Posted by: scrubmuncher | November 2, 2009

Scoundrels – #9

Not content with pretending to be other animals, some insects have taken to mimicking inanimate objects, namely various parts of plants. Among the most adept plant mimickers are the insects known as treehoppers (membracids) and leafhoppers (cicadellids) – in at #9 in the scoundrel chart. Take a look at the photo below.

Membracid leaf mimic - Trinidad

Trinidadian membracid pretending to be a chewed leaf (Ross Piper)

This is a treehopper and what better way to dupe your enemies into leaving you alone by pretending to be a withered, partially chewed leaf. No insect predator worth its salt is going to look twice at a gnawed bit of vegetation, so the treehopper can sit in the open in the relative safety.

The treehoppers have really gone to town with plant mimicry and there are very few parts of plants they don’t have a go at pretending to be:

There are buds and blisters…

Membracid mimicking a leaf bud - Trinidad

This treehopper is pretending to be a bud (Ross Piper)

Bud or plant blister mimicking membracid - Trinidad

This treehopper is trying to blend in by looking like a bud or plant blister (Ross Piper)

Flowers and thorns…

Brazilian membracid - mimicking a flower

Lots of these colourful Brazialian membracids are normally found together, sitting around trying to be flowers (Ross Piper)

European thorn mimicking membracid - Centrotus spp.

This treehopper is trying to convince everyone it's a thorn (Ross Piper)

Brazilian thorn-mimicking membracid

More fake thorns - this time another Brazilian treehopper (Ross Piper)

And Christ knows what this is supposed to be…

Trinidadian membracid - spine mimic?

I'm still trying to work out what this one's trying to be. Maybe poison loaded spines? (Ross Piper)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: