Sunday, 28 January 2007

Little bugs

While I was gardening, I disturbed a number of these passion vine hoppers, Scolypopa australis. Although the common name suggests they are pests of Passiflora, they'll feed on a variety of plants, including many commercial species. (They've been introduced to New Zealand, where they damage kiwi fruit crops.)

Unlike most other leaf hoppers, in which the wings are held at angle, the passion vine hoppers hold theirs almost flat. Because of this, they are sometimes mistaken for moths. A close look reveals that the antennae are tiny, which is a handy (if not foolproof) clue to its buggy (rather than mothy) identity.

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