Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Elegant Insect Skirts

This thing mesmerize me! These organisms wear white skirts, flamboyantly swaying with the wind, very elegant. They are in groups at the underside of a gourd leaf, or sometimes on the stem. It is a bit disconcerting, but attractive to me. There are feathery parts arising on them. I searched using feathery insects or cottony insect larvae, but can't find the same. I used other descriptions using white to describe the very obvious characteristics, but led to nowhere too. There are some whiteflies, coccinelid larvae, lacewing larvae, i searched for life cycles, but to no avail. I hope this will come in contact with an entomologist who will lead me to its descriptions and or importance.

 These are some groups of this insect at the underside of a luffa or gourd. You can't really see what they are, as if they are just feathery remnants of something. I am actually hoping that these are either coccinelids or lacewing larvae, predators of mealybugs and scale insects. But that is just my hope.

 Close observations showed that one individual has a lot of those feathers arising from its body except the thorax and head. Normal conditions will not allow you to see their bodies. I blow some air to them, and the individual insects showed up. The feathers even detach from the body if I blow harder. Sometimes the insects are blown away too!

 Look at the photo above and below, showing the insect head, thorax and legs. It is completely white.

 The above insect remains, shed off the skirt when i strongly blow it, the feathers completely went off. Most of the feathers are attached to its behind, now looking fragile and helpless, i wonder if they will die when their skirt is gone!

This moth is always near them, associate with them. I blew it off, but after a few minutes the moth returned to the brood. It is really perplexing, now I am inclined to think that these might be some moth larvae undergoing some unusual instar shifts. Or probably the moth is getting some benefits from the remnants of the larvae. I have asked some entomologists via Facebook, but they seem not to be frequenting their sites. My patience is wearing thin. I cannot wait.

Hurray, i posted the photos in a Malaysian Gardening forum, and someone posted the same photos, calling it leafhoppers. I searched and yes, they are leafhoppers, therefore unwanted by crops and not predators of mealybugs. Now i can give instructions to my sister in the province to torch them to death. It will like an electric chair death penalty.

P.S. (4 March 2013) 
That adult is actually the mother of those leafhoppers! 



  1. Strange creatures but it sounds like they will not be welcome in the garden.

  2. Looks like fairy bugs:) Magically dangerous. So pretty!

    1. Hi Kreesh, i love that term "fairy bugs". Happy birding!

  3. Beautiful, but I don't think I would want them in my garden.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

  4. Amazing photos and now you know what they are ~ beautiful yet predatory ~ (A Creative Harbor) ~ artmusedog and Carol ^_^

  5. Sheesh, you're very bloodthirsty. I first thought the pictures were frost on plants!

    1. Jason, haha, by this time you should already know we don't have frost as we only have the wet and dry season! Or you might be just kidding.

  6. Wooly aphids, a type of frog hopper. Unfortunately a pest but cute. Great photos Nick


Your visits and comments are the life of this site. I certainly appreciate them and I will make sure to return the favor. Energies are not destroyed, they are just transformed, so healthy energies be with us all, just like the breath of life!

But i am requesting that no other personal links should be put on your comments. I am sorry, but backlinks give me some problems, so i might not publish them.Thank you very much for understanding.