Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Introduction to Treehoppers

Treehoppers are marvelous little creatures from the family Membracidae. They're in the same suborder as the cicadas (Auchenorrhyncha), and were formerly classified in the order Homoptera. Treehoppers can be pretty tiny, only millimeters in length. The one in the picture below has a dime for scale. They're quite interesting creatures, and can vary a lot in their shape, often sporting horns and structures that allow for nice mimicry. 

 Entylia carinata, a common species in Ohio

This particular species, Entylia carinata, formerly had the species name of bactriana, after the Bactrian camel, which has two humps. The similarities are striking.

 The moniker carinata means shell-shaped.

Fun fact: the guy on the left is the man who named the species as carinata, Johann Reinhold Forster. Painting by John Francis Rigaud, 1780. Image credit to Wikipedia.

 Notice how its body is shaped to mimic a leaf, right down to the notch near its head.

For some more information about treehoppers, check out the following links:
General Treehopper Information
Pictures & Life Cycle Information
Short Tidbit of Information
Marvelous Array of Pictures, Courtesy of Bugguide.net

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