Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Buffalo Treehopper - (Stictocephala spp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/12/2013

The commonly sighted Buffalo Treehopper is a tiny, green plant jumper with the 'horns' of a bison.

Easily recognizable by its greenish-yellow color and its humpback-like appearance, Buffalo Treehoppers have large heads that resemble those of a buffalo. They are related to cicadas and have wings that allow them to move quickly from plant to plant, where they lay eggs as well as collect a meal.

Buffalo Treehoppers feed on the sap of various parts of plants including the leaves, fruit, stems, vegetables and flowers. They have an appetite for diversity and are capable of causing both crop plants, garden plants and ornamentals to wilt and possibly die. For this reason, they are considered a pest.

Adults are most active in the summer and they begin to cluster together in the autumn to overwinter in debris, leaf litter or other areas that can offer some degree of insulation. Females cut a curved sliver into fresh, green stems and lay their eggs inside it or underneath leaves. The newly hatched nymphs will then drink the sap from the plant to the point the stem collapses.

Nymphs and adults have the same body appearance, though the younger nymphs may have a few pink antennae and a white powdery substance that eventually wears off. Larvae are covered in short spines that also eventually wear off.

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Category: Cicada and Similar
Common name: Buffalo Treehopper
Scientific Name: Stictocephala spp.
Other Names: Treehopper

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Hemiptera
      Family: Membracidae
       Genus: Stictocephala
        Species: spp.

Adult Size (Length): 6mm to 9mm (0.24in to 0.35in)

Identifying Colors: green; yellow; white; pink

Additional Descriptors: flying, hopping, jumping, leaf-like, powdery, harmful

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.