Planthopper laying eggs in Costa Rica

Subject: Costa Rica Bug
Location: Limón Province, Costa Rica
May 9, 2016 6:53 pm
I watched this insect lay her eggs and then seal the nest with some sealant she excreted from her abdomen. I’ll include the three photo of her and her nest, her laying an egg, and her sealing up the chambers. Do you know what her name is?
Signature: sarah

Fulgorid Planthopper laying Eggs
Fulgorid Planthopper laying Eggs

Dear Sarah,
We really love your images of a Planthopper in the family Fulgoridae laying eggs.  We quickly identified her as
Copidocephala guttata on FlickR, and then we found a similar egg laying image on Neotropical Arthropods.  There is another nice image on Kunzweb Gallery.  Many Planthoppers secrete a waxy substance, and we speculate that you witnessed that secretion.  According to an online article entitled Trophobiosis between a Blattellid Cockroach (Macrophyllodromia spp.) and Fulgorids (Enchophora and Copidocephala spp.) in Costa Rica:  “Copidocephala guttata (White) occurs in Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama (O’Brien 1988).  Many fulgorids produce large amounts of waxes and in a few species these materials have been chemically analyzed.  Their biological role is essentially unknown, except that ‘ … one of the apparent functions of these waxy, plume-like tails is protection against predators and parasites’ (Mason et al., 1989).”

Fulgorid Planthopper laying Eggs
Fulgorid Planthopper laying Eggs

Oh, thanks so much for your reply. There were numerous Facebook people asking, and one of them reminded me of your site. I think I used you once before for a similar type of bug with that wild waxy adornment to her abdomen. Totally forgot that.
I hope you will feel free to use my photos on your site for others to use for ID.
Weren’t those amazing captures? And with an iPhone no less.
The small things in life are the most amazing.
Warm regards,
Sarah Morgan
Punta Uva, Limón, Costa Rica


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