August 23, 2020
This unusual-looking little critter is Rhyncomitra microrhina, which is a planthopper in the family Dictyopharidae. There are more than 12,500 different described species of plant hoppers worldwide, and their common name comes from two traits: their striking resemblance to plant structures and their tendency to make short hops to get around. However, they often just walk around slowly so they don't draw attention from predators.
One of the main reasons I wanted to share this insect is because when I first saw it, I had no idea what it was. I thought it might be a planthopper of some kind, but I wasn't entirely sure and I had to consult several websites and ask VMNH Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Dr. Kal Ivanov to help me narrow it down. As someone who has spent pretty much his entire life looking at bugs, it's pretty cool that I can still find insects -- even common insects! -- that I don't recognize at all. There's an amazing variety of life in your own backyard, and you never know just what you'll find!
Thanks for the help, Dr. Ivanov! #BenInNature
ABOUT THIS POST
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.
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