Treehoppers, Leafhoppers, Spittlebugs and Planthoppers of Columbia County, Oregon

Leafhoppers, Treehoppers, Spittlebugs and Planthoppers are True Bugs (order Hemiptera). True bugs are known for their sucking mouthparts and having a “nymph” stage before adulthood. Leafhoppers, Treehoppers, and Spittlebugs are most closely related to Cicadas, while Planthoppers are a little more distantly related. They are all small insects that feed on plants and are sometimes regarded as pests. As their names suggest, most of them can jump.

Treehoppers are notable in their enlarged “pronotum” (the top part of the thorax just behind the head), which often forms fantastic shapes that aid the little insects in camouflage or defense. They are usually found on trees.

Oak Treehopper Platycotis vittata columbia county northwest oregon
Oak Treehopper – To 0.5″. Bluish-white with red-brown markings and some yellow. Some specimens are dark. Often has large “horn” protruding from the pronotum. Feeds on oak. (photo © bellaormseth)
Aspen Treehopper Palonica tremulata columbia county northwest oregon
Aspen Treehopper – 0.3-0.4″. Dark mottled brown with a somewhat lighter head. The “horn” is indistinct in shape and comes a bit backwards from pronotum. Feeds on aspen. (photo © natureguy)
Buffalo Treehoppers Stictocephala alta columbia county northwest oregon
Buffalo Treehoppers – 0.2-0.3″. Mostly green, though some species are partially or fully brown/black. Have a large triangular pronotum shield with sharp corners. (photo © beewilliams)

Leafhoppers, many of which are also known as “sharpshooters”, are small slender insects that use their sucking mouthparts to feed on grasses, plants, and trees.

Blue-green Sharpshooter Graphocephala atropunctata columbia county northwest oregon
Blue-Green Sharpshooter – To 0.4″. Green to blue-green with dark veins and a triangular yellow patch on back. Found in riparian areas, often on blackberry and other vines. (photo © Eric Carlson)
Thickhorn Sharp-headed Leafhopper Draeculacephala crassicornis columbia county northwest oregon
Thickhorn Sharp-headed Leafhopper (Draeculacephala crassicornis) – 0.3-0.4″. Green with blue veins, face is not dark below. A triangular yellow patch on back. “Horn” on nose is thick and blunt. (photo © corndog)
Robinson's Sharp-headed Leafhopper Draeculacephala robinsoni columbia county northwest oregon
Robinson’s Sharp-headed Leafhopper (Draeculacephala robinsoni) – To 0.4″. Green with blue veins, dark below eye. “Horn” on nose is long and sharp. Found on grass in fields and lawns. (photo © Sean McCann)
Rhododendron Leafhopper Graphocephala fennahi columbia county northwest oregon
Rhododendron Leafhopper – To 0.4″. Bright green with slanted red lines. Yellow nose “horn” with black eyestripe. Feeds on rhododendron. Introduced from SE USA. (photo © eebee)
Germinate Leafhopper Colladonus geminatus columbia county northwest oregon
Germinate Leafhopper – 0.2″. Tan to yellowish-green, including veins on transparent wings. Yellow triangular patch with black spots. Dark abdomen with yellow ribbing. Found in alfalfa and orchards. (photo © Chris Evers)
Veined Round-headed Leafhopper Idiocerus nervatus columbia county northwest oregon
Veined Round-headed Leafhopper (Idiocerus nervatus) – To 0.2″. Green to yellowish with dark veins showing in transparent wings. Head is short and round with bulbous eyes. (photo © Eric Carpenter)
Eight-lined Leafhopper Gyponana octolineata columbia county northwest oregon
Eight-lined Leafhopper – To 0.5″. Males transparent green with a series of red lines on the pronotum, females have red markings all over. Found on pines. (photo © oxalismtp)
Japanese Maple Leafhopper (I) Japananus hyalinus
Japanese Maple Leafhopper – 0.25″. Yellowish horn protrudes in front. “Frowning face” on back of thorax. Transparent wings with reddish veins and brown striping. Dark abdomen with light ribbing. Feeds on maple. Introduced from Asia. (photo © Patrick Hanly)
Fruit Tree Leafhopper – To 0.15″. White with distinct red zigzag pattern. Brown triangular patch and clear area between red lines is characteristic. Found on fruit trees, oaks, and other plants. Introduced from Europe. (photo © Eric Carlson)
Privet Leafhopper Fieberiella florii columbia county northwest oregon
Privet Leafhopper – 0.3″. Brown with dark speckling. Light marks near end of wings. Flat head. Found on privet, fruit trees, and roses. Introduced from Europe. (photo © David Anderson)
Variegated Leafhopper Allygus mixtus columbia county oregon
Variegated Leafhopper (Allygus mixtus) – To 0.3″. Brown with broken white veins and black dashes. Often has pair of yellow “eyes” with black center. Found on deciduous trees, especially oak. Introduced from Europe. (photo © Felix Riegel)
Japanese Leafhopper Orientus ishidae columbia county northwest oregon
Japanese Leafhopper – 0.25″. Brown with black network and ivory markings . Orange mark between eyes. Snout is not pointed. Feeds on shrubs in hardwood forest. Introduced from Asia. (photo © Chloe and Trevor)
Northwest Marbled Leafhopper Osbornellus borealis columbia county northwest oregon
Northwest Marbled Leafhopper (Osbornellus borealis) – 0.2″. Yellowish-brown with a pattern of ivory and dark brown markings. Crescent-shaped snout is pointed at end. Sometimes found in orchards. (photo © Harsi Parker)
Aggregating Leafhopper Amblysellus grex columbia county oregon
Aggregating Leafhopper (Amblysellus grex) – 0.1-0.2″. Tan to brown with distinct light veins. Large black marks between eyes. Found on crops including corn and grasses. (photo © Harsi Parker)
Mountain Leafhopper Colladonus montanus columbia county northwest oregon
Mountain Leafhopper – 0.2″. Tan, brown, or black base color with yellow or white nose, pronotum, and marks on top middle and bottom of wings. (photo © sarasims)

Spittlebugs, also known as Froghoppers, have nymphs that produce a frothy nest of bubbles as they eat plants. The bubbles, produced from plant sap, conceal the nymph from predators as well as protecting it from heat, freezing, or desiccation. They can be distinguished from Leafhoppers as they only have a couple of spines on their hind legs, while Leafhoppers have an entire row of spines.

Meadow Spittlebug Philaenus spumarius adult columbia county northwest oregon
Meadow Spittlebug (adult) – 0.2-0.3″. Yellow, tan, black, or a mix, with two tiny black spots on the tip of the “nose”. Tiny hairs and no pits on the body distinguish them from forest spittlebugs, as does their small size. (photo © Eric Carlson)
Meadow Spittlebug Philaenus spumarius nymph columbia county oregon
Meadow Spittlebug (nymph) – These immature wingless creatures are typically green, though can also be yellow, tan, brown, or pink. Lacks deep red-rust color of Douglas Fir nymph. (photo © Bill Keim)
Meadow Spittlebug Philaenus spumarius froghopper spittle nest columbia county oregon
Meadow Spittlebug (foam) – Nymphs are only found inside this foam. Usually found on plant stems, especially in gardens and fields, though will also use woody trees on occasion. (photo © sarahnwilson)
Douglas Fir Spittlebug Aphrophora permutata froghopper adult columbia county northwest oregon
Douglas Fir Spittlebug (adult) – 0.4-0.6″. A beautiful mottled leaf-brown or grey, often with diagonal white lines on top. Large size and a pitted surface distinguishes them from Meadow Spittlebugs. (photo © Ken Kellman)
Douglas Fir Spittlebug Froghopper Aphrophora permutata nymph columbia county northwest oregon
Douglas Fir Spittlebug (nymph) – Nymphs have a clearish head, black thorax, and rusty abdomen with a white-and-black tip. The deep red abdomen and forest habitat distinguish them. (photo © Lori Gong)
Douglas Fir Spittlebug (foam) – These spittlebugs will build their nest directly on Douglas-fir bark or twigs, but can also be found on various vegetation below Douglas-fir trees. A different species uses lodgepole pine. (photo © trientalid)

Planthoppers are a separate group somewhat more distantly related from the first three. They tend to move more slowly, preferring to evade detection as a first resort rather than jumping to safety.

Black-spotted Field Planthopper (Muirodelphax arvensis) – 0.15″. Orange to tan with clear wings. Males have dark abdomen and pair of black spots on top and side of thorax. Associated with fields such as wheatgrass or fescue. (photo © Tom Murray)
Wood Grove Planthopper (Synecdoche nemoralis) – To 0.25″. Wings varied brown with two indistinct darker stripes across and white spotting. Head and thorax solid reddish-brown to brown. Adults feed on conifer sap while nymphs eat associated fungi. (photo © Scott Gilmore)
Western Tapered Planthopper Cixidia fusiformis columbia county northwest oregon
Western Tapered Planthopper (Cixidia fusiformis) – 0.4″. Mottled gray to brown with large dark spot in center. Head/thorax are dark. Protrusion in front relatively short, 1.5x as long as wide. Wings tapered at both ends. (photo © Paul G. Johnson)
Red-fanned Planthopper (Apache degeeri) – 0.4″. Reddish or pinkish veins, long wings that fan out at the end. Red head projects forward up to point, white lines over the eyes. Feeds on deciduous trees and their fungi. (photo © Ashley Bradford)
Jumping Spider Mimic Planthopper Caliscelis bonellii
Jumping Spider Mimic Planthopper (Caliscelis bonellii) – 0.2-0.3″. Males black with tan saddle striped in black/white, females alternate dark brown and tan. Enlarged front legs and movement appear to mimic jumping spider. Feeds on grass. Introduced from Europe. (photo © Marcello Consolo)
Abnormal Partridge Bug Scolops abnormis lanternfly
Abnormal Partridge Bug (Scolops abnormis) – 0.3″. Tan or beige with darker head/proboscis. Head is upturned. Proboscis angled and thickened more than any related species. Feeds on milkweed sap. (photo © K Schneider)

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