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Lantana Treehopper - Aconophora compressa

Family Membracidae

This page contains pictures and information about Lantana Treehoppers that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Adult and nymphs, body length 8mm
The Lantana Treehoppers are also known as Lantana sap-sucking bugs. They are common in Brisbane but hardly be noticed. They camouflage very well on stem of host plants. The insects are brown in colour and look like thorns on the host plants. Once we learnt how to recognize them, we found them almost on every stem of  Lantana plants. 
 
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Lantana Treehoppers naturally occurs from Mexico to Columbia in America. They were introduced from Mexico to NSW and Queensland as the biological control agent to the weed Lantana. Adults and nymphs feed by sucking the sap from stems of host plants. This cause the branches dead and weaken the host plant. However, the Lantana Treehoppers are found affecting some non-targeting plant species as well. 
 
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The insect exudes a sugary solution known as honeydew from the plants. Like all other hopper species, when they are disturbed, they jump..
 
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Adults and different stages of nymphs can be found feeding on the same plant. 
 
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Insects in the family Membracidae have the pronotum extending back over the abdomen between wings. Many species also have the pronotum extending forward so that the insects look like thorns on the host plant.
 
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The Host Plant

Lantana - Most Wanted Weeds in Australia
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Lantana camara 
 
Lantana is listed as Weed of  National Significance - one of the  Most Wanted Weeds in Australia. Lantana is a serious weed problem in Brisbane bushlands. In 1995 Lantana Treehoppers were introduced from Mexico to NSW and Queensland as biological control agent to the weed Lantana. 
 
The Lantana Treehopper does not attack the purple or white flowered Lantana montevidensis
 

Reference and link:
1. Aconophora compressa  -  Australian Insect Common Names, 2005.
2. Aconophora compressa  -  Fletcher, M.J. and Larivire, M.-C. (2001 and updates).
3. Aconophora compressa  Alan Fletcher Research Station, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland, 2003.
4. Aconophora on fiddlewood trees -Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland, 2009. 

 

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Up ] [ Lantana Treehopper ] Banksia Treehopper ] Green Horned Treehopper ] Brown Horned Treehopper ] Acacia Horned Treehopper ] Tri-horned Treehopper ]

                                                

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Last updated: March 25, 2012.