The Daily Post- Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top

Cherry on Top

In 2007 I posted some images to Flickr for identification. They were of a very distinctive leafhopper from the Order: Hemiptera. Suborder: Cicadomorpha. Superfamily: Membracoidea. Family: Cicadellidae. Subfamily: Typhlocybinae. I was thinking that the Genus might well be Zygina, but not being sure, and not until after searching the then British list, and comparing photos, did I realise that it was not listed. So I was not surprised when Dr Joe Botting, a palaeontologist who had a great  interest  in Hemiptera, which  indeed led to him open 2 groups, one for Homoptera, what Cicadomorpha were known as back in the early 2000’s, the other group being Heteroptera, but that’s another story. Sorry for the little digression, had to establish Joe’s credentials. It was he who picked up on my upload, and along with some leafhopper* images of his own dispatched them post haste to Dr Alan Stewart the national recorder for Auchenorrhyncha** for determination. Well I should imagine that Joe was a tad taken aback, for the reply he received back from Alan went something along the lines of, *Never mind your images Joe, where were the other ones photographed and by whom”? Well I could tell Joe was excited, me, I was over the moon, for it turned out that I was only the third person to record this species since 2001, and that record was made in East, with a specimen caught in an insect trap way down in  the county of Kent. Mine was made in my garden, having tapped it off Yellow Flag Iris growing around the banks of my pond. Oh, the year of my record 2007, implying that it had gone 6 years unrecorded. The following is a copy of the online conservation Joe an myself had re my find.

Mick Talbot 9 years ago
Off Yelow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus)
Location: Lincoln City
Site: My garden
Joe Botting 9years ago’
WOW. Alright, I’m impressed. Never seen this one before! 😀
Mick Talbot 9 years
Although I found it on the yellow flag iris in my garden, I am not suggesting that it is the host plant. There is the possibility that it was disturbed from the adjacent flora? Not quite as impressive as some you get down your way, but quite pretty for all that.

Zyginella pulchra
Zyginella pulchra
Joe Botting 9 years ago
I’ve looked up Iris as a host plant, and there are no leafhoppers listed in my books. This either means it was a transient visitor, or it’s just such a rare association that they’ve not bothered to include it. The search goes on…
It was at this time Joe sent the images off. Receiving the following.
Joe Botting 9 years ago
You’re going to like this: it’s Zyginella pulchra.
From Alan Stewart (national recorder):
“The second looks really very exciting. If I’m not mistaken, it is Zyginella pulchra, which has only just been recorded as new to Britain. A short note was recently published in the Journal of the British Entomological & Natural History Society about a specimen captured at East Malling Research Station in Kent, and it has also recently been recorded in Sussex. To find it in Lincoln is really remarkable. It is supposed to feed on sycamore, but I suppose it may have dropped off onto some Yellow flag growing plants below? Please can you send on the record details (date, location etc.)”
If you want to give me the detailed info, I’ll pass it on – or I’ll give you Alan’s email, whichever you prefer. Anyway – rather a nice find, wouldn’t you say? 🙂
Michael Talbot 9y
Wow!!!! Thats really is fantastic news, thank you very much for passing it on.
WOW!! Still sinking in.
Photo taken on November 6th 2007; time,1400hrs, weather; patchy sun, wind, breezy SW, temperature, high 50’s C.
Site: My garden, which does have 3 bonsai Sycamores, (Acer pseudoplatanus), one bonsai London Plane (Hybrid Plane (Platanus × hispanica, synonym Platanus × acerifolia)), and one small (shrub size) Japanese Red Maple (Acer palmatum atropurpureum). The closest mature Sycamores are some 200 M from my garden, in a large copse locally known as the “Backies Woods”, this being adjacent to the Council named site “The Backies”.
On: Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus), could possibly of come off the Acer’s.
Location: Lincoln City
Note, the wind was blowing towards the Backies Woods. W.S.W.
Joe that is all the details that I have noted, if there is anything else you need to know please let me know, for I would prefer you to pass on the details.
Many, many thanks,
PS There is a possibility that it could of hitched a ride on my clothing, ether from the Backies Woods, or more probably from Boultham Park. The park has many Sycamores, and if I did bring it into the garden it would, I think, of come from there.
Joe Botting 9y
That’s brilliant, Michael – I’ll pass it on. One other thing – we’ll need a grid reference too (six figure is enough), to slot into the database. You can find it from multimap if need be, but I’m sure you have a map handy. 🙂 If you don’t want to post that here, just message me instead.
It’s really good to see this group starting to get such interesting results, so thanks to you for your enthusiasm in posting all those leafhoppers!

The end result of the correspondence, thanks to Joe, was that, along with others, I had my records entered into the Journal of the British Entomological and Natural History Society. I was actually sent a copy of the entry, but I have misplaced it, or lost it, else I would of put it up here. Well the latter, was for me, the ‘Cherry on top’, (not, I hasten to add, that I lost or misplaced my copy), and it apparently inspired a good few more to venture out and find it too, and that for me was the biggest, “Cherry on top“.

Personally I have recorded this  many more times since, and I know that Alan Stewart would be interested in even more. All information on recording and where to send your record can be found at Ledra. Where to find it, well at this time of year you will/can, if your lucky, find it on the lower branches of Sycamore. I say lucky for when Sycamore is in full leaf it spends most of its time high up in the canopy.  During fall, and up until the its host is back in leaf again it can easily be found by tapping/beating Ivy, Leylandii, and maybe other conifers  where it overwinters, good luck. I will also mention that all green females can be easily confirmed as Z. pulchra by a black chinstrap as it only them that have it, plus the defining single black spot at  the wing tips. I am not aware if any females have the characteristic red V of the males on the corio claval suture. Teneral’s  can be light shades of yellow/green. I will post some more images, one showing the females chinstrap. Happy hunting.

Daily Photo Challenge – Cherry On Top


Comeinandsitdown – Cherry On Top


Author: Mick Talbot

Besotted with nature in all its wondrous formats.

2 thoughts on “The Daily Post- Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top”

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