Spur-legged Planthopper
Cixiid Planthopper 1
Cixiid Planthopper 2 
Cixiid Planthopper 3
Cixiid Planthopper 4
Green and Black P'hopper
Green and Mottled P'hopper
Long-nosed Lantern Fly
Achilid Planthopper 
Derbid Planthopper 
Issid Planthopper
Mango Planthopper
Pink Planthopper
Green Mottled Planthopper 
Eurybrachyid Biology
Green Red Wattle Hopper
Green Face Wattle Hopper
Teeth-marked Gum Hopper 
Green Face Gum Hopper
White-marked Gum Hopper 
Ripple-marked Gum Hopper
Eye-patterned Gum Hopper
Dardus Wattle Hopper
Spider-face Wattle Hopper 
Unknown Eurybrachyid
Palm Planthopper 
Passion-vine Hopper
Brown Ricaniid Planthopper

Other Hoppers


Guest book


Spider-face Wattle Hopper - Gelastopsis insignis

Family Eurybrachyidae 

This page contains pictures and information about Spider-face Wattle Hoppers that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia
Body length 9mm
Spider-face Wattle Hoppers are a bit smaller in size than those Platybrachys species that hat we found. They are brown in colour with red abdomen. The brown colours vary from pale brown to dark brown amount individual, but their patterns on wings are about the same. We call them Spider-face Wattle Hoppers because there are the patterns on its face mimicking jumper spider. Details we discussed below
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Some adults of this species have the white strip on wings and some have not. The abdomen is bright ping in colour, although hardly be seen, covered by wings when they are at rest. 
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Tens of them can be found on a small wattle tree. They seem prefer wattle trees of medium size, about one to two meter tall, of tree trunk about 100-200mm in diameter. They are seldom found on vert large wattle tree trunk. They are one of the most common planthopper species in Brisbane. 
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We found them in Karawatha Park in summer season. Karawatha Park is a Eucalyptus forest with different species of gum trees and wattle trees. 
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We found this planthopper on few different species of wattle trees. Once we recognized their host plants, they are not difficult to be found. Group of them can be found on the same plants.  
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We notice that some of them rested on stems with broken bark, where may be easier for them to feed. However, we are not sure if those broken bark are the result of their feeding or damaged by other animals.
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Above two pictures were taken in Alexandra Hill bushland. 
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We also found them in Toohey Forest during early winter. Both adults and nymphs were found on the same tree.
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Female and egg mass

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Female abdomen enlarged and covered with white material. The planthopper female is looking for a suitable site to lay eggs. Eggs are laid and covered with white waxy material on Wattle leaf, diameter 20-30mm. Pictures taken in Karawatha Forest during mid summer.
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1st instars, body length 3mm
They are found on the bottom side of a Acacia leaf during late summer in Alexandra Hill.   


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The adults and nymphs can be found on the same plant. The nymphs usually rested on young green stems.
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The nymph has a brown face, the spider face pattern is not obvious yet.   
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Jumping Spider Mimicking 

We noticed one interesting behaviour of this planthopper. It mimics the Jumping Spider.
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They like to rest on stems of about 10mm diameter. When we came close, they walked sideway and moved to the opposite side of the stem. This escape strategy was quite effective on stems of 10mm diameter. The group of planthoppers disappeared from our eyes in tenths of a seconds.
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When we came more closer, they walk forwards or backwards along the stem. They seldom change their facing direction unless walking backwards and blocked by something. They jumped and flied away when we touch them.    
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The hopper                                                                                                                                      Jumping spider, can be found on the same plant. 
With more observations, we found that sometimes we confused the planthopper with the jumping spider Zenodorus orbiculatus which are also very common on the same host tree stems. Looked closer to the planthopper, we noticed the eyes pattern on the planthopper's frons, which made us think it was a jumping spider. 
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The hopper                                                                                                                                      Jumping spider that can be found on the same plant. 
The planthopper may not look like a jumping spider in the human's eyes point of view. Imagine if you were an ant or a jumping spider walking along the 10mm thick stem, if you met the planthopper, most likely you will see the planthopper face to face. At this angle, the planthopper looks like a jumping spider.
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This also explained why the planthopper only move sideway, forwards and backwards but seldom turn around. Because if it turns, the mimicking fails.
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The jumping-spider-mimicking may help the planthopper to avoid some predators, such as ants and even the jumping spiders. We did see the Zenodorus orbiculatus prey on ant. 
Together with our observations on another planthopper Platybrachys vidua, its backwards movement and eyes-pattern on wing tips to mimic larger animal. We speculate the planthoppers adapted the backward movement first, and then eyes-pattern on frons and on wing tips individually later in the journey of evolution. 
We have more discussions in our Mimicry and Camouflage pages.

The Host Plants 

We found this planthoppers on the following species of wattles.
Black Wattle
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Acacia leiocalyx subsp. leiocalyx, family Mimosaceae 
Black Wattle
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Acacia leiocalyx subsp. herveyensis, family Mimosaceae 
Golden Wattle
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Acacia fimbriata, family Mimosaceae                                                                                              Golden Wattle flowering in winter
The planthoppers can also be found on Golden Wattle. 

1. Gelastopsis insignis - Fletcher, M.J. and Larivière, M.-C. (2001 and updates).
2. Gelastopsis insignis - Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of the Environment and Heritage.
3. Maon sinuatus Fletcher, M.J. and Larivière, M.-C. (2001 and updates).
4. Revision of the Eurybrachidae (IV) - CONSTANT JEROME, The Australian genus Gelastopsis KIRKALDY, 1906 (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Eurybrachidae), 2005.  

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Last updated: April 11, 2012.