Buggin with Bridgey – June 2023

Hoppers in Sumatra!

Instar Planthopper Cerynia species © Bridgette Gower 2022 Aussie Macro Photos P4100483-Edit-3-2

Unconfirmed Cerynia sp. possibly C. albata

Trekking through the rainforest of Sumatra one thing was really obvious to me. The island is absolutely teeming with Planthoppers, Leafhoppers and Froghoppers which are all in the Order of Hemiptera. It’s an absolutely bonkers collection of weird and wonderful insects. Their colours are flamboyant, their shapes bizarre and  alien-like. They have serious jumping skills that put Superman to shame. Each one seems more interesting and extraordinary than the next and for that end I will start with the one that’s least-alien out of this hopper bunch.

Flatid Planthopper (Colobesthes falcata)

This Planthopper is a similar shape to species that I see regularly in Australia. They are within the genus called Flatidae for obvious reasons. This Sumatran Flatid Planthopper was four times the size as the species in Australia. I remember gasping for breath with excitement when I saw this on a night walk inside Gunung Leuser National Park National Park.  To my knowledge I was yet to be wowed by the exceptional variety and dazzling examples of the world of Hemiptera in Sumatra…but this was a crackin start.

Colobesthes falcata © Bridgette Gower 2022 Aussie Macro PhotosP4041881

Colobesthes falcata (Flatidae)

The bug that went viral – Unconfirmed Cerynia species, possibly C. albata

When I posted an Instagram Reel of this Planthopper instar, I thought it was a pretty cool little dude but had no idea the viral sensation it would become.  At the time of writing this blog it has reached 2.2 million views with 227k likes and over 2500 comments.  A number of people did suggest the genus Cerynia and possibly the species called ‘albata’.  I did a quick search on Google and also iNaturalist and I agree that it is probably this genus and species but so little research has been done on these insects that it’s almost impossible to get a confirmation. Just part of the intrigue and magic of Sumatra. So much is still unknown.

This incredible animal inspired a variety of comments suggesting Bridezilla, Nine-tailed Fox, a new Pokémon and a myriad of other gaming characters.  It really struck a chord with the Instagram audience. I actually started replying to comments mentioning ‘new Pokémon’ with “$1 please”. I might make $100 bucks out of that!  You can see the Instagram Reel here…  Below is the possible adult of this species, and it’s a great example of how different the early instars are to the adult forms.

Unconfirmed Cerynia sp. possibly C. albata Instar and Adult form.

Orange & Blue Sharpshooters (Cicadellinae)

Both the Orange & Blue Sharpshooters were quite commonly seen Leafhoppers in Sumatra and  was easily the most commonly observed Hemiptera totalling around 30 observations. I really like the name Sharpshooter.  I think it’s really suitable for these little guys and gals.

Orange Sharpshooter (Bothrogonia addita) and Blue Sharpshooter (Poochara sp.)

The next few hoppers I only had the pleasure of seeing once…but they sure left an impression on me.  All of them could possibly be Undescribed species and so far identification has only gotten to the Tribe or Genus level.  From this collection I hope you can see that this is indeed a group of insects that loves to dress-up.  I seriously think they could inspire a Met Gala Ball or a theme for Paris Fashion Week.  There is so much inspiration in these colourful critters!  From looking like Taffy sugar lollies to bio-mechanical outfits suited to aliens visiting earth.

Froghopper (Cloviini Tribe), Froghopper (Leptataspis sp.), possibly Underscribed Planthopper (Andini sp.), possibly Undescribed Derbid Planthopper (Zeugma sp.)

Planthopper (Raivuna sp.)

Another one I unfortunately only had the opportunity to see once was this dressed-to-the-nines Planthopper.  I think this is what happens when an insect tries to imitate a packet of highlighters. The advantage of being extremely brightly coloured must only be from the inspiration to look poisonous. What incredible animal this is!

Planthopper Raivuna species © Bridgette Gower 2022 Aussie Macro Photos P4093255-Edit

Planthopper (Raivuna sp.)

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the Hoppers (Hemiptera) in Sumatra.  I’m planning a Group Photography Expedition for 2024.  If you are interested you can read more and book here:

If you would like to take a deeper dive into some other Sumatran encounters you can check out my Let’s Go Buggin Sumatra Project on iNaturalist here.

Keen for a Let’s Go Buggin Tour? Use ‘blog’ as the coupon code for 15% discount on your tour booking here.

Next Blog in late July.

🐞 🧡 🪲


Bridgette uses a variety of Olympus OM SYSTEM Cameras and Lenses