Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Treehoppers, too soon!

 Yesterday morning, as I walked up the paved path to the upper campus, out of habit I inspected the lower branches of a California Black Oak that hangs over the walkway.  In my mind's eye, I was looking for the annual arrival of the Oak Treehoppers which aren't really due for another month.  With this continuing heat wave, I wondered if they would arrive at all this year.  Then, I was startled to see a single, adult treehopper in a notch near the end of a branch.  The above photo, hurriedly taken with my phone camera under poor lighting conditions, might be difficult to interpret.  Click on it for a bit of an enlargement.  Below is a reference photo from last year.  This shows the two forms of adult
 Treehoppers one might find around here.  The one on the top of the branch is the form found in the top photo, and seems to be the more common one in most years.  Note, the adults hanging below the branch have longitudinal body stripes.  Compare them to the photo of juvenile Treehoppers in one of
my file photos from several years ago.  Note the stripes run perpendicular to the body axis.  Something really interesting (to entomologists) must happen before the last molt.  As of this morning, the one I spotted yesterday is no longer there.  However, now I'm hooked.  I'll need to inspect that tree every day until our first freeze - maybe even afterwards.  These bugs are true survivors.

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