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Creepy-Crawly  Rhododendron Leafhoppers

Rhododendron Leafhoppers - Photo  Copyright 2003 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
A great way to see all the details on these insects and other small creatures is with a special magnifier box - click here

Latin name: Graphocephala fennahi

Size: Approximately 10 to 12mms.

Distribution: Found mainly in southern and central England

Months seen: June to October.

Food: Rhododendron leaf sap.

Habitat: Parks and gardens.

Special features: The brightly coloured rhododendron leafhopper was introduced to the UK from North America in the early 1900's. Apart from humans, they're one of the few species who get any benefit from the rhododendron plant.

In late summer and autumn the adults lay their eggs in the unopened buds of the rhododendron. The following April the eggs hatch and the young, like the adults, feed on sap from the undersides of the leaves.

They are especially noticeable in the early morning when they sit in the sunlight to warm up their bodies. As you approach them they often jump away to safety. They make a "clicking" noise when they kick their long back legs against the leaves and launch themselves into the air. The adults have wings to help them move around, but they only fly distances of between one and three metres.

The rhododendron leafhopper is also known as the 'rhododendron cicada' or the 'green and scarlet leafhopper'.

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UK Safari Creepy-Crawlies Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved