Habitat: lowland forests of Central America
Status: Not Evaluated
This is one strange mish-mash of a creature. What you see above is a Fulgorid Hopper (Phrictus quinquepartitus), sometimes known as a lanternfly though they do not produce any light. Bummer.
To me, this insect resembles a stained glass window fused with an alligator/seahorse head… but you know, that’s just me. According to wikipedia, “The head of some species is produced into a hollow process, resembling a snout, which is sometimes inflated and nearly as large as the body of the insect, sometimes elongated, narrow and apically upturned. It was believed, mainly on the authority of Maria Sibylla Merian, that this process, the so-called lantern, was luminous at night. Carl Linnaeus adopted the statement without question and coined a number of specific names, such as laternaria, phosphorea and candelaria to illustrate the supposed fact, and thus aided in promoting a belief which centuries of observations have failed to confirm.”
Way to go Linnaeus.
In the 3rd photo from the top, you can see the hopper in its ‘defensive posture’ which entails having its back wings outstretched to reveal the bright red patches on each inner corner. That’s supposed to deter predators. I think one look at its crumbling face would do the trick, personally…