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!


holdingmoments said...

Fascinating insight into this tiny world.
I think I agree, the last hopper is the best.
Cracking set all round.

ADRIAN said...

These are brilliant. Something for me to aspire to. I am seeing lots of nymphs but very few adults. Perhaps another week will sort the job.

The Herald said...

Thanks Keith, you're right it's a fascinating world deep down in the
Yeh, that little treehopper is a beauty...[;o)

Adrian, thank you. The more I peer into the world of mini beasts the more I get hooked, it's an amazing world, I wish I'd taken the time to have learned more about it years ago.

Some of the nymphs are stunning little creatures.

Have fun...[;o)

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Trevor Long time since I saw you posting so lovely to see this post again and I see you are still persueing the small things in life!! These are fabulous images and like Keith says, the lakt one i the best. Have a wonderful weekend.

ADRIAN said...

What is the insect on your header? I forgot to ask if your Windows 10 update was a wander in the park. Anything has to be easier than Scorpion flies. I have failed miserably today.

Andrew Fulton said...

Stunning images Trevor...

The Herald said...

Thanks Margaret, it keeps my interest while the birds are in hiding...[;o)

Adrian, it's a Soldier Beetle Cantharis livida, I spent quite a few minutes watching as it tried to sort all those legs out and get a grip on that got there in the end!
I've not taken the plunge with Windows 10 yet...her who needs to be obeyed isn't convinced yet that we need to do it!!
There's plenty of Scorpion Flies around here to practice on at the moment...[;o)

The Herald said...

Andrew, thank you...[;o)

douglas mcfarlane said...

Weirdly I only really noticed the Red & Black froghopper for the first time this summer, I'm really only starting to notice the smaller things in life just lately. The last species is stunning. The detail is truly first class.

The Herald said...

Thanks Douglas. Watch out, once you get your eye in you'll be hooked and you'll be seeing 'bugs' everywhere! It's a fascinating and amazing mini world....[;o)

grammie g said...

Hi Trevor... Love seeing your photos of the mini community that lives in and about us LOL. I have that spit on my plants too, but haven't delved into the life inside that stuff. Strange fellows live there huh. Now I am scared to go in the garden HAHA. Interesting.


The Herald said...

Hi Grace...Glad you liked seeing the mini beasts, there's an amazing 'other' mini world living out there..if you dare look close!

You've not posted for some time, I've missed reading about natures happenings around your part of the world. I hope all is okay over there on the far side of the pond?...[;o)