DALAPAX POSTICA (PLANT HOPPERS)
These fascinating insects are members of flatid plant hoppers and have a significant role to play in our ecosystem. With over 1,446 species distributed among 299 genera, these plant hoppers exhibit diverse characteristics and behaviours.
Flatid plant hoppers are small, jumping insects and are closely related to leafhoppers and cicadas within the insect world. Key characteristics include unusually angled or pointed head shapes with the antennae attached below the eyes, on the sides of the head. Their green wings and large, fan-like triangular hind wings are often covered with a dusty layer of white wax.
The Life Cycle of a plant hopper
- Eggs: Laid on leaves, usually in a row.
- Nymphs: Hatch from eggs and produce white, waxy filaments as they feed on plant sap.
- Adults: Develop wings and continue feeding on plants.
Flatid plant hoppers primarily feed on the sap of various plants, using their specialised mouthparts to pierce plant tissues and extract the nutritious juices. While feeding, they produce a sweet substance called ‘honeydew’ that attracts other insects like ants.
Interactions with Ants
Flatid plant hoppers and ants have a mutualistic relationship. Plant hoppers provide ants with honeydew and in return the ants protect plant hoppers from predators and parasites. This interaction benefits both species and contributes to their overall success in their habitats.