November 04, 2019

Coverage of the lanternfly genus Pyrops on iNaturalist

Lanternflies, and the genus Pyrops in particular, are in my opinion among the most interesting and charismatic of insects. Large and colorful with bizarre long "snouts", about 67 species are currently recognized. At the end of 2018, 20 of those species were represented on iNat. Almost one year later, iNat now has observations for 29 species, just over 40% of the described diversity, adding 3 species from continental Asia, 3 more from Borneo, 2 from the Philippines and 1 from Sulawesi, bringing the total number of Pyrops observations to over 800.

The most commonly observed Pyrops on iNaturalist is P. candelaria, and for a few reasons. This is easily the most widespread member of the genus, found throughout continental southeast Asia, and it is also the most common member of the genus in a region that has a very large iNat presence: Hong Kong. About 80% of the over 500 observations of Pyrops candelaria are centered around Hong Kong; in contrast, many other Pyrops species are restricted to much more remote regions. Despite being widespread and commonly encountered, as well as being the first Pyrops ever described back in the mid-1700s, there is no common name for this species.

Pyrops candelaria. Sterling Sheehy, some rights reserved (CC-BY)

The second most commonly observed Pyrops on iNaturalist is P. watanabei, but unlike P. candelaria this is not a particularly widespread species. But similar to P. candelaria, this species benefits from being the most common species in a very populous place, in this case Taiwan. Only three species of Pyrops are known from Taiwan, and the country has records of two of the three on iNat. While P. candelaria is found here as well, it is not nearly as dominant as it is in Hong Kong or other parts of continental southeast Asia.

Pyrops watanabei, © 羅忠良, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

While Pyrops is well represented in continental southeast Asia, the majority of species are insular endemics, restricted to just one or more islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, or the Philippines. Among the most well-traveled of these locations is the island of Borneo, which boasts 12 species of Pyrops and fills out the top five of the most observed species on iNat. Borneo has a very unique fauna, and over half of the lanternflies found there are endemic to the island. The Pyrops fauna of Borneo is very well documented on iNat, thanks in large part to the contributions of Chien Lee ( @cclborneo ) and over 70 other observers. Only two species have yet to be observed on iNat from the region. For anyone interested in learning more about the fauna, I recommend the book "A Guide to the Lanternflies of Borneo" by Bosuang et al (2017), which features beautiful photography from @cclborneo and others, or check out all of the observations of Pyrops from Borneo on iNat..

Most commonly observed Pyrops of Borneo. From left to right: Pyrops sultanus, © budak, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC). Pyrops whiteheadi, © Leonid, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC). Pyrops intricatus, © Kinmatsu Lin, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC).

So far, having looked at Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Borneo, we've accounted for 640 of the 827 Pyrops observations on iNaturalist. If we extend the region to also include all of continental Asia as well, then 817 observations are represented covering 24 total species. From continental Asia, iNat is currently missing observations of P. astarte, P. atroalbus, P. itoi, P. jianfenglingensis, P. peguensis, and P. shiinaorum, and from Borneo iNat only needs P. ochracea and P. synavei. In total, iNat has 24 out of 32 species (75%) from the region including continental Asia plus Borneo. Pretty good!

Misc. lanternflies of continental Asia. From left to right: Pyrops viridirostris, © Dr. Vijay Anand Ismavel MS MCh, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA). Pyrops maculatus ssp. delessertii, © Sahana M, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC). Pyrops spinolae, © budak, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC).

But continental Asia plus Borneo only contains less than half of the described Pyrops diversity, and only ten total observations (~1.2%) on iNat fall outside of this region. The Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java are home to 12 endemic species, but iNat only has 7 total observations from this region representing two species total. Across all observations of all species (not just Pyrops), Sumatra only has about 6000 total observations from about 350 observers; compare that to Borneo, which has about 28000 total observations from 1400 observers total.

Lanterflies of Sumatra. From left to right: Pyrops ruehli, © Pasha Kirillov, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA). Pyrops pythicus, © Oscar Johnson, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-ND).

The island of Sulawesi has an even smaller presence on iNat, with only about 260 total observers. Six endemic Pyrops are found here, but only one singular observation of the genus has ever been made on iNat.

