Cicadas, Leafhoppers, Aphids, Scale Insects, and Others (Order Homoptera)
The large and diverse Order Homoptera is related to the Order Hemiptera. Homopterans exhibit a large variation in body structure, but the most distinguishing characteristic is the beak, which is located near the insect's neck (on the "chin"). The antennae are very short and bristlelike, and the compound eyes are usually large. Winged homopterans usually have four membranous wings, which at rest are usually held rooflike over the body.
All homopterans feed on plant sap, and many species are serious pests of cultivated plants. A few homopteran species are beneficial, used to make shellac, dyes, and other materials.
Giant Willow Aphid,Tuberolachnus salignus(Family Aphididae). (Fig. 7.12) An aphid common on willows (Salix spp.) in the region, feeding in large colonies on the trunks and branches. Also known as Plant Lice, members of the Aphid Family
are sedentary insects that feed on plant sap. Many aphids are "tended" by ants, which obtain sugary "honeydew" excretion in return for protection from enemies such a Ladybird Beetles and maggots (larvae) of Syrphid Flies. Adult aphids may be winged sexual reproductives or wingless females that reproduce parthenogenically (i.e., without mating). Aphids may occur at all elevations in the White Mountains.
Scale insects (Family Coccidae). (Fig. 7.13) The body of a scale insects is hidden under a waxy shell that resembles fish Scales attached to the bark of trees and shrubs. Some species secrete honeydew and are tended by ants. They occur in the Owens Valley, and probably on trees and shrubs at elevations below 12,000 ft (3,700 m).
Leafhoppers (Family Cicadellidae). (Fig. 7.14) Occurring at all elevations in the White Mountains, Leafhoppers are highly active homopterans that live on twigs of trees, shrubs, and herbs. Usually cylindrical and bullet-shaped, many Leafhoppers have the habit of quickly moving to the opposite side of the twig when approached so as to be shielded from view.
Cicadas (Family Cicadidae). (Fig. 7.15) Occur at elevations below 12,000 ft (3,700 m). Usually heard but not seen, most male cicadas produce a loud, musical buzz or whine that is easily distinguished from the trills and intermittent buzzes/clicks of most orthopterans. Cicadas are large-bodied, and the juveniles feed underground on
plant roots for two to five years. One species, Okanagana cruentifera , is locally very abundant in sagebrush (Artemisia ).