Pure White insect on floor of sulawesan rainforest
Sun, Nov 30, 2008 at 10:03 AM
Viewing the variety of colors and shapes in the insect world on your site is a truly humbling experience. What I have found distinctly lacking are “bugs” that are pure white. When I have come across insects that are white, they always have some markings.
While walking the Tangkoko Rainforest in North Sulawesi a few weeks ago, I asked my guide to identify the white object on a leaf. He stated that it must be some feather of a bird. Clearly, my guide had never seen such a bug before. As Ralph Emerson said: “People see what they are prepared to see.”
This is the second pure white insect I have seen, the other in a woodpile in Rwanda which I sent to you without response.
Can you identify this one for me? I would be interested on thoughts on pure white insectss.
Dr. Sal Sclafani, Brooklyn, New York
Tangkoko Rainforest, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Dear Dr. Sal Sclafani,
This is some species of immature Homopteran, a member of the now defunct order that includes aphids and planthoppers. Some immature Homopterans secrete a white waxy substance that forms filaments and the wax is a protection for the soft bodied insects. We suspect this may be one of the Fulgorid Planthoppers, but we are not certain. There is a spectacular Central American Planthopper, Cerogenes auricoma, that also produces the waxy filaments as an adult. In the interest of correct modern taxonomy, the Fulgorid Planthoppers are, according to BugGuide, now classified thus: “Order Hemiptera – True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha – Free-living Hemipterans
Superfamily Fulgoroidea – Planthoppers
Family Fulgoridae – Fulgorid Planthoppers “