Water Lily Planthopper

Meet the water lily planthopper, Megamelus davisi. Despite appearances, this atomic-scale little being (5mm long) is fully grown, and the “shrek ears” are what his/her antennae normally look like.

Unlike most planthoppers, this one does not have wings, just the body plates that would protect the wings if they were there. This makes it look like an immature insect, or nymph, so much so that one of my first clues as to what this bug is, was a photo by Getty Images describing it as a nymph.

That thing that makes it look like it has eight, instead of six, legs is, in fact, a spike sticking out from the leg that the bug (this is a true bug) uses as an “oar” when it walks across water, to help locomote. The spike is called a calcar. You can see them a little more clearly in the Getty photo, and in this photo on bugguide.net.

These planthoppers live on (and eat) water lilies, hence the name.

This one was giving me some serious side-eye and refusing to stand still. I’m surprised I even spotted it on my kayak.

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