Pyrops valerian, Sulawesi, © imanakbar, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

The final region to consider, with a very high degree of endemism, is the Philippines, where thirteen Pyrops species are known. In contrast to Sumatra and Sulawesi, the Philippines actually has a fairly decent iNat presence, with more total observations and users than Borneo. Despite this, only two Pyrops observations have ever been made here, representing two species (both having been observed in the past 3 months). The lack of Pyrops observations from the Philippines despite the country's high population could be the result of very narrow species distributions, with some species being restricted to particular islands or regions which are not highly populated. Additionally, much of the iNat activity from the Philippines is from marine habitats, and insects are not as commonly observed as they are in Borneo, for example. However, as iNat continues to grow in the Philippines I would expect the representation of lanternflies to grow as well.

Pyrops polillensis, © tiluchi, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

It is wonderful to see more and more of these odd bugs represented on iNaturalist. In the years to come I hope we can see even more species represented, including some of the rare endemics from less documented regions. In the meantime, if you're interested in lanternflies I would definitely suggest checking out what iNaturalist currently has to offer here.

Posted on November 04, 2019 13:28 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 3 comments | Leave a comment

September 02, 2019

it's been 400 days, 6700+ observations of 2000+ species

...since I saw my last earwig. Weird. In the same time span there have been 6500 observations of earwigs worldwide on iNat from over 4500 observers. I remember I used to see earwigs almost daily back when I was living in California.

Posted on September 02, 2019 21:12 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 5 comments | Leave a comment

May 19, 2019

New iNat Guide to the lanternfly genus Pyrops

Using iNat's Guides interface, I created what will hopefully be considered to be a useful guide to the genus Pyrops, and what I plan to be the first of many hopper-based guides. Click through to check it out:

Asian Lanternflies of the genus Pyrops


  • Covers all 68 species in the genus
  • Maps for all species
  • Easily sort species by distribution patterns
  • Sort species by Species Group, including a brief synopsis of each group (see diagram below)
  • Easily check which species are illustrated in which publications
  • Easily check which publications are most useful for which regions
  • An annotated bibliography of references, including links to PDFs when available
  • Coming soon:

  • Sort species by forewing pattern, hindwing color, and cephalic process shape/color
  • Pictures for more species not yet on iNat
  • Goals

  • Facilitate easy identification of species by sorting a large genus into more manageable groups
  • Identify gaps in iNaturalist's coverage of species (for example, the genus is very diverse in the Philippines but there are currently no observations there)

  • Fig. 1: Pyrops species groups head detail
    © Arnold Wijker, Gonam, Carmelo López Abad, and Sterling Sheehy, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

    Posted on May 19, 2019 15:12 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 1 comments | Leave a comment

    April 30, 2019

    Psyllid species on BugGuide but not yet on iNat

    iNat's representation of psyllid diversity continues to grow, currently represented by 211 species globally and 118 species in North America (about a third of the US fauna). But there are still holes, especially in central/eastern USA as well as Alaska, and 31 nearctic species are still absent on iNat despite being present on BugGuide. Let's fill the gaps!

    Aphalara monticola - western Canada
    Aphalara persicaria - eastern USA
    Craspedolepta angustipennis - widespread on Achillea millefolium
    Craspedolepta schwarzi - Canada and Alaska on Chamaenerion angustifolium
    Craspedolepta suaedae - southwestern USA on Suaeda
    Craspedolepta subpunctata - Canada and Alaska on Chamaenerion angustifolium
    Gyropsylla ilecis - conspicuous gall inducers on Ilex vomitoria from FL to TX. It's possible the galls may already be on iNat but unidentified
    Pachypsylla celtidisinteneris - central US from OH-KS-TX on Celtis
    Pachypsylla cohabitans - widespread eastern US on Celtis - look for very lumpy nipple galls!

    Calophya flavida - eastern USA on Rhus glabra

    Livia bifasciata - northeastern USA and Canada on Juncus canadensis
    Livia maculipennis - northeastern USA and Canada on Juncus acuminatus
    Livia saltatrix - northeastern USA and Canada on Carex
    Livia vernaliforma - western USA on Carex
    Livia vernalis added 5/7/19 by mokennon

    Pseudophacopteron - AZ, FL. Host unknown
    Notes: iNat currently has no photos of this entire family from any region

    Amorphicola pallida - Central USA (IA, MN, KS, NE) on Amorpha canescens
    Cacopsylla fatsiae - CA, BC on Fatsia japonica (introduced)
    Cacopsylla negundinis - NM east to OH north to AB & MB, on Acer negundo
    Cacopsylla ribesiae - Western USA on Ribes
    Cacopsylla sinuata - Canada and Alaska on Salix
    Cacopsylla striata - northern USA and Canada on Betula
    Psylla betulaenanae - Alaska on Betula nana

