Leafhoppers Facts

Leafhoppers Facts
Leafhopper is a type of insect. There are more than 20.000 species of leafhoppers that can be found in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical areas around the world. Leafhoppers inhabit forests, grasslands, farms, agricultural fields, backyards and gardens. They are classified as agricultural pest in most parts of the world due to ability to transmit viral and bacterial diseases and produce severe damage on crops. Leafhoppers decrease yield of apples, grapes, roses, spinach, cantaloupe, cucumber, potato and many other, commercially important types of plants. Leafhoppers are numerous in the wild (they are not on the list of endangered species).
Interesting Leafhoppers Facts:
Leafhoppers can reach 0.25 to 0.5 inches in length.
Most species of leafhoppers are brown, green or yellow colored. They are often covered with spots, bars and other vividly colored markings.
Leafhoppers have blunt head, slender body and two pairs of wedge-shaped wings. Hind legs are equipped with spines that are arranged in four rows.
Leafhoppers are herbivores (plant-eaters). They have mouth designed for the extraction of sap from the leaves, grass and fruits.
Leafhoppers release sweet substance called honeydew after the meal. This byproduct of digestion quickly destroys plant tissue.
Leafhoppers are able to jump upwards, backwards and sideways thanks to specially designed hind legs. They are also able to fly. This type of movement (flying) is especially important when they need to escape from the predators.
Some species of leafhoppers are migratory. They travel toward the southern, warmer habitats that provide food during the cold period of the year.
Some leafhoppers hibernate during the winter.
Leafhoppers have two flexible panels called "tymbals" on the bottom part of their abdomen. Tymbals produce vibrating, inaudible sound which can startle the predators.
Some predators avoid brightly-colored leafhoppers because bright colors usually indicate that animal produces and releases toxins when it is threatened. Despite their vivid colors, leafhoppers are not poisonous.
Natural enemies of leafhoppers are insectivorous mammals, birds, lizards and spiders.
Most species of leafhoppers mate during the spring and summer. Female inserts eggs into the tissue of leaves and stems. Most eggs hatch after couple of days. Eggs of some species remain dormant throughout the winter and hatch at the beginning of the spring.
Most leafhoppers produce 2 to 3 (rarely up to 6) generations per year. Leafhoppers have incomplete metamorphosis. Nymph emerges from the egg and transforms into adult insect after some time.
Nymphs look like miniature version of adults, but without wings. Leafhoppers spend larval stage on the bottom part of the leaves, where they are less visible for the predators. After 12 to 30 days and 5 molting sessions, nymphs finally transform into winged adults.
Leafhopper (adult) can survive from couple of weeks to one year, depending on the species.

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