a Pavonia sharpshooter leafhopper, Cicadelidae, from Mt. Kenya Forest, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed on Pavonia (Malvaceae) at Mt. Kenya Forest, Kenya. 2 June 2017. This adult insect as is about 4 mm long.

Leafhoppers are a very large group of insects comprising thousands of species. Some are brightly colored while others are cryptic in the pattern. Their bullet shape is highly aerodynamic allowing these bugs to slice through viscous air once the third pair of legs lets loose a saltatorial kick. The eyes are conspicuously large.

Leafhoppers, like all true bugs, feed by inserting their stylet mouthparts into plant tissue and with a powerful pump extract the phloem and other plant fluids. Really, plant sap has too much water, so much so the insects must exctete the excess which they can eject from the tip of their abdomen with considerable velocity, thus the name sharpshooter.

Cicadelidae -- Leafhopper Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens. Page created 3 May 2018.