    Bactericera athenae - FL, KS, IN. Host unknown
    Calinda longicaudata - AZ-TX on Baccharis pteronioides
    Ceropsylla sideroxyli - gall inducer in South Florida on Sideroxylon foetidissimum
    Hemitrioza sonchi - eastern US supposedly on Sonchus arvensis (?)
    Heterotrioza chenopodii - adventive on Chenopodium
    Neotriozella pyrifolii - eastern US, host unknown.
    Trioza aylmeriae - northern US and Canada on Amelanchier
    Trioza quadripunctata - widespread on Urtica

    Posted on April 30, 2019 20:29 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 0 comments | Leave a comment

    January 24, 2019

    Identification of Neotropical Nogodinidae

    Nogodinids are a small, odd family of mostly tropical planthoppers, consisting of lacy-winged Ricaniid-like forms as well as opaque-winged Issid-like forms. In the new world, the family is found throughout Central and South America, with a single species adventive in the US (Florida). This post seeks to clarify identification of the "Ricaniid-like" species of the subtribe Nogodinina.

    Above: some examples of neotropical Nogodinidae. Photos © Rich Hoyer ( @birdernaturalist ) some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA)

    While there are not many genera concerned in this group and identification is not complicated, most of the relevant documentation was written in German. Due to this, I produce here in English an illustrated key to the genera of Nogodinina, modified from Schmidt 1919. In Central America, all species will key to either one of the first two genera here; the remaining genera are exclusively South American.

    1a. Four main veins arise from the basal cell (fig 1): Nogodina
    1b. Three main veins arise from the basal cell (fig 2) . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Fig 1: Nogodina venation at basal cell

    Fig 2: Biolleyana venation at basal cell

    2a. Transverse veins in the clavus (fig 3, in red): Biolleyana
    2b. Clavus lacking transverse veins . . . . . . . . . 3

    3a. Tegmina (forewings) 1.5 times as long as wide at the widest point; apical edge truncated; costal edge strongly bent; costal membrane with more than ten transverse nerves (fig 3, in blue). . . . . . . . . .4
    3b. Tegmina twice as long as wide at the widest point, apex not truncated; costal edge not sharply bent; less than 10 transverse nerves in the costal membrane: Orthothyreus

    4a. Medial cell with transverse vein: Neovarcia
    4b. Medial cell lacking transverse vein (fig 3, in yellow): Varciopsis

    Fig 3: Biolleyana pictifrons, © @jsatler, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC), photo modified to highlight veins in the clavus (red), in the costal membrane (blue), and the median cell (yellow)

    As stated above, Central American species will key to either Nogodina (one species) or Biolleyana (three species). All five genera may be found in South America. As the majority of observations on iNat are of the genus Biolleyana though, I present here a simplified key to the species in that genus.

    1a. Transverse veins in costal membrane few (under 15), widely spaced (fig 4): Biolleyana costalis. Costa Rica to Ecuador
    1b. Transverse veins in costal membrane numerous (more than 15), dense (fig 5). . . . . . . . . . 2

    2a. Wings weakly maculated, yellowish; most conspicuous mark a bold spot near the stigma (fig 5): Biolleyana fenestra. Costa Rica to Panama
    2b. Wings heavily maculated with black (fig 3): Biolleyana pictifrons. Mexico to Costa Rica

    Fig 4 (left): Biolleyana costalis; Fig 5 (right): Biolleyana fenestra. Photos © Rich Hoyer ( @birdernaturalist ) some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA)

    I hope this post is useful in differentiating these neotropical hoppers. I intend to create future posts aiming to aid in identification, so if there is anything I can do to clarify things better please let me know! And if you want to see more Nogodinids on iNat, here you go.

    Posted on January 24, 2019 17:24 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 5 comments | Leave a comment

    January 05, 2019

    Notes on the Fulgorid genus Amantia

    Amantia is a genus of South American Fulgorid characterized by spotted wings and a broad irregular apical band. This note is to attempt to clarify the recognition of species in the genus and illuminate some issues regarding identification.

