September 21, 2021
Ben here with another edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
There are all kinds of cool critters that are so small and well-camouflaged that we walk past them every day without even noticing. Case in point: Flatormenis proxima, the northern flatid planthopper!
This species of planthopper is probably the most abundant member of its genus in the eastern U.S. Planthoppers tend to feed on the juices in the phloem of plants, which is the tissue that transports compounds (and especially sugars) throughout the plant. While planthoppers generally don't harm the plants they feed on, they can be vectors for plant diseases and their sugary droppings provide a great growing medium for mold.
Most planthoppers (including this one) tend to resemble part of a plant; some resemble leaves or even thorns! In order to maintain this camouflage, planthoppers usually move very slowly, although they can hop large distances if they feel threatened.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!