Buffalo Treehopper (Stictocephala spp.)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Buffalo Treehopper, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 2/13/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The popular Buffalo Treehopper is a tiny, green plant jumper with the horns and tail of a bison.
Easily recognizable by its greenish color and its humpback-like appearance, Buffalo Treehoppers have large heads that resemble those of a buffalo. Two protuberances come to a point at the widest part of the head. Their black tips mimic horns. The ridge on its back is brown and yellow and ends in a 'tail'. Light yellow spots freckle the sides of the green body. Buffalo Treehoppers 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 meals. 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 pink antennae and a white powdery substance on them that eventually wears off. Larvae are covered in short spines that also eventually wear off.
Buffalo Treehopper adults also 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 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.