    © Luis G Restrepo, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

    4 species have been described in the genus:

    Amantia combusta (Westwood, 1845)
    Amantia imperatoria (Gerstaecker, 1860)
    Amantia magnifica Schmidt, 1910
    Amantia peruana Schmidt, 1910

    A. combusta was described and illustrated by Westwood, available here. A. imperatoria was described and illustrated by Gerstaecker here (fig 7) and again in color by Distant here. The other two species have not been illustrated to my knowledge. Both of those species were described by Schmidt, in German, who then provided a key to the genus. I reproduce here a translated version of that key.

    1a) Costal space of the forewing without spots or with an indistinct one in front of the broad apical band, in the corium and clavus together less than 10 spots, veins in the basal parts strong and looser . . . . . . . 2
    1b) Costal space of the forewings with four round, larger spots, in the corium and clavus together more than ten spots, veins in the basal parts less strong and narrower. . . . . . . 4
    2a) Before the apical margin of the forewings, a broad, angularly broken transverse band, in the corium about six reddish spots distinct . . . . . . . 3
    2b) Forewing black with red veins, the black-lined apical band accompanied by a narrow, brownish yellow band, an angular broken band in front of the apical band is not present, the spots in the Corium are very indistinct. Length 36mm, Bolivia. . . . . . . .A. peruana var. infasciata
    3a) pronotum monochrome, light brownish yellow. The costal space of the forewings without spot, in the corium six and in the clavus four reddish spots clearly. Opaque wing black with red veins, the narrow band in front of the black Apicalsaume(?) is light brownish-yellow and the angularly broken apical band reddish. Basal field of the wings blood red, against the black apical space paler, root black. Length 40mm. Peru . . . . . . .A. peruana
    3b) Pronotum dark green, the rear edge is narrow red-yellow lined. In the costal room of the upper wings, in front of the angularly broken apical fascia, a reddish spot, six reddish spots in the corium; the narrow band in front of the black apical half and the angularly broken apical band pale brownish-yellow and greenish; Basal part black with reddish nerves. Length 32mm. Columbia . . . . . . .A. combusta
    4a) Four spots In the costal space of the forewing, and in the corium and clavus more than twenty (24) ocher-yellow spots; the angular apical band is narrow, a little wider than the band in front of the apical margin, both bands are yellow ocher. The veins are very dense, green and ocher-yellow, on black ground. Apical part of the wings black, basal part golden yellow with a slight reddish tone near the root. Length 35mm. Columbia. . . . . . . . A. magnifica
    4b) Four spots in the costal space of the forewing, and in the corium and clavus together less than twenty (15) ocher spots; the angular apical fascia is interrupted in the middle, and darker ocher-yellow than the bandage in front of the black apex. Basal part of the wings red, apical part black, wing root black. Costa Rica. Panama . . . . . . .A. imperatoria

    Based on the key, it seems the most useful character for diagnosing the species may be the amount of spots on the wing. A summary of that character in particular is given as follows:
    Amantia combusta : 1 red spot on costa, 6 red spots on corium
    Amantia imperatoria : 4 yellow spots in costa, less than 20 (15) yellow spots on rest of wing
    Amantia magnifica : 4 yellow spots in costa, more than 20 (24) yellow spots on rest of wing
    Amantia peruana : No spots in costa, ten red spots on rest of wing

    As of this writing, all Amantia on iNat are identified as being A. combusta. However, based on interpretation of this key, all of the Amantia currently on iNat have 4 spots in the costal area and about 15ish spots in the clavus and corium combined, which takes them to A. imperatoria in Schmidt's key. However, they are not A. imperatoria, which as the original illustrations demonstrate, has the apical band broken, relatively thin, and not nearly as irregular as the other members of this genus. I feel as if there are only two logical conclusions here. Either (1) Schmidt's key is inadequate, and the number of wing spots is not sufficient to diagnose A. combusta, or (2) the iNat observations of Amantia, all from Colombia, represent an undescribed species. I am tempted to lean towards the former interpretation for the time being, but the issue remains unresolved.

    As a final note, I must clarify that I have not yet seen Porion's Catalog of the North American Fulgoridae (1994), and am curious if Amantia is illustrated there. I recommend review of this publication before taking any action on this genus.

    Posted on January 05, 2019 05:45 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 4 comments | Leave a comment

    July 26, 2018

    Sharpshooter leafhoppers (Cicadellinae) of the Santa Catalina Mountains

    Sharpshooters tend to be some of the larger, bolder, and most visible leafhoppers, and there's no shortage of them on Mount Lemmon. This collection is by no means comprehensive and the associated data is far from complete, but should serve as a good starting place for these hoppers in this region and surrounding areas.

