PHASMIDS STUDIES VOLUME 17
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Species Birdantis Similis
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BIRDANTIS / PLANTHOPPER The genus Birdantis presently comprises twelve species distributed in New Guinea and neighbouring islands. It is divided into two subgenera: Birdantis Stal, 1863 (ten species and one subspecies), and Myrilla Distant 1888 (two species) (Fennah, 1977; Nagai and Porion, 1996).
Fletcher (2005) first recorded the genus in Australia, with two species which he identified as Birdantis obscura (Distant, 1888) and B. similis Schmidt, 1911 on the basis of Lallemand's (1963) keys.
A planthopper is any insect in the infraorder Fulgoromorpha: in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha and exceeding 12,500 described species worldwide. The name comes from their remarkable resemblance to leaves and other plants of their environment and from the fact that they often hop for quick transportation in a similar way to that of grasshoppers. However, planthoppers generally walk very slowly so as not to attract attention. Distributed worldwide, all members of this group are plant-feeders, though surprisingly few are considered pests.
Planthoppers are bugs that suck juices from plants. Usually, these juices are the sugary fluids found in the phloem, the collection of plant pipes that transport food up and down a plant. Sitting on a plant sucking juices all day makes you a pretty easy target, so planthoppers often mimic leaves, similar to the way their close relatives the treehoppers mimic thorns and other plant bits.
Planthoppers are well-camouflaged in the leafy foliage that they feed on, effortlessly jumping from one plant to another with surprising speed.
Planthoppers are often vectors for plant diseases, especially phytoplasmas which live in the phloem of plants and can be transmitted by planthoppers when feeding.