Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tree Hopper

This interesting looking little insect is a Tree Hopper (Entylia carinata). They are very tiny, only  measuring approximately 1/4 of an inch. They can be a variation of many different colors, which apparently caused much confusion among early scientists. These early researchers believed each specimen to be a completely different species. Even if they were found on the same plant, feeding in the same manner. Many years passed, and much additional research has been done and we now know them to be the same species, just with color variants. The nymphs of tree hoppers will often be found with ants, these ants tend to the hopper nymphs, protecting them in exchange for honey dew. This honey dew is an excretion that the nymph produces from anal glands. It has a sugary-sweet taste that ants find irresistible.This relationship works well for each species. The little nymphs are protected from other insects that may wish to dine on them. The ants will chase of or harm any intruding insect. The ants get a sugary treat that gives them much needed nutrition.
Tree hoppers feed on a wide variety of herbaceous plants. Sometimes causing damage, if they are in large enough numbers.


  1. Hellooo MObugs!

    We've been away for a month with not much access to computers, and this is our first blog-visit since we've returned. Thanks for greeting us with this amazing little creature! We're especially enchanted with its tiger-striped eyes. The nymph/ant relationship is fascinating, by the way!

  2. Welcome back Kenton & Rebecca. I hope you were away having lots of fun adventures, and if so I can't wait to hear about them. These little tree hoppers are so wonderful. So very tiny, it would be easy to walk right past one and never know it was there. Thanks for your kind comments.