant or deposit them on the surface of the plant. The one I found below has eggs on top of the plant and she is guarding them. It is a Publilia modesta and you can see she is being attended by a few ants. As pay for their guard duty they collect sweet honeydew from her and her young. This is very similar to ant’s relationship to aphids.

Publilia modesta 

You can see the mother on top and the nymph at the bottom. It looks like the nymph has all the attention.

The relationship between animals is fascinating isn't it, especially when they both benefit.

This little nymph was found on one of my friends arms after a day in Panther State Forest during the BBC foray. It was in a big hurry to get away and would not sit still for a good photo, even though it is blurry you can get an good idea of what it looked like. It probably landed on her cloths while we were out looking for bees.
Ceresa Treehopper nymph

They are often attracted to lights where I took most of these photos.

Atymna querci
Perhaps a Cyrtholobus
Cyrtolobus dixianus (Tyrtolobus Treehopper)


Anonymous said...

Nice post!

I think the "Ophiderma sp." is actually Cyrtolobus due to the crested rather than rounded pronotum - sorry, I don't know which one, though.

squirrel said...

Thank you "beetles in the bush", I appreciate your expert knowledge. You have a great blog and I love to visit.

Anonymous said...