Friday, August 10, 2012

Meet Igor, the Treehopper

A 3/8" treehopper with a humped pronotum
A 3/8" long treehopper with a humped pronotum
Our little native treehoppers (family Membracidae) often have an interesting shape to the dorsal side of the first thoratic segment, called the pronotum. This segment covers their heads and makes some of them look like humpbacks. Other treehoppers have a pronotum shaped like a thorn, horn or spine.

Treehopper (c) John Ashley
Treehoppers often provide parental care to their nymphs, and many have a mutualistic relationship (both benefit) with ants that is similar to that between ants and aphids. These treehoppers provide sweet "secretions" to ants in exchange for protection from predators.

The daily happenings on your yard plants might surprise you - but Igor's hump won't change sides.