We arrr-teest types have our creative whims and eccentricities. Picasso had his Blue Period…while I’ve recently entered what could turn out to be my Bug Period. Of course ol’ Pablo used a paintbrush and captured his monomaniacal renderings on canvas. My capabilities with paint and brush being best limited to such media as sheetrock and plywood, I instead favor a digital camera and save my images on gobs of pixels.
Besides, in my case, to refer to this latest passion as artistic fanaticism may be stretching the point, since I’ve also been making lots of pictures of things that certainly aren’t bugs. Not to mention that the way cooler photographic terminology, I think, would be to say it is “focused enthusiasm.”
With that disclaimer complete, I’ll admit that of several hundred images I made yesterday and today, at least half were of various insects—bees, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, crickets, mayflies, ants, and so on. Or what most non-scientific folks commonly call bugs.
The problem I have with this latest photographic preoccupation is not in making the portrait, but in putting a name to the creature. Of course the same is true for wildflowers and birds—but if you think figuring out asters or goldenrods is tricky, or find the fall warblers confusing, wait ‘til you take a whack at ants, aphids…or leafhoppers!
Ahh, leafhoppers. The snazzy-looking bugs in the pictures are leafhoppers—of the Cicadellidae Family, and Graphocephala Genus. (I believe the Species here is G. coccinea, the Candystripe Leafhopper or Red Banded Leafhopper; some texts also call them Scarlet-and-Green Leafhopper or Red-and-Blue Leafhopper. I could easily be wrong, however; alternatively, they might instead be a G. fennahi, or Rhododendron Leafhopper.)
You’ve probably never noticed them before because they’re only about a quarter-inch (6-8 mm) long. They’re found all over North America and, I believe, in at least parts of Great Britan.
These colorful little insects can have either red stripes with a green, turquoise, or blue base, while the red stripes can be scarlet, vermilion, crimson, or orange. Coloring around the head area ranges from pale yellow to sherbet orange.
Candystripe Leafhoppers feed by sucking juice from the leaves and stems of various plants. As it is feeding, it releases a chemical via its saliva that sometimes makes the leaf wilt and die.
I might worry about this if any plants in my yard showed such damage. But since they don’t, I’ll simply focus close and have fun making photos of these goofy looking little bugs sporting their wild paint jobs.