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Flatid Planthopper (Flatormenis spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Flatid Planthopper

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Image Credit: Noah Blades Photography
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Some are as white as a snowflake, but all Flatid Planthoppers are challenging to catch as they flit about the foliage.

Updated: 08/31/2023; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Planthoppers are able to leap from far distances (given their size) from branch to branch or plant to plant. The Flatid Planthopper demonstrates this quality well. Its wings are completely white, or may be a shade of pale green in some individuals. Antennae extend from the side of the head just beneath the eyes, making it easier to differentiate them from leafhoppers and treehoppers. Eyes may be red, white, yellow, or green, but are generally easier to see because of the contrast with the white face and wings.

Planthoppers drink plant juices from stems and leaves as well as fruits, but do not cause significant harm. Some species may leave behind an unattractive, white waxy residue on branches and leaves, making them a nuisance on ornamental and nursery plants. Nymphs, or juveniles, often have tufts of this white, waxy material attached to the end of the abdomen. Filaments of the residue break off easily and stick to the plant. The waxy deposits are often mistaken for the kind of deposits left behind by pesky mealybugs or scale, so potential buyers may pass on buying what looks like an affected plant.

Look for Flatid Planthoppers on a variety of shrubs and trees like azaleas, crape myrtles, and orchard trees. The presence of the white, waxy residue may be an indication of a small population on that plant, but if adult planthoppers are absent, closer investigation should be made to ensure a more damaging insect is not leaving those deposits.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Flying insect icon
Jumping insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Flatidae
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          Genus: Flatormenis
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            Species: spp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Flatormenis spp.
Other Name(s): Mealy Flatid Planthopper
Category: Cicada and Planthopper
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 5mm (0.11" to 0.19")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; green
Descriptors: white; flying; fast; hop; snow; dust

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 3mm (0.1in) and 5mm (0.2in)
Lo: 3mm
Md: 4mm
Hi: 5mm

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 Flatid Planthopper 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 Flatid Planthopper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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