Black Gum Leafhoppers from Australia

Subject: bugs in my eucalyptus
Location: Ballarat Australia
February 25, 2017 9:57 pm
I found a cluster of these bugs in one of the eucalyptus trees at my house. They are about 1 cm long and jump / fly when touched – though one did crawl happily over my hand. They don’t seem to bite. Further investigation found about 40 smaller ones – similar legs and body colour – but no wings. I can’t see what they are eating – but if they are likely to eat too much of the tree, I’ll need to do something. So, I’d love to know what they are.
Signature: Kerry

Black Gum Leafhoppers

Dear Kerry,
Thanks to the Brisbane Insect site, we believe we have identified your insects as Black Gum Leafhoppers in the Tribe Eurymelini.  According to the site:  “The Eurymelini are only found on eucalypts, so their common name Gum-leafhoppers. They are brightly coloured or predominantly black.”  We are reluctant to provide a species name as many members of the tribe look similar. 
Eurymela bakeri which is pictured on the New South Wales Government site looks very close, but Eurymela distincta, which is also pictured on the New South Wales Government site looks even more similar.  The site advises:  “Caution Many of the insects depicted on these pages are outwardly similar and you should not use photographs as the sole means of identification. These pages form part of a scientific key which will assist a trained entomologist to identify the species accurately.”  The latter species is also pictured on Jungle Dragon.  All Leafhoppers have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids from plants, and if they are plentiful and lacking in natural predators, they might pose a health risk to weakened plants, however since they are a native species for you and they are feeding on a native plant, we don’t believe they will cause serious harm to your trees unless they are already stressed because of drought or disease.

Black Gum Leafhoppers

Thank you so much for that.they are rather  cute and the tree looks ok.
Just have to watch them. Kerry

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