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On a tree trunk
As in, "size matters"! Hahahahaha. Good suggestion, but that hypothesis doesn't seem to fit all too well, either. The real problem is that not all hoppers make the wax, and those that do are not phylogenetically linked (i.e., the wax producers don't form a monophyletic group). One possibility is that wax production could be the 'primitive' state that has been lost secondarily in various lineages, but that still doesn't explain the adaptive purpose of the wax....
What about mating?? Ehm... the longer the fitter? Does this fit?
I agree...none of the ideas floated to explain the waxy-filament production fit very well. It would be great to figure this weirdness out.....
Hi Jason. To "defend" my comment. Also not all Lycaenids have long tails to move and imitate the antennae on the other side ;-)... For me the hypothesis of waste deposition would not make much sense. Why not just drop the waste off, instead of carrying "heavy waste" all the time and "waste" energy??
Definitely fascinating, and a nice photo!We don't really understand what these waxy filaments are for. They probably are effective to distract predators (as bayucca wrote), but that doesn't explain why some of these planthoppers produce the wax and others don't. Other hypotheses include that the wax is a way of getting rid of excess waste, that it's a by-product of the bacterial endosymbionts associated with the bugs, etc...but none of these seem to explain this physiological condition well in evolutionary terms (i.e, why one species may produce the wax while another very closely related species does not). Another natural mystery to solve...!
Mayra I agree, all these bugs are fascinating!
Indeed just some "waxy" filaments for distracting predators.
I've been wondering what this colorful roostertail hopper was, and now it has a name. Thanks!
bizarre but beautiful. reminds me of a rooster.
Spotted on Mar 11, 2012 Submitted on Jan 27, 2013
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