Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Horned treehopper (Centrotus cornutus)

I had my first close encounter with a horned tree hopper the other day.  This small sap sucking homopteran is associated with young oak trees and does not seem to be very common.

20090603 South View 001

The purpose of the 'horns', if there is one, would seem to be to frighten would be predators off as they do not seem to be a display item.

The pronotum also runs backwards over the top of the body like some alien's armour and might, I suppose, have some protective function.

20090603 South View 007

I find these complicated forms quite difficult to grasp in evolutionary terms.  If such excrescences are of value, why do so few creatures develop them.  Most homopterans, for example, have neither horns nor a backplate, nor do they appear to be on the way to developing them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.

I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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