Off the Trail: Oct. 11, 2018

October 12, 2018

One of the joys of macro photography is discovering a new world of tiny creatures — species that are hard to see with the naked eye but have some amazing beauty. Leafhoppers are one such subset of microorganisms I have encountered this year.

According to INaturalist observations, Illinois has at least 54 species of leafhopper that have been documented. Zooming out to the full U.S. the database contains 438 species.

Given their size (just a few millimeters), I must imagine there are a lot more species yet to be discovered. So far this year, I believe I have encountered at least six species, just in my backyard.

The species I have pictured here is the eight-lined leafhopper (Gyponana gladia). There can be some variation in color but generally the orange to pink coloring with the same colored lines running on top of the head. Other species have these lines but might be different colors or structure.

Bugguide.net, one of the best sites for insect information, says this species feeds on pine trees. My neighbors do have some white pines just a few meters away from where I was.

Next week, I will talk more about the gear I am using to attract insects to my backyard.

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