Common Name: Keeled Treehopper

Scientific Name: Antainthe expansa

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthtopoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Homoptera
Family: Membracidae
Genus: Antainthe
Species: A. expansa

 

Did you know that your garden can be infested with Keeled treehoppers?  The scientific name for a Keeled treehopper is Antianthe expansa.  The name treehopper means, to hop from one tree to another.  This insect is recently found in California, Arizona, and in rainforests in a small area in the Napo region of Ecuador, that contains over 700 species, most of which are new to science.  The purpose of this report is for readers to learn more about this insect.

The Keeled treehopper is very small and unique. This insect can grow only half an inch long. Its color is a lime green. It helps it camouflage due to the lime green color it has. They are best known for their pronotum, which are tiny thorns, which also help it camouflage. This is a way for them to survive, by blending into their environment.

Their habitat can be found mostly all over the world and can have a huge amount of brothers and sisters. The Keeled treehopper is found in rainforests, such as Madagascar and the Napo region.  There are so many of them that there is no telling how many there are because of how fast they reproduce.  This species is growing because they lay many eggs when done mating.  One way they maintain their environment is by getting help by other insects.  Now you know how, what, and where Keeled treehoppers can be found.

This insect has a very interesting niche.  They eat many different things, such as tomato plants, pepper plants, and any other related plant.  They eat by piercing plant stems with their beaks, and feeding on sap.  The immature eat off shrubs and grasses, while adults eat hard wood tree species.  Wasps and flies try to eat treehoppers, but the dolichoderine ants protect them from predators.  The treehoppers eat plant sap, release a substance called honeydew which ants love to eat, and therefore the ants protect the treehoppers from being eaten by other insects.  This is how insects help each other survive.

The Keeled treehopper is essential to the ants, as well as the ants are to the treehopper.  They are the ones that feed the ants and in return, they protect the insect that provide the honeydew.  One thing that stood out in my mind was that they have to go through a metamorphosis of five life growing stages.  Keeled treehoppers may not seem interesting, but they can do some pretty amazing things once you learn about them.

Author: Rafael P.
Published: 3/2013

Sources: wikipedia.org/keeled treehopper, bugguide.net, ncsu.edu, blogspot.com, sciencedaily.com, flickr.com/xjocamposk/4909108249/  Bio Encyclopedia in the City Maxwell, Publisher: Macmillan Inc., Author: Borgata F. Edgar and Borgata L. Marie, Published in the year 1992, 12 pages.

Photo credit: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3535/3954050275_170f7a5f7b.jpg

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