Leaping for entomological awesomeness

When do you make the leap?  When is the time that you look at your current situation and decide the grass may be greener on the other side?  Or when do you decide the grass may be dead on the other side and choose to stay?  What factors influence you to leap?  Why jump?

 

planthopper
Look at those amazing wing veins.  Nogodinid planthopper.

Many like to anthropomorphize insects; the insects “want” to jump, they “like”
jumping, they “think” it is better somewhere else.  While I won’t get into the
argument about insects having feelings and empathy, there is usually some external factor that registers in the simple grouping of neurons that sends signals to the legs to jump.  Maybe it’s a predator.  Maybe the food is gone “here” and it goes “there”.  Maybe it is a heat or light influence.

 

homoptera-fulgoroideaPlanthoppers (superfamily Fulgoroidea) are a large group of true bugs (Hemiptera) found nearly everywhere worldwide, even north of the Artic Circle!  There is a huge diversity among the  over 12,000 species and many tropical species are brilliantly colored.  All are plant feeders though, some causing significant damage and transmitting plant diseases.  They can be either host specific, feeding on only one type of plant, or polyphagus.

Lanternflies are a group of planthoppers that have an enlarged protuberance on their

Pyrops
Pyrpos sp.

head.  Especial the peanut headed lanternfly (Fulgora laternaria).  They were originally thought to have light-producing capabilities, but none have ever been found to have bioluminescence.  Despite the diversity of this group, and the many incredible photos of many species, very little is known of their evolutionary history.

 

Many species have nymphs with wax extruding capabilities.  This wax serves a number of purposes.  First, it is defensive.  It doesn’t look too tasty to most predators and it also makes them look bigger and possibly scarier to potentially hungry animals looking for a helpless snack.  It’s also for flying.  Okay, maybe not flying per se, but gliding and controlling their descent when they hop from one location to another.  It’s their parachute!  The waxy secretion also serves as a water barrier to keep water out or to keep them from dehydrating.  They are great jumpers, easily flicking themselves into the air to travel from one place to the next.

 

I wish I had it that easy.  Predator comes by my office and I jump away.  Situation is “not good” here, I go away.  So while I try to figure out if I should take the chance and jump, like and share this hopping good article won’t you?  That would be entomologically awesome (and so is this video)!

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