June 15th, 2010

dandelion

50 More Urban Species #17: Candystripe leafhopper



Candystripe leafhopper Graphocephala coccinea

The candystripe leafhopper is one of a few species of colorfully striped leafhoppers found in our area. This species is more red and blue than blue and red, if you catch my meaning, although within the species individuals can have red that is a bit more orange, and/or blue that is a bit more green. The candystripe leafhopper has a variety of other common names based on which combination of colors the namer preferred to emphasize, which is why I've gone with this name.

Leafhoppers are small insects related to cicadas. They have beak-like mouthparts with which they pierce plants to draw out and feed on the juices inside. Studies have shown that some leafhopper species, including Graphocephala coccinea can serve as vectors for plant diseases. Leafhoppers tend to feed on a small and specific number of plants; the candystripe can be found feeding on familiar urban species such as raspberry and forsythia.

Alexis took this amazing picture of two candystripe leafhoppers... you know... doin' it.

And here's a good article about the species.