Jikradia Olitoria

The description of this species on bugguide.net reads: “variably light brown to grayish or bluish, sometimes yellowish or brownish-yellow”, which I find covers the entire color spectrum pretty well. The females have white stripes on their wings, except when they don’t; the males are generally a uniform color, whatever color they’ve chosen. The nymphs can run the complete spectrum, including bright red to bright blue, purple, green, yellow, and white. (Seriously, click on that link to see a selection of available shades.)

Bugguide goes on to describe the species as a “taxonomic nightmare”, with various experts arguing on whether or not there’s a subspecies called J. o. floridana, or one called J. o. borealis, and whether or not the huge variation of color means these are different species or just one very excitable one. The general consensus, at the moment, is that they are all the same species, despite being a veritable rainbow of colors, so I’m going with that.

So, basically, if you see a leafhopper that looks roughly like this, you can call it Jikradia olitoria, and it probably is. Here’s a couple of nymphs, in bright yellow and orange:

The orange nymph here is demonstrating a behavior of this species — it is rocking slowly back and forth, possibly to enhance camouflage as a piece of plant debris.

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