Idioderma Hopper

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Scientific name

Idioderma virescens Van Duzee

Family

Membracidae (Suborder Auchenorrhyncha, Superfamily Membracoidea (Cicadelloidea))

Synonyms

Idioderma varia Van Duzee, Hygris virescens Goding

Description

Adult: Length approximately 4.2 mm; pronotum extended back over the scutellum and beyond abdominal apex and covering the head, color light dull green, but can be brown (typically males); head triangular from the frontal aspect; more than twice as broad as high, lower half of face brownish-gray; forewings and hindwings with prominent venation, forewings membranous throughout and extending beyond pronotal apex in repose; hind tibia with 3 longitudinal rows of enlarged setae.

Egg: Length 1.12 mm; width 0.24 mm; creamy white, translucent; oblong, over twice as long as wide.

Diagnostic features

Pronotum, typically dull green, enlarged extending over head and beyond abdominal apex. Hind tibia with 3 longitudinal rows of enlarged setae. Nymphs are often tended by ants.

Distribution

Florida, Texas, Cuba, Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.

Hosts

Palms: Oviposition and nymphal development is known to occur on only two palm species, Serenoa repens (saw palmetto) and Phoenix roebelenii (pygmy date palm). Adults have been reported on various other genera of palms (Cocos, Hyophorbe, Veitchia).

Other: Adults can be found on a diversity of plants other than palms, however nymph feeding has not been reported on other plants.

May be confused with

Idioderma virescens is overall morphologically similar to I. picta of Cuba. Idioderma picta is smaller (3.8 mm) than I. virescens (4.2 mm). The two species have differences in genitalia subgeneital plates and aedeagus anterior arms. Also, I. picta is only known from Cuba.

Additional comments

Idioderma virescens is the only known true treehopper species on palms.

Both green and brown color morphs are represented by the species. Approximately 90% of the brown morphs are males.

Gravid females oviposit in the rachis or rachilla (infloresecence). Peak populations of nymphs coincide with the peak bloom of saw palmetto (March to April). Nymphs feeds on the rachis or rachilla.

Similar to other treehoppers, ants are associated with and collect honeydew from Idioderma virescens populations.

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