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Archive for July 22, 2011

Leafhoppers

Leafhoppers belong to the family Cicadellidae — one of the largest families of plant-feeding insects.  There are more leafhopper species worldwide than all species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians combined.  Certain species, including the pictured red-banded leafhopper,Graphocephala coccinea, drink the watery sap from the plant’s xylem tissue, and secrete honeydew, a sugar-rich solution which ants love.  The ants protect the leafhoppers against predators in return for this sweet treat (an arrangement they also have with aphids).