A Colourful Cicadellid – Elisabeth Bergman

A Colourful Cicadellid

Vancouver, B.C., Canada

I am researching how xylem-feeding insects such as froghoppers (Cercopidae) and leafhoppers (Cicadellidae) are able to feed directly from the internal water column of vascular plants, which is under high tension. One such xylem feeder is the rhododendron leafhopper (Graphocephala fennahi). The proboscis it uses to drink up sap can be clearly seen in this photograph. A metabolic, biomechanical, and phytological approach will show how these insects are capable of this seemingly impossible feat.