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by Valerie

December, 2012

Red Planthopper

red planthopper

A bright red insect against a green background seems so Christmassy that I couldn't resist using it for our December issue. The red planthopper (Otiocerus degeeri), is a small insect that feeds on plants, sucking liquids through tube-like mouthparts. It doesn't really have a common name so I just described it with the most obvious feature. Although related to aphids, leafhoppers and scale insects, this particular species, a member of the family Derbidae, is so uncommon that it could never be considered a garden pest. In fact, the vast majority of insects, even those that feed directly on plants, are not harmful to human interests. This curious little creature, less than a centimeter in length, is just one of the thousands of insects that usually go completely unnoticed.

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