Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Latest Progression Obsession: Keeled Treehoppers, Part II

Previously, I introduced you to some keeled treehopper nymphs, spikey little alien-looking critters that had invaded my tomato plant. Well, after a while, being a spikey little adolescent takes a toll on a critter, and, like a lot of us, they eventually decide to just mellow out and become smooth, green, tank-like adults. OK, I need to work on that a little, but you get what I'm saying.

Unfortunately, the picture quality in this series is not quite as good as it was in the last one (but you can still click on any picture to enlarge it)--I took this set of pictures before I took the set of pictures in my previous post, and I hadn't quite perfected the iPhone macro shot yet. Also, I was sitting in a dark room. Wearing a headlamp. Don't ask, just...be impressed that they came out as well as they did, OK?

Anyway...here's how you go from this:

to this:

in just 20 short minutes. (This is, like, the best make-over ever!)

First, you wriggle out of your old, spikey shell, with your little wings all folded up behind your head like little white spitballs.

It's OK if they start to unfurl a little bit before you're all the way out. Just keep your head down and keep going.

Whew! Now that you are out of that cramped little space (how did you get by in there for so long??), you can really start working on those wings.

Almost there...

They're all nice and fluffed up, now make them just a tiny bit longer. (Oh boy, there are going to be some disappointed people landing on this page through key-word searches!)

Perfect! Now you can start elongating that helmety-looking bit with the orange racing stripe.

Good, good, now bring it down a little.

A little more...

Keep going...

Perfect! Looks good! 

Very streamlined.

"Hello...Are you my mother?"

Now, turn around, face down your past, and prepare to go out into the world and wreak havoc on my tomato plants.

Yep, just like that.

So, whaddaya think? Pretty cool, huh? I mean, not for my tomato plant, but from a transformation perspective, it's pretty impressive. The only bummer about this is that they don't seem to have any natural predators. I did get a lizard to eat one of the adults, but it didn't seem very impressed; and the nymphs are just as pokey as they look. I wouldn't want to eat one! My tomato died, and the treehopper numbers started dwindling. A few started showing up on other, smaller tomatoes, and I couldn't let another population explosion occur, but I couldn't bring myself to squish them or spray them either. I ended up picking them off and dropping them onto the lanai. I was hoping to lure in more lizards, but they're no dummies; they weren't interested. I figured if any treehoppers made it back across the lanai and up into a pot, well, maybe I'd just let them be.       

"Do I look like some kind of dummy to you? I'm not eatin' one of those things."


Wendy said...

oh gosh. I will have nightmares tonight! But yes, definitely a positive makeover!

Ali said...

Fascinating! I love your little step-by-step instructions for a treehopper makeover.

Sorry about your tomato plant, though.

Mike Frighetto said...

I thing Google ate my comment...

Very cool that you caught all this. But, why would something so freaking looking change into something so bland looking? Seems backwards. :)

Dreamybee said...

Wendy-No, don't have nightmares! They are actually very cute and personable (as long as you're not a tomato plant).

Ali-That's OK-I've got more volunteer tomatoes than I know what to do with. Besides, I was running out of support structure for that one anyway.

Mike-I hate when Google does that! LOL-I think it's part of the growing up process. At some point, you realize no one will take you seriously or give you a job if you're walking around covered in spikes and stripes.

age spots said...

Whoa! That was intense. I was glued to the photos waiting for what's about to happen next. I was like a kid watching Animal Planet or Discovery Channel. Haha. That was really fascinating, I'm impressed. Great job! (Sorry to hear about your tomatoes being destroyed though.)

Dreamybee said...

age spots- LOL--I'm glad you enjoyed the post. No worries about the tomato plant...I've always got volunteers popping up somewhere. Thanks for stopping by!