    1. Hordnia atropunctata (blue-green sharpshooter)
    June-Sept. 7000-8800 feet. Polyphagous. Common.
    2. Hordnia aurora
    June. 5800-7600 feet. Common on undetermined host

    3. Sibovia compta
    June. 5800 feet. Common on undetermined host
    4. Cuerna arida
    June. 8000 feet. Common. I suspect there may be multiple Cuerna spp. in this range.

    5-9. Neokolla spp. and similar brownish mottled sharpshooters
    June. 5800-9000 feet. Common. I do not understand this group and I'm not positive that all of these individuals are congeneric, but I am including here all of the mottled brownish sharpshooters that may either belong to Neokolla or related genera. I don't know how many species are present in this range, but there appears to be either great variability or great diversity within this group.

    10-13. A few more unknowns
    A collection of distinct-looking hoppers which, despite my best efforts, have bested me in the search for an ID. Images 11 and 12 may be individual variations of the same species.

    Posted on July 26, 2018 17:45 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 0 comments | Leave a comment

    July 12, 2018

    Why not visit Arizona?

    Arizona: we've got good bugs here™*

    (and we've got other stuff too , if you're like, not into bugs for some reason)

    Seriously though, come visit. Monsoon season's just begun which will result in a flurry of interesting wildlife very soon (and there's already a ton of good stuff out here).

    Yep, that's the entire post.

    *not actually a trademark of anything

    Posted on July 12, 2018 01:13 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 5 comments | Leave a comment

    July 08, 2018

    need help: how can I convert large .mov files to .wav for audio observations?

    I make audio observations by recording video with my camera and then converting those .mov files to .wav using However, that only allows conversion of files not exceeding 100mb, and I have quite a few files that are larger than this and I don't know what to do with them. Does anybody know of a trusted program/website I can use to convert these files? I tried using VLC which can convert .mov to .mp3 , but that results in a tremendous loss of quality on the recording and the resulting files are simply not good enough to upload. And I know there are probably better ways to record audio in the field that would bypass this problem, but that doesn't do anything for the many recordings I already have.

    Any help at all would be very appreciated!

    Posted on July 08, 2018 00:52 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 5 comments | Leave a comment

    July 03, 2018

    Net-winged Beetles (Lycidae) of the Santa Catalina Mountains

    Up until 3 months ago, I had never seen a net-winged beetle. I always figured they would be one of those semi-obscure beetle families that I would probably run into eventually but shouldn't make a habit out of expecting. Then at the Del Rio Texas iNat gathering, I found my first one, just as wonderful as I expected it to be. Shortly after returning home to Arizona, I found another species in the Catalina foothills. A couple of months went by, and then, in the last two weeks, I've found an additional seven(!) species.

    Perhaps it's a short-lived seasonal occurrence, but thousands of net-winged beetles are flying in the Santa Catalina Mountains right now. At any given elevation along the Mount Lemmon highway, you can reasonably expect that if you get out of your car and look around for 5 minutes you will be able to find some, with many different species occurring together. Here are my findings relating to the net-winged beetles I've found so far, starting with the low elevation species and working our way up from there.

    Lycus sanguineus

    Recorded elevation: 3200 ft.
    This was the first Lycid I found in Arizona, and the lowest elevation species. I've only found it in the Catalina foothills, and bugguide records from Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park seem to further confirm that this is more of a lowland species than the others I've encountered. This is the only Lycid I've seen in the foothills, however my dataset is biased since I havn't been spending much time in the foothills as summer temperatures have been forcing me higher up the mountain.

    Lycus arizonensis

    Recorded elevation: 4300-6000 ft.
    This is the most common Lycid at low-mid elevations, and I've seen them from Molino Basin up until the General Hitchcock Campground at about 6000 feet. At Middle Bear Picnic area they are particularly common, and the largest of several orange lycids that can be seen flying there. At higher elevations they seem to be replaced by Lycus fulvellus.

    Lygistopterus ignitus

    Recorded elevation: 5800 ft.
    This is a small Lycid, and it appears to be somewhat rare. I've only seen 4 individuals, all at the Middle Bear Picnic area, and there is just a single bugguide record. That observation, from Margarethe Brummermann, was made at about 8000 feet.

    Lycus loripes/simulans

    Recorded elevation: 5800 ft.
    I've found this Lycid once, at Middle Bear. It belongs to a complex of two species that can be told apart by the shape of the rostrum, and it's possible that one or both