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Treehoppers of this species are usually found on the plant Solanum betaceum (tree tomato) in groups of nymphs, adults, or both. Adults present strong sexual dimorphism: females are almost completely yellow, and males are almost completely black. Adult females insert their egg clutches into the plant tissue, and often guard them by actively kicking off egg parasitoids and other natural enemies. It is also common for females to stay with the nymphs. Treehoppers communicate by producing vibrations that can travel through plants, and this is one of the few treehopper species in which substrate-borne communication has been studied. A total of eight signals have been described in adults, and nymphs are also known to vibrate. Adult males and females sing "duets" to find each other and mate. Males have an elaborate courtship song, and perhaps the most exciting finding in this species has been that other males are apparently jamming their competitors. Experimental tests have provided initial evidence for an alarm signal used by females that are guarding eggs close to each other. Watch the video section to observe some of these behaviors and listen to the substrate-borne vibrations of this wonderful treehopper species.


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Supplier: Ximena Miranda

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