Brownish? Check. Pale veins? Check. ‘The vertex has two streaks at the anterior edge which may join in the middle’? (You can’t really see this in my photos – I had to enlarge them to find them. Also, if, like me, you aren’t familiar with the anatomy of a leafhopper, the British Bugs website has an illustrated page of bug bits.) Check. ‘And there is an orange-brown transverse band behind this’? Check. ‘The anterior of the pronotum has variably dark markings’? Check.
Six checks is a winner! This little leafhopper, a new find for me, is Speudotettix subfusculus. Look for it on trees, especially Oak trees.
This new-to-me leafhopper, from Saturday’s woodland wander, has now been confirmed by the national recorder as Arboridia ribauti. When I checked the Aderyn database, I found there have been only two previous Welsh records, both in the Brecon Beacons. It’s amazing what a little leaf turning can turn up!
Given my frequent recent posts, you might have been forgiven for thinking that I would choose leafmines for the letter L, but no. Leafhoppers, more formally known as the Cicadellidae, are another family of insects I sometimes dabble in but am determined to look more closely at in 2022 as there are so many species lurking under leaves that I have yet to discover. Back in July, I blogged about the first new species I was able to add to my list for 2021, Eupterycyba jucunda.
And, more recently, on 28 November, I found another, Linnavuoriana sexmaculata. Once again, this was found by turning over leaves, in this case one of the Salix genus – willows, sallows, osiers, as we more commonly call them. Though some species of leafhopper can be tricky to identify, both its host plant and the bug’s markings (sexmaculata means six-spotted) made this one a little easier.
I just happened to be examining the leaves of a local Italian alder tree on Saturday (looking for signs of the Crypturaphis grassii aphids I found on this tree last December) when I spotted first one, then another, then several more leafhoppers, all with quite distinctive markings so, of course, I took photos. When I later checked the British Bugs website, I was able to identify them as Eupterycyba jucunda, a new species for me.
The website notes that this species is ‘found predominantly on alder in England and Wales, as far north as Lancashire’, and that the adults can be seen between July and October. Looking at the photos on the website, I think the small black-and-white objects I also saw (photos below) are actually the empty exuvia of Eupterycyba jucunda nymphs. Fascinating!
These are some of the highlights of my year in insects:
I found my First hoverfly larva (and I’ve since found another, though not been able to identify either) …
… and my first examples of the hoverfly species Helophilus trivittatus.
And, very recently, my first Italian Alder aphids, which I’ve since found on another Italian Alder tree on the other side of town.
Here’s one I haven’t blogged – it’s a leafhopper, Cicadella viridis, which I saw for the first time during one of the two times this year that I actually caught a train to venture out of my local walking area (this was immediately after our first lockdown ended, when I dared to make two local train journeys – not been on a train or bus since).
I’ve been leaf-turning again and one thing you’re almost sure to find if you turn over enough leaves is a leafhopper. These are two recent finds, their identities now confirmed by the national recorder. Both are small – around 4mm long when adults, and both can be seen from around June to September.
These little guys have a preference for oak trees but can also be found on other deciduous tree, and are common throughout Britain.
E. loewii prefers Sycamore trees and, occasionally, Field maple, and lives in most English counties and in south Wales, but hasn’t yet crossed the Brecon Beacons.
The two photos below are interesting, I think. The one on the left shows E. loweii in its larval form and the photo on the right shows an empty skin, after the larva has gone through one of several moults between its emergence from an egg until the time it’s ready to pupate.