Treehopper (Ophiderma bimaculata)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Treehopper.
Updated: 6/19/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Treehoppers can leap great distances between plants to escape predators. They can be quite colorful and have horns that resemble prickles.
Treehoppers come in a variety of colors. There are many genera and each has a color and pattern variation or region of dominance. The protrusion, or 'horn', at the top of the head mimics a thorn and helps conceal the insect from predators when resting among plants. The bright coloration of some species may be another form of defense, giving predators pause when considering an attack on an insect with such alarming colors.
A mighty leap is what gave this insect its name. This remarkable ability ushers them quickly out of danger. Warnings to others nearby are given by vibrating the abdomen on a stem or leaf.
Adults can be found on their favorite plants, usually in the plant's 'elbows', where twig meets branch. They feed on the liquid from the plant, siphoning off what they want from the tender parts. Multiple Treehoppers feeding on a young plant can weaken the plant to death.
Females lay eggs in the tip of a twig, forcing them into small slits for protection. Because the tips of plants (apical meristems) are the site of continued growth, this damage can kill the twig, though the larvae will have long abandoned it before then.