Thursday, 23 June 2016
As it's National Insect Week this week (sorry, a bit late!) I thought I'd do a post on some of the 'smaller' insects that can be found, if you look close enough, in most vegetated habitats.
Hoppers...found in the suborder of Auchenorrhyncha and divided into several families...Frog, Tree, Leaf , Lace, Plant etc....are the tiny bugs that are usually only seen as they hop (there's the clue in the name!) from leaf to leaf, sometimes quite long distances for such a small bug, when disturbed from their resting spots on the vegetation.
I'll start with one of the larger, and more conspicuous, ones...
The Red-and-black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) is 9-11mm long. Common and widespread throughout Britain where it can be found in woodland rides and open habitats from April to August.
We're all familiar with seeing 'Cuckoo Spit' the white froth found on plant stems almost everywhere, it houses the nymphs of the Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumaris).
I found some in the garden the other day that had been partially washed away by the rain revealing the small, about 3mm long, nymph inside.
After a short photo session it decided to go for a wander..looks a bit grumpy, I guess it was fed up with me 'flashing' at it?
The adult ( 5-7mm long) doesn't look much happier!
It can be found in variable colour forms from May to October.
This Lacehopper (Tachycixius pilosus) is 4-6mm long and one of the twelve species of lacehoppers that can be found in woodland (leaves) throughout England from May to July.
The next two images are of Leafhoppers of which there are around 285 different species to be found in Britain and Ireland.
Empoasca decipiens and Empoasca vitis are very common and abundant and difficult to tell apart, they are both 3-4mm long and green! The main visual distinguishing feature is that E. vitis has a clear panel running along the forewings.
E. decipiens (I think?) can be found in low vegetation from June to December.
E. vitis (I think?) can be found all year round on deciduous trees during the summer and evergreen trees, on which it hibernates, during the winter.
Another, larger, Leafhopper is Idiocerus herrichi. About 6-7mm long, it can be found from August to October on Willows, mainly in southern England.
I think this next one is my all time favourite 'little bug'.
The Horned Treehopper (Centrotus Cornutus) is one of only two British treehoppers. 5-8mm long, it can be found on herbs and shrubs along woodland rides and similar habitats from April to August.
I think it must have some sort of persecution complex as it has a menacing looking 'face' to the front and....
...for rearward protection, a 'wolf' on it's back!