Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Singing Tree Hoppers

As some of you may know, part of my business is to help other scientists to find insects that they need for their research.
Last year a client wanted to search for specific tree hoppers in Arizona. We found all three species that he was looking for, and he recorded their voices. Amplified, they sounded like an ocean recording of all kinds of whales. Quite amazing. Adults and nymphs seemed to communicate with wails and clicks

Enchenopa permutata male

This year he had no time to come out to Arizona, so today I drove to Box Canyon in the Santa Ritas to collect nymphs and adults of Enchenopa permutata on Lycium.

Monoxia sp. leaf beetles
But when I got to the bushes where we collected and recorded last year, I found to my dismay that other insects had taken over. Leaf beetles in the genus Monoxia and their larvae were feeding on the leaves and the bushes were in very bad shape.

Many of the remaining leaves showed rust infections. On those bushes were only very few Echenopa adults and nearly no nymphs.

Enchenopa permutata female
It took me a long time to find healthier Lycium, but luckily there were tree hoppers on those. Instead of gleaning like we did last year, I finally resorted to the use of my beating sheet.

Enchenopa permutata nymph
Not easy because of the dense, low growth but in the end I had hopefully enough bugs for my client. Now I hope that they survive the shipping and like the potted Lycium plant that is waiting for them. And start singing again!

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