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Short Notes on Nature Singapore

12 April 2020 | White Flatid Planthopper | Euphanta munda |

photo photo In the recent months, I keep coming across a white planthopper with triangular and broad fore wings from the family Flatidae when I visited the park. The laterally compressed wings cover the body and most of the legs. Most of them had pink wing edges though some were totally white in colour. After some research, I landed on the Tribe Nephesini. There were many different planthoppers in the park but this species stood out because of its abundance. It could be found gathering on different types of trees. Plenty of white flurry materials could be found around the areas where the planthoppers reside. These should be the camouflaging materials used by the planthoppers to protect their nymphs. After taking a closer look at some of these whitish materials, I finally located the nymphs on the underside of a leaf from the Streblus elongatus (Tempinis Tree). photo

I had paid special attention to Streblus elongatus during my recent walk in the park because someone had asked me to identify a plant recently that looked like this tree. The tree is supposed to be a rainforest plant but it is now being widely planted in parks.

The white planthopper resembled a Citrus Planthopper (Colgar peracutum). However, Citrus Planthopper has a more pointed head while the white planthopper from the park had a more rounded head region. A picture of Euphanta munda in the Project Noah website looked exactly the same as mine except that the picture displayed was taken in Indonesia. It is also found in Australia. Hence, I will call it Euphanta munda for now.

From the different types of trees in which they congregate and the whitish materials on these tree, the white planthoppers did not appear to favour a specific host plant. Besides Streblus elongatus, other trees included Calophyllum soulattri (Nicobar Canoe Tree), Barringtonia racemosa (Putat Kampung) and Fagraea fragrans (Tembusu).

The sub-order Auchenorrhyncha contains 3 groups, namely Cercopoidea (froghoppers), Membracoidea (leafhoppers and treehoppers) and Fulgoroidea (planthoppers). Flatidae is a family under the superfamily Fulgoroidea. The entire sub-order is a poorly studied or recorded group of organisms in Singapore. There were only 16 species of this sub-order being displayed in the Biodiversity of Singapore website when I last visited this month.

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