A Plant that Hops

Green Coneheaded Planthopper

Green Cone-headed Planthopper

During a brief respite from one of the downpours this past week I went out to the garden to see what was out and about. I noticed some movement on a flower stem and a close look revealed this well-camouflaged insect, a planthopper. Planthoppers appear to be less common than the generally smaller leafhoppers in my garden and meadow. And though they can hop to escape, they often walk with a slight waddle along their plant stem or remain motionless to hide. I coaxed this specimen onto my finger and brought it inside for some pictures.

Planthopper 1

Green Cone-headed Planthopper

This particular species appears to be the Green Cone-headed Planthopper, Acanalonia conica. They feed on a variety of plants by piercing them with their mouth-parts and ingesting the plant nutrients. Females lay eggs in the stems of various plants in late summer.

Planthopper

Green Cone-headed Planthopper

It is amazing how well the intricate wing patterns resemble the venation in a leaf. By setting the camera on a tripod I was able to move the lights around to better highlight the textures. This little guy was a cooperative subject and stayed on the stem all afternoon, probably thankful to be out of the monsoon that was happening out in the garden. I returned it at days end to continue its plant hopping ways.

4 thoughts on “A Plant that Hops

  1. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your website and would like to have information on any field trips you may direct. The Yellowstone pictures were incredible! Keep up this interesting work.

  2. So Mike……does the planthopper kill the plant when it sucks the nutrients out? Great pictures by the way. Sure wish I could see the garden the way you do!!!!

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