Plant-Insect Interaction: Treehopper nymphs on a black walnut

Treehopper nymphs (family Membracidae) on a black walnut (Juglans nigra, Junglandaceae). Photographed 06/14/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

The other day I found a ton of these treehopper nymphs (family Membracidae) feeding on a black walnut tree (Juglans nigra, Junglandaceae).  They seem consistent with nymphs of the genus Enchenopa.

Treehopper nymph (family Membracidae) on a black walnut (Juglans nigra, Junglandaceae). Photographed 06/14/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

These young bugs were congregating mostly around the leaf axils (the acute angles where the leaflets meet the stems).  Treehoppers tend to be very host specific, and it’s likely that these hoppers feed only on walnuts.  Although Membracids feed on trees and some other plants, only a few species are considered to be economically important pests (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).

Treehopper nymph (family Membracidae) on a black walnut (Juglans nigra, Junglandaceae). Photographed 06/18/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Treehopper adults are known for their enlarged and sometimes ornate pronotums.  Some of them look humpbacked, some resemble thorns, some have keels, and others are even more ornate.  The nymphs shown here will develop some such structure with a future molt.

Literature cited:

Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson.  2005.  Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects.  Seventh Edition.  Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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