Monday, July 4, 2016

A new planthopper: Iuiuia caeca

Credit: Rodrigo Ferreira; CC-BY 4.0
Planthoppers are insect of the infraorder Fulgoromorpha, which consists of some 12,500 described species worldwide. The name comes from their resemblance to leaves and other plant parts and from the fact that they often jump for quick transportation in a similar way to that of grasshoppers.

This new planthopper species is only the second dwelling exclusively in the subterranean depths of Brazil from its family. Surviving without seeing the light of the day at any point of its life, this species has neither the eyes, nor the vivid colouration, nor the functional wings typical for its relatives.

The planthopper is called Iuiuia caeca, with the genus name (Iuiuia) referring to the locality, where it was found, and its species name (caeca) translating to 'blind' in Latin.

For the experts: A new obligate cavernicolous (troglobitic) species in the planthopper family Kinnaridae is described from Brazil, and a new genus is established, as it could not be placed in any of the existing genera. Information on distribution and ecology is given. This is the second record of a troglobitic representative of this family from Brazil, and only the 6th cavernicolous kinnarid species worldwide.

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