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Oak Treehopper (Platycotis vittata)

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

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Image Credit: Matt T. from South LA, CA
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Image Credit: Michelle P. from Redding, CA
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Image Credit: Jon A. from Chico, CA
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With or without a horn, the Oak Treehopper still charms with its bright colors and giant leaps.

Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Oak Treehoppers are light blue with red stripes. Some may have yellow speckles. There is variation within the species, and individuals change color and shape as they mature. A horn on the head may or may not be present. The overhead view of a treehopper's body shape is like an isosceles triangle: wide at the head and narrow at the end of the wings. Transparent wings with black veins rest against the side of the body.

The Oak Treehopper female cuts into soft twigs and tucks her eggs into the sliver. This activity does not severely damage the tree, but it does typically leave small, speckled scars after eggs have hatched. Broods can have between 50 and 100 eggs, and females have been observed standing guard over the young nymphs just a hop away on another branch. Nymphs have red eyes and a red patch on the center of the black and white striped abdomen. They look like little armored bugs with big legs and spikes by its head. It is common to find clusters on them crawling over each other on a stem or branch.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Flying insect icon
Jumping insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Membracidae
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          Genus: Platycotis
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            Species: vittata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Platycotis vittata
Category: Cicada and Planthopper
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 13mm (0.35" to 0.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: blue, red, yellow
Descriptors: stripe, jump, hop, leap, tiny, small, flying, fast

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 9mm (0.4in) and 13mm (0.5in)
Lo: 9mm
Md: 11mm
Hi: 13mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Oak 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 Oak Treehopper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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