Leaf Hopper: So that's why they're called sharpshooters

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Bruce Williams
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Leaf Hopper: So that's why they're called sharpshooters

Post by Bruce Williams »

Hi folks,

While I was in the process of photographing the leaf hopper (Graphocephala fennahi) in my last posting see here I noticed that a small blob of clear liquid suddenly appeared on the leaf a few inches from the hopper.

I guessed it must have come from the hopper but didn't know where from. Anyway I did a bit of Googling and found out that as it is feeding the leaf hopper produces "honeydew" rather like an aphid.

Well I went back to the same location determined to photograph the production of honeydew. I waited till I had a hopper with it's rear end in clear view and watched. Sure enough a tiny blob of clear liquid appeared for a split second then vanished. It was obviously squirting (or flicking) it, but it all happened too quickly to follow by eye. The blob of honeydew was only visible on the hopper's tail for a fraction of a second - and then it was gone.

I took 48 images of the tail as quickly as the Nikon D80 would permit and managed to get 2 frames with the honeydew on the tail. I had hoped to get a pic of the honeydew "in flight" but no luck this time. I'm going to try again.

Anyway here are the pics (note the scale bar on pic2):

Nikon D80, ISO 200, (pic1) 1/200s @f/14, (pics 2 and 3) 1/250s @f/14

Bruce

Image

*Note the scale bar
Image

Image
Last edited by Bruce Williams on Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Excellent! :smt023

These photos provide a great explanation for how these little critters squirt that stuff. Somehow it had not occurred to me that they just flick it with their tail, but the second and third images together don't leave much doubt about how the process works.

Thanks for posting!

--Rik

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

WOW...really incredible. it looks like that little hand looking thing with the hairs is some kind of honeydew flipper. Excellent study Bruce.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Isn't that amazing :o A very informative post here Bruce and excellent photography too, I might add. :smt023

Wim van Egmond
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Post by Wim van Egmond »

That is realy interesting Bruce! I had never realised they did that, I mean the shooting! My car is full of the stuff:) I now realise it doesn't help to park it several meters from the trees in front of my house. They realy aim for it!

I am a bit silent again but I am trying to use the last free hours I have of the season, which was terrible this year, to shoot some insect portraits so I will have something to post this winter. :)

Was it also that wet in the UK, Bruce?

Wim

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Thanks for your comments guys - always appreciated.

Wim - According to our met office we have had the wettest summer since records began in 1914. We've had some severe flooding too and that's had a noticable affect on insect populations (and my pic taking opportunities too :cry: ).

Bruce :D

puzzledpaul
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Post by puzzledpaul »

A well observed and photographed event / sequence, Bruce - looks like you're getting used to the new gear ok :)

pp

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Thanks Paul. I've been feeling more confident with the D80 + 105mm VR macro lens since I started using a monopod.

Bruce :D

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