Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the December 20, 2015 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

While photographing Joch the Velvet Panther Ant, one of the prettiest leafhoppers I've ever seen turned up on the soft-fleshed, developing tip of one of the Heliconia's bracts, shown below:

Sharpshooter Leafhopper, ERYTHROGONIA LAUDATA

Leafhoppers suck plant juices by inserting their very slender, hypodermic-needle-like proboscis into the plant's tissue. You can barely make out this one's proboscis right below the eye.

This is a small species, only ¼ inch long (6.5mm). So many species exist that often they're hard to identify. However, this one is so eye-catching that I thought maybe volunteer identifier Bea in Ontario could find labeled pictures of one on the Internet, and that was exactly the case. It wasn't long until she'd declared it ERYTHROGONIA LAUDATA, for some reason in English known as the Sharpshooter, described as native to Mexico and Belize south to Honduras.

It turns out that Sharpshooter pictures are numerous on the Internet, but they are unaccompanied by observations, so the life history of the species is hard to make out.

However, one technical paper was found saying that Erythrogonia laudata is one of two leafhopper species found feeding on banana plants in Honduras.

That rang a bell with me, for the Heliconia plant, Heliconia latispatha, next to my hut door is a member of the Banana Family, the Musaceae.

Therefore, with great pleasure here we can announce to the search-engine-using world that adults of the small, pretty Sharpshooter Leafhopper, Erythrogonia laudata, feed not only on banana trees, but also on at least one other member of the Banana Family, the genus Heliconia.