Little spiky bug… (the last martian on earth)
Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 2:32 PM
Hi Bugman!
When I was a little boy I used to play with this type of insect I called “marcianitos” (little martian in spanish). There used to be hundreds in some trees at school, but I wasn’t able to find them in any other place. I even tried to breed them at home in every plant I found but they always disappeared.
Today, 20 years later, I was at the mechanic and when I bent down to pick up something I found this one lying on the floor, It was barely alive but I managed to bring it home and take some photos.
Most of them looked like this one, but there were others with other color highlights, some brown instead of green, and others with the top spike less “pointy” but flatter, longer and a little bit bent backwards with a more aerodynamics look. It doesn’t smell bad, but when I gathered many of them together for a while they produced a bitter-leaf-smell I think but not too strong. They fly and when put lying down they do some kind of “click” to get up.
Could you help me identify this boy?
Edgar O.
Dominican Republic ( Caribbean)


Thorn Treehopper

Dear Edgar,
We are perfectly charmed by your letter, from the childhood memories, to the decades later encounter, to the colorful description, to the descriptive Spanish name for this unknown Tree Hopper. Tree Hoppers are in the family
Membracidae. Though we cannot identify your exact species, you can view many similar relatives of your Marcianito from North America on BugGuide

Update: Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 9:02 AM
Thank you very much Daniel!
With the name you gave me I think I found more about them, their name is “Thorn Treehopper” (Thorn bug, Thornhopper)… check it out at bugguide: I also find something here:
If that info is correct then we have just identified our bugdy!
Thank you again!

Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 7:21 AM
This Membracid is in the genus Umbonia most likely U. crassicornis or U. spinosa. I have seen them in aggregations many times, usually the mothers gaurd the eggs which they insert into plant tissue, then they form family groups which are subsocial.
Author : Jackruby

Location: Dominican Republic

One Response to Thorn Tree Hopper from Dominican Republic: Marcianito

  1. Jackruby says:

    This Membracid is in the genus Umbonia. Most likely U. crassicornis or U. spinosa. I often see aggregations of either several “expectant mothers” gaurding egg masses they have deposited into the plant material, or the proceding family groups that emerge from those eggs.

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