Planthopper Nymph Walking Popcorn Snowflake
Photo credit: Andreas Kay via Peta Pixel
Photographer Andreas Kay happened to stumble upon a flatid planthopper nymph in Ecuador and recorded the encounter to show just how much the tiny insect looks like a kernel of walking popcorn. For those who haven’t seen them before, eggs are usually found in the bark of host plants in the winter and hatch the following spring. The adults are seen mainly in summer and fall, when they feed on sap from the trees.

This particular flatid planthhopper nymph was found in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador and covered with waxy filaments for protection. Fully grown adults are capable of secreting a waxy substance from their abdomen that produces bizarre fiber optic-like tails. These decorations are used mainly to encourage predators to admire rather than eat them, and also to help them glide as they fall.

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