November 2, 2021
We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on 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!
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!