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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 —

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1 Comment

Tukup a week 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 week ago

What an astonishing intricate pattern on this fulgorid Tukup!

Morona Santiago, Ecuador

Lat: -2.15, Long: -77.69

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

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