- This page contains pictures and information about Leafhoppers, Treehoppers and Planthoppers
that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
- All leafhoppers, treehoppers and planthoppers are sapsuckers which feed on the
leaves, twigs, branches and/or trunk of the host tree.
- Leafhoppers, Treehoppers and Planthoppers have the move
aerodynamic-shaped body in the insect world. This is shaped by evolution. All
of them are strong jumpers. When jump, they have the highest speed in the
insect world. Most ambush predators do not target at them because of their
high speed of escape. Some other insects even mimic
treehoppers to cheat predators. All hoppers are wonderful to witness in person or even just admire the insects uniqueness in
Superfamily CICADOIDEA - Hairy Cicadas and
Cicadas are also in Suborder Auchenorrhyncha but we discussed about
them in another web page. Cicadas are well known because their 'song' is the back ground noise here
in summer. Their empty shells often seen on tree trunks and fences. The
young nymphs live underground suck the roots of trees. They may live
underground for years, come up from soil in summer, have the final moulting
and leave those empty shells. This is the male who sing the song to attract
female. Each species have different 'songs'.
Superfamily CERCOPOIDEA - Froghoppers and Spittlebugs
Their nymphs produce 'spittle' clinging to the stems of shrubs or small
trees to reduce the risk of dehydration or to deter parasites. Those spittle
is sometimes known as cuckoo-spit. When carefully removed those
'spittle', we saw an insect nymph hiding inside.
Superfamily MEMBRACOIDEA (CICADELLOIDEA) -
Leafhoppers and Treehoppers
Leafhoppers are tent-shaped insects which resemble
small cicadas. Some species are green in colour, some brown and
some black with white, red or creamy-yellow markings. The nymphal stages resemble the adults but wings are absent.
- Most leafhopper species live in colonies
of mixed stages while few other species are solitary. Several species are
attended by ants which collect the sugary secretions (honeydew) produced by
the leafhoppers. An airborne fungal disease – sooty mould
– is sometimes associated with the honeydew.
They are small, plants feeding insects ranging in colour from green,
through yellow-green to brown. They can be found on tree trunks, stems and
leaves. They feed by sucking the sap of plants. All of them jump, so their
name hoppers. Some of their adults are active flyer.
Members in this family have the enlarged pronotum extending back over
the abdomen between wings, which gives them the bizarre looking body shape.
Many species also have the pronotum extending forward so that they are
horned. Some may mimic thorns on their host plant.
- A planthopper is an insect in the group of Fulgoromorpha within the bug
The group contains only a single superfamily Fulgoroidea.
- The Superfamily Fulgoroidea contains large number of insects of very
diverse forms. All
of them are strong jumpers and commonly called Planthoppers. Their antennae situated beneath eyes. There is a
unique character in this group: for all species, the base segment of the antenna is much thicker than the rest of the antenna.
Wax plates common in females
for producing wax to cover eggs. The nymphs usually have two long tails. Nymphs
and adults are plant-feeders, feed by sucking the sap of the host tree.
Cixiidae- Cixiid Planthoppers
- Cixiid Planthopper generally are brown or black with wings that
are transparent with brown veins. Their nymphs are primarily
root-feeders, some found in ants nest.
- Family Fulgoridae - Lantern
- The Australian species in this family are medium in size and usually
brightly coloured. They feed through bark on trees and woody shrubs. We
only found one species in this family, which was dull brown in colour.
Members in this family usually have the triangular and broad fore wings. They look like
green triangular plant spines when they rest on the tree trunk. Their broad
triangular forewings held roof-like over their body make them usually easily
Members in this family are medium in size with broad body. They have
mottled forewings and coloured abdomen, usually brown, red, yellow or orange
Lophopidae - Lophopid Planthoppers
The adults in this family have elongated transparent fore wings. This
is a small hopper family. All of them jump, so is their common name
This family contains the Passionvine Hopper. They are common in Brisbane
bush. When disturbed, they jump away with a loud 'click' sound and
disappeared in the air.
- Reference and links:
- 1. Insects
of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University
Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 474.
- 2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus &
Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p165.
- 3. Auchenorrhyncha keys - Fletcher, M.J. (2009 and updates). Identification keys and checklists for the leafhoppers, planthoppers and their relatives occurring in Australia and neighbouring areas (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha).
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[ Superfamily Fulgoroidea - Planthoppers ]