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PYROPS VIRIDIROSTRIS
GREEN SNOUT LANTERNFLY

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Making sense of Fulgoroidea

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Classification

Phylum Arthropoda

Class Insecta

Order Hemiptera

Family Fulgoridae

Genus Pyrops

Species Pyrops Viridirostris

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RECORDS OF THE LANTERN BUG IN SINGAPOUR

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GREEN SNOUT LANTERNFLY

From the nymphs that shoot fiber optics from their behinds to the treehoppers that look identical to leaves, planthoppers comprise a superfamily of insects that never ceases to amaze.This decorative little arboreal bug grows a long, protruding "nose" that even Pinocchio would envy.

Many lanternflies, like those in the Pyrops genus, have evolved long "snouts." These hollow structures operate as straws to help them get into the tree bark to feed on sap.

The larger members of the planthopper group of insects, some lanternflies can grow up to three inches long. Lanternflies got their name from the misconception that their long protrusions glow in the dark. Lanternflies mostly live in tropical forests. Species like Pyrops candelaria especially love lychee trees for the sweet sap within.

Fulgoria laternaria, also known as the snake-headed lanternfly and peanut-headed lanternfly, does not have a long, skinny nose like its cousins. Instead, it's got a strange lump of a peanut for a nose that even sports a deceptive pair of false eyes.

Hundreds of species of lanternflies live all throughout the world's tropical and subtropical regions, and even in the United States. Be sure to keep an eye out for these intriguing insects!

Fulgoridae (aka, the lanternflies), and their closest relatives, Dictyopharidae, are two of 20 insect families that are included in the hemipteran superfamily Fulgoroidea (commonly referred to as “planthoppers”). Collectively, planthoppers are a diverse insect group including 9,000 described species, all of which are sap-feeding herbivores. Different researchers have proposed alternative hypotheses regarding how many planthopper families there are and how those families are related. The phylogeny shown here is based on the results of a molecular phylogenetic analysis of Fulgoroidea. These results support the recognition of at least 19 planthopper families (but note that exemplars of Hypochthonellidae and Gengidae were unavailable for that study). Relationships among some families are depicted here as unresolved because different phylogenetic reconstruction methods produced conflicting results we plan to further explore the evolution of the planthopper superfamily in an expanded analysis including more taxa and more data.

These molecular data-based results support the previous hypotheses proposed by Asche and Wilson et al. The most ancient planthopper families (Cixiidae and Delphacidae) have ovipositors shaped for piercing and sawing vegetation, and insert eggs into the tissues of monocots or in debris at the base of the host plant. The families of intermediate divergence age (Kinnaridae, Meenoplidae, Derbidae, Achilidae, Achilixiidae, Fulgoridae, and Dictyopharidae) have spade-like ovipositors for burying or covering eggs with soil or wax on monocot or dicot host plants. The most recently diverged families have piercing-excavating ovipositors used to excavate the woody tissue of dicot hosts for egg laying.

Fulgorid planthoppers (often called lanternflies) are typically arboreal, most often associated with large tropical trees. Fulgoridae is the only family in this intermediate group that deposits eggs higher up on the host plant and covers them with a waxy substance. Fulgoridae are also unique among the planthoppers in that many species are large-bodied (as long as 95 mm), have pigmented, often brightly colored wings, and some produce cuticular waxes in a variety of forms, including plumes that extend well beyond the length of the abdomen. Although at least 10 other planthopper families have elongate head processes, many species of Fulgoridae exhibit comparatively exaggerated morphological diversity in head shape, such as the peanut-headed bug and the dragon-headed bug (Phrictus quinquepartitus). The 550 species of Fulgoridae are primarily distributed throughout the world’s tropical and subtropical regions, with only 17 species recorded from the Nearctic region, and no species recorded from the Palearctic .

Urban & Cryan (2009) conducted the first phylogenetic investigation of Fulgoridae . Results suggested that there have been multiple losses of the extended head process across fulgorid evolution, with what appears to be convergence in distantly related lineages. The higher classification of Fulgoridae, which is based primarily on characters associated with head morphology, was not well supported by this analysis, suggesting the need for a revised classification of Fulgoridae.

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