Torpedo Bug in Mount Washington

Subject: Mt. Washington leaf-like bug I have never seen!
Location: Mt. Washington, Los Angeles, CA
April 20, 2013 11:33 pm
Hello Bugman,
I just came home and found this adorable little bug on my front door. I have personally never seen anything like it in Los Angeles! I want to say that it was 2cm long. Do you know what this cute leaf looking little thing is? I would really love to know!
Signature: Your fellow bug loving neighbor,

Torpedo Bug
Torpedo Bug

Dear fellow bug loving neighbor,
We don’t know which excites us more: to have a WTB? Mount Washingtington posting that our editorial staff did not submit, or to have learned that this interesting creature is called a Torpedo Bug one of the Flattid Planthoppers.  We quickly identified the Torpedo Bug as
Siphanta acuta on BugGuide where we learned it is: “native to Australia, adventive elsewhere (New Zealand, Hawaii); established in CA” and “earliest NA record: CA 1983 not considered a pest in CA; considered a pest of banana, citrus, coffee, guava, macadamia, and many ornamentals in HI.”  We are still tagging it as an Invasive Exotic.  Though it is not considered a pest in CA, that might be because it is not that numerous or because it hasn’t yet affected the agricultural industry.  If it is considered a pest on citrus in Hawaii, it stands to reason it might also affect citrus in California.  Planthoppers feed by sucking juices from plants with their piercing/sucking mouthparts.  The New South Wales Government Agricultural website has a nice photo of the Torpedo Bug, but it is called the Green Planthopper.  

Hi Daniel,
Sorry for the delay in reply! I’ve been very busy on a job and wasn’t able to respond until now.
Thank you so much for identifying the bug for me. As a gardener I see a lot of bugs but this torpedo bug was certainly a different one!
Thank you so much for your blog… it is quite fun! …
Warmly,

 

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