Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Variegated Lanternfly

Phenax variegata


This is the first of 2 insects in the family Fulgoridae. There is no common name assigned to this insect. This lanternfly, as with most members of the family, has reticulate venation of the hindwings, and usually the forewings, which are often opaque and held tectiform (tent-like). The wings are stiff and almost plastic-like. The distinguishing feature of P. Variegata is not the head shape, as with most members of this family, but the waxy “cotton-like” covering of the ventral side and tail protrusions (see foto #4 of other lanternfly).


Fulgoridae, often called lanternflies, consist of approximately 143 genera and 716 species. The majority of Fulgoridae feed on trees and woody shrubs through the bark. This individual was found on the trunk of an unidentified tree in the Amazon rainforest of SE Ecuador.


There are a couple misconceptions of the family. First, although they are called “lanternflies” they neither emit light nor are they Dipterans (flies). Secondly, they are not cicadas, although many refer to them as such, but are planthoppers. They belong to the family Fulgoridae, which are characterized by “unusual” projects on the head or various shapes of the head itself. Although the following link is for Fulgoridae of North America, it is the most descriptive article I have found on the family —

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Tukup a year ago

Thanks Ashley. I've been gone and just now saw this. Thanks so much for the nomination (but the Steller's Sea Eagles are pretty fantastic :-)

Thanks Mauna and Sergio. I appreciate your comments.

Congrats for the nomination. Very nice series and bug.

mauna Kunzah
mauna Kunzah a year ago

Congrats, Tukup!

AshleyT a year ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Tukup a year ago

Yes, amazing. I always assumed these were the female Fulgora laternaria. It wasn't until I started researching to post that I learned about lanternflies. PN is forcing me to learn all the time. Thanks.

DanielePralong a year ago

What an astonishing intricate pattern on this fulgorid Tukup!

Spotted by

Morona-Santiago, Ecuador

Spotted on Aug 6, 2007
Submitted on Mar 12, 2019

Related Spottings

Fulgorid Planthopper Variegate giant planthopper

Nearby Spottings

Bullet Ant Gray Petaltail Rat-faced Plant Hopper Zigzag Fungus Beetle
Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors

Join the Project Noah Team Join Project Noah Team