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Buffalo Treehopper (Stictocephala spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Buffalo Treehopper

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The popular Buffalo Treehopper is a tiny, green plant jumper with the horns and tail of a bison.

Updated: 05/16/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 for 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.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Buffalo-Treehopper

alfalfa; potato; trees; clover tomato; aster; goldenrod; various plants
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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmful insect icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

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

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Stictocephala spp.
Other Name(s): Treehopper
Category: Cicada and Planthopper
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 9mm (0.23" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; yellow; white; pink
Descriptors: flying; hopping; jumping; leaf-like; powdery; harmful

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 9mm (0.4in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 7.5mm
Hi: 9mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Buffalo Treehopper may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Buffalo Treehopper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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