Treehoppers: The circle of life is the one that holds a jungle and the lifestyle of every living organism intact. The food chain is a perfect example of that. Every insect, worm, bird, and reptile had served the food chain and nature. This proves that every species plays an important role. So today we will see treehoppers and some facts about them.
A treehopper is an insect that belongs to the family of Membracidae. They are insects that feed on plants, trees, shrubs, etc. Every species of treehopper differs in size, varying from 2mm to 2cm in size. They have an enlarged thorax that covers the insect’s head and back, acting like a protective shell seen in snails and turtles. They are found in different colours like green, blue, black, brown, stripes, and spots on their back.
These insects are found in different regions and are identified based on looks, the trees they feed on, and the thorax development. They camouflage with the trees and stay motionless when they are feeding trees sap. With the help of a sharp pointy tube-like mouth, they pierce the stem of the plants and branches and suck out the sap from them. When a group of treehoppers is found in the same tree is called a “plant thorn”.
Some treehoppers prefer woody plants, and some prefer nonwoody plants, and lights attract them during the dark. A female treehopper lays eggs on the twigs of the trees where they get fed.They lay eggs over winter, get hatched, and tiny treehoppers come out in spring. They protect the eggs till they get hatched. Mostly females are the one that protects the eggs. The piercing and laying of eggs can sometimes affect plant growth.
These insect species always feed on trees and rarely affect human beings. They will fly and jump when they are in danger.
When a treehopper uses its beaks and starts sucking on the tree sap, it eats them and excretes a liquid called honeydew. This honeydew is served as food to ants. Through this phenomenon, these two insects have a mutual bond between them in which they provide honeydew, and ants will protect them from predators. Treehoppers use this as a defence mechanism to protect the eggs from predators and themselves.
These are some of the facts about treehoppers and the lifestyle they live throughout their life.