Horned Treehoppers - Family Membracidae

This page contains pictures and information about Horned Treehoppers that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Three Horned Treehoppers 

Members in Membracidae family have the enlarged pronotum extending back over the abdomen between wings, which gives them the bizarre looking body shape. Many species also have the pronotum extending forward so that they are horned. Some may mimic thorns on their host plant. 

They are small in size, under 10mm in body length. Adults and nymphs can be found together on stems and new shots of their host plants. They feed by sucking the sap of plants. They expel droplets of honeydew so are tended actively by ants. All of them jump when disturbed, so their name hoppers.

All species of Membracidae in Australia are the member of the subfamily Centrotinae, except the introduced Lantana Treehoppers which is subfamily Membracinae.

Subfamily Membracinae

Lantana Treehopper, Lantana sap-sucking bug
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Aconophora compressa, adult body length 8mm
The above pictures show the insects on the stem of a Lantana plants. They are introduced from American to NSW and Queensland as a biological control agent of the weed Lantana. More information and pictures please click here.

Subfamily Centrotinae

Banksia Treehopper
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Crito festivus, Tribe Terentiini, adult body length 10mm
Mid summer in Alexandra Hill, the Banksia plants was growing fast with new shots. On every Banksia plant there were the treehoppers. The insects mimicked the leaf buds of the plants. The treehoppers were black in colour with bright orange and yellow. The black pronotum extended back over the abdomen covered between wings. More information and pictures please click here.
Horned Treehopper
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Alosextius carinatus, Tribe Terentiini, nymph body length 5mm, adult body length 5mm 
The Horned Treehopper has the pronotum extending forward so it look like having two horns. As other tree hopper, they rest on the young shots of their host plants, suck sap for their living. More information and pictures can be found in this page.
Acacia Horned Treehopper
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Sextius virescens, Tribe Terentiini, body length 5mm 
Pictures taken in Yugarapul Park during early summer. A group of  Treehoppers were found on a young Acacia tree. Those Treehoppers were constantly attended by ants. For more pictures and information please visit this page.

Reference and link:
1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 473.
2. Family Membracidae - Fletcher, M.J. and Larivière, M.-C. (2001 and updates).
3. That the Anal Whip is Used for Defense - Dr Beetle's Wild Page,

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Last updated: October 28, 2005.