TREEHOPPER (Heteronotus sp. Family Membracinae) ©Alex WIld
Maquipucuna reserve, Pichincha, Ecuador
Treehoppers are best known for their enlarged and ornate pronotum, which most often resembles thorns, apparently to aid camouflage. But in some species, the pronotum grows to a horn-like extension, and even more bizarre and hard-to-describe shapes are also found (like the one pictured).
Thorn bugs, due to their unusual appearance, have long interested naturalists. There is no way to tell the male and females apart other than looking at the male genitalia. Individual treehoppers usually live for only a few months, but they belong to a lineage that is at least 40 million years old.
Like the adults, the nymphs also feed upon sap, and unlike adults, have an extensible anal tube that appears designed to deposit honeydew away from their body. The tube appears to be longer in solitary species that are rarely ant attended. It is important for sap-feeding bugs to dispose of honeydew, as otherwise it can become infected with sooty moulds.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treehopper
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