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Species Platycotis vittata - Oak Treehopper

Treehoppers - Platycotis vittata Oak treehopper - Platycotis vittata - female Oak Tree hopper - Platycotis vittata Platycotis vittata - female Greenish treehopper with a few red stripes - Platycotis vittata Treehopper - Platycotis vittata Oak treehopper adults (newly eclosed) - Platycotis vittata Oak treehopper - Platycotis vittata
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (True Hoppers)
Infraorder Cicadomorpha
Superfamily Membracoidea (Leafhoppers and Treehoppers)
Family Membracidae (Typical Treehoppers)
Subfamily Membracinae
Tribe Hoplophorionini
Genus Platycotis
Species vittata (Oak Treehopper)
Explanation of Names
Platycotis vittata (Fabricius 1803)
Size
♀ 9-13 mm, ♂ 9-12 mm(1)
Identification
Grayish spotted with yellow, or turquoise with red stripes and red eyes. With or without a thorn-like horn.
This species may be easily distinguished from all our other species of membracids (except Umbonia and Lephopelta) by its very short posterior tarsi. It usually has a long compressed pronotal horn which varies greatly in length and may be entirely absent. The wing venation shows considerable variation. Green body color, mottled or speckled with orange. (Dozier 1920)
Hornless and horned variants:
Range
Canada to Brazil(1), incl. most of our area, except the Plains states and Rockies
Habitat
Forests and forest edges, parks, and anywhere Oak trees are found. Occasionally found on other trees, but these individuals were probably just resting on those non-Oak trees.
Food
Fairly common on deciduous and evergreen oaks, Quercus spp.
Life Cycle
Hatching occurs in Spring in the South, and in late Spring in the North. Larva pass through five instars, and adults and larva form aggregations along oak twigs of up to 100 individuals. Females seem to exhibit protective behavior, keeping predators away from the young.
Nymphs:
Remarks
Does almost no damage to the host trees—leaves only a few twig scars from oviposition.
There are four named varieties and several other color variations, and some individuals lack the pronotal horn.
See Also
P. minax is a smaller, pale yellow species which is found in California on oak. (Dozier 1920)

Umbonia crassicornis - FL & so. TX, on ornamental and fruit trees
Print References
Dozier H.L. (1920) Notes on the genus Platycotis Stål. Ohio J. Sci. 20: 209-212. Full text
Internet References
Fact sheet (Mead 2004)(2)