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Here comes another sucker

November 24, 2019

Insects of the order Hemiptera, those that have sucking mouthparts, feature regularly in Focus on Fauna. These include cicadas, tree-hoppers, psyllids and scale. Well here’s another one.

Pictured below are the nymphs of a planthopper, so called because their defensive reaction is to jump free of danger. Adult planthoppers look like triangular spikes, often green in colour, on the stems of vegetation. In reality planthoppers are camouflaged by the shape and colour and move slowly to avoid detection.

Like all hemipterans the nymphs progress through several moulting stages until they finally become adult. Planthopper nymphs extrude a wax from the abdomen (picture) that aids in concealing  them from parasites or predators as the wax filaments can be spread out like a type of umbrella. It is also thought that because the nymphs do not have wings the filaments spread widely can act as a type of parachute if falling.

I had half a mind to call this blog Farting Fibre-optics.


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