Homaemus proteus

Meet one of five species of shield-backed bugs in the genus Homaemus: this is Homaemus proteus, notable for those two lovely spots on its scutellum (although not all individuals have the spots, and some have much bigger spots — I wonder if this might be a nymph rather than a color morph, but this is…

Acutalis tartarea (Treehopper)

This strange little beastie does not have a common name, alas, although I’ve seen it on Project Noah as “Black-veined treehopper”, which works. It is notable for its bright green abdomen, black “painted” lines along the wing veins, partially clear wings, and a wide, dark brown “stripe” on the pronotum. The pattern of coloration varies…

Clastoptera querci

Spittlebugs are related to leafhoppers and other tiny, hopping insects which suck juices out of plants. Spittlebugs are unique in that they hide in little white frothy clouds of “spit” (hence the name) as nymphs. (It’s not actually spit. It’s actually secreted from the, um, other end of the insect.) Adult spittlebugs do not hide…

Melanoliarus sp. Planthopper

It’s hard to tell scale in macro photography, but this planthopper was relatively huge — almost 1 cm — and was very patient while I got some gorgeous photos. Melanoliarus has about 48 species in North America, and they can only be firmly identified by looking at the genitals of the males, so Melanoliarus sp….

Oak Treehopper

I love treehoppers, and it was a delightful treat to find this brilliantly-colored white one with bright red eyes, orange and black stripes, and a prominent horn. The oak treehopper (Platycotis vittata) is generally about 8-9 mm long, not including the horn, which doesn’t seem to be related to the insect’s gender, and indeed may…

Hieroglyphic Cicada

Due to some unfortunate misadventures in my youth, I’m generally avoidant of cicadas, even knowing that they are harmless. The hieroglyphic cicada (Neocicada hieroglyphica), at only 32mm long, is smaller than the cicadas I remember hatching in jars when I was younger (only to be dive-bombed by the resulting angry adults when I tried to…

Palm Flatid Planthopper

Having gotten a camera that can make these little insects visible, I’ve decided that I love planthoppers. They look like tiny, perpetually-startled, neon aliens. The palm flatid planthopper, Ormenaria rufifascia, is a charming, Muppet-faced, bright green species, with bright orange and blue stripes on its head. Adults are relatively big for hoppers, about 11mm in…

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…

Harmostes Serratus

Harmostes serratus is distinguished from other North American species in the genus by the toothed (serrated) edges of the pronotum (the bit behind the head). This little dude is in the family Rhopalidae, known as “scentless plant bugs” because, although these insects look like and are (distantly) related to stink bugs, they are not actually…

Waterlettuce Leafhopper

This tiny green beastie is a waterlettuce leafhopper, Draeculacephala inscripta. Just try to un-see that grumpy little face in the middle of its back — that’s actually one of the distinguishing characteristics for this species! (“Scutellum often with distinctive pattern of black dots.”) The other big feature on this guy is the handsome black scrollwork…

Black Stink Bug

This is the black stink bug, Proxys punctulatus, a relatively benign insect found over most of the southern US and down into the Carribbean. It’s about 12mm long, black, with spotted black and cream legs, with a long, pointy face, banded antennae, and a black body with a single white spot in the middle. Like…

Scaphytopius Elegans

A beautiful little leafhopper with, alas, no common name, Scaphytopius elegans can be found all over the southern US, from Californa to Texas, Florida, and North Carolina. Adults are pale reddish brown with a wide cream or yellow midline stripe, striped eyes, a pale transverse stripe with black borders crossing the “nose” and going through…

Acanalonia Servillei

This charming little planthopper nymph is in the process of destroying the leaf of this succulent by sucking all the useful stuff out of the stem. As adults, Acanalonia servillei are charming little bright green wedges with a yellow dorsal stripe and red eyes; the nymphs are white, and look like they have brown eyeshadow….

Rugosana Querci

Another no-common-name, no description on Wikipedia, nothing beyond “It’s a leafhopper”. I understand the problems involved with trying to do field research on an animal 1/4″ long, but it just seems sad that just about all I can say about this striking little insect is “It’s a leafhopper”. Bugguide.net tells me it’s probably a second…

Omolicna Joi

The identification here makes me nervous, since Omolicna joi was only recently discovered (2014) and the pattern on the wings on this little dude/ette really reminds me of the much more common citrus flatid planthopper, Metcalfa pruinosa. I always try to assume that I’ve found the more common/boring species, because who the hell am I…

Bothriocera Cognita

This tiny, black and white spotted cixiid planthopper does not seem to have a common name. Bothiocera cognita is about 3-5mm long, and appears to range through the southeastern US. Other than that, it’s a nondescript little planthopper, without even a Wikipedia entry. Planthoppers, in general, live on, and eat plants, eating the roots as…