Membracis Treehoppers and Nymphs

April 29th, 2012 - 6:15 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 4 Comments

~10mm | January 7, 2012 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

When I spotted a group of treehoppers like the one above, I settled in for a while. With such a beautiful subject, I was determined to get some good photos. The shot above is probably my favorite out of around 300 or so shots. I struggled to get something in the background to avoid the usual black background that usually happens with macro flash photos. A black background wasn’t going to serve very well for these mostly black treehoppers.

Not only are the adults pretty, but the nymphs are also attractive in their own way. I prefer the black background here.

5mm | Nymph

The treehoppers cluster together in small groups.

Adult with nymphs

Somewhat surprisingly, these treehoppers didn’t appear to be attended by any ants.

More nymphs

I thought this exuvium was interesting. The interior is orangish, like the spikes on the abdomen. I suppose the base color is really mostly orange with black spots. The white color must really just be white scales.

Exuvium

They were on a good sized tree.

Underside of host branch

While looking around for an identification, I encountered a similar looking species on this plate from the Biologia Centrali-Americana identified as Membracis foliata. This article indicates there’s been confusion around that species though, so it could very well be one of the other species mentioned there (unfortunately I can’t access the full text).

Subjects: Insects, Treehoppers, and True Bugs.
Places: Brazil, Minas Gerais, South America, and Tupaciguara.
Behaviors: Gregarious.
Life Stages: Adult and Immature.
Taxa: Class Insecta, Family Membracidae, and Order Hemiptera.
Colors: Black, Orange, and White.

4 Responses to “Membracis Treehoppers and Nymphs”

  1. This should be Membracis foliatafasciata (DeGeer, 1773), long confused with M. foliata but distinct by the posterior C-shaped marking not reaching the apex of the pronotum. I can send a PDF of the article you cite if desired.

    • Troy Bartlett says:

      Awesome, Ted. Thanks for checking for me. I’d love to have a copy if you don’t mind emailing it to me. I’m sure it’ll come in handy the next time I encounter another species in this genus.

  2. Also I forgot to mention that the coloration of the nymphs almost seems aposematic…

    I have wanted to find and photograph members of this genus for a long time. Lucky dog (and spectacular shots)!

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