Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hopping mad down in Kent...

Guess what ? 

Yep! More rain, how depressing. Oh well, could be worse? At least I have an excuse for not cutting the lawn. As somebody recently remarked, "We seem to get rain every other day." A fairly accurate assessment and that means at least I can get out with the camera on the good days. 

The old orchard behind our house continues to fascinate me with its ever diverse inhabitants, and over the past few weeks, I've been concentrating on leaf hoppers. I thought it'd be fun to see how many species I could find and photograph in this little area.

Alebra albostriatella
This leafhopper of the family Cicadellidae is a common species found on oak across the U.K. 3.5-4.5mm.

Of course (and here comes the excuse) many, in fact most of these little hoppers are really beyond the reach of my 100mm macro lens. That is to say, to get decent detail they are. Therefore, I've had to resort to using all kinds of reversed lenses attached to the camera, as well as extension tubes and generally anything that will increase magnification a bit. 
This means that the quality of the shots may not be as good as I'd like, yardy, yardy, get the idea?

Cicadella viridis
Cicadella viridis is a relatively large and colourful species associated with damp grassland. The forewings in females are turquoise green and in males are a much darker blue-purple, making this a male. This is also probably an immature specimen as the adults can reach around 8mm and this was little more than half that.

Evacanthus interruptus

A striking leafhopper that is fairly common in grasslands and scrub. The black patterning is variable but the wings are always shorter than the abdomen in females. 5mm.

Lassus lanio
Another hopper from the cicadellidae family that can be found on oak. These are even larger at around 7mm+ making them quite conspicuous- adults can be found June-October.

Idiocerus confusus?
I hope my i.d. is O.K. for this one-these can be tricky to get right and another possibility is I. nitidissimus? Anyhow, assuming it is correct.
This is another fairly widespread species, this time to be found on salix/willow and is about 6mm in length. Just to further confuse matters, they can sometimes be referred to as 'Populicerus confusus'.

Typhlocyba quercus

At only 3mm this is one of the smaller leafhoppers but it has superb markings.  No other leafhopper has markings like this, although the colouring and intensity can vary. 

Issus coleoptratus
One of my personal favourites here. Issus coleoptratus is a distinctive species in the Issidae family. Found on a range of woody plants and most common deciduous trees.

A really strange looking hopper to follow...

Ledra aurita nymph

The three photos above are all of Ledra aurita and show a nymph (juvenile) of the species.
These are rarely seen because of the excellent camouflage but are found locally across southern Britain on lichen-covered trees. This species can reach a whopping 13-18mm and is the only member of Ledrinae to occur in Europe.

Ledra aurita (adult)
The unmistakeable adults have these ear-like projections on the pronotum and can stridulate quite loudly.

Graphocephala fennahi nymph

 The Rhododendron Leafhopper.July-November: 8-10mm. An introduced species that is native to the USA. It can now be found quite widely in the U.K. One of the few insects to use rhododendron as a food-plant. I was pleased to get the photo of the nymph pictured above as this is the first year I've spotted any.

Graphocephala fennahi (adult)

A hopper 'moult'

By now I guess you're thinking, "By 'eck! That J.J. sure knows his hoppers" But the truth is that I probably found more that I couldn't i.d. than I could. This next section then, included the ones that I can't be sure of...

Eurhadina pulchella?

Philaenus species?

Aphrophora alni?

Then there are the unknown hopper nymphs...

Fieberiella florii?

I've no doubt that there may be doubles of some of these hoppers but if anyone has suggestions for an i.d. on the ones I've been unable to sort out, or indeed,any corrections on the ones I have, I'd be pleased to hear from you.

Not a bad haul for such a small area and there no doubt are lots more to find yet?

Until the next time then...


  1. Hi JJ,
    Fantastic blog with some very interesting facts & photos..

  2. Hi Mark. Thanks for that, appreciate you taking time to comment, especially given the difficulties you experienced!


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