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Bizarre Lanternfly

Phrictus auromaculatus


This is the second of 2 insects in the family Fulgoridae. There is no common name assigned to this insect. This lanternfly has reticulate venation of the hindwings, and usually the forewings, which are often opaque and held tectiform (tent-like) as with other members of the family. The wings are stiff and almost plastic-like. However, the most distinguishing characteristic is the head. While some head formations in this family are considered “unusual,” the one highlighted here can only be described as “bizarre. Words fail me to describe the head so I have included a closeup (foto #1).


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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Morona Santiago, Ecuador

Lat: -2.15, Long: -77.69

Spotted on Apr 20, 2011
Submitted on Mar 12, 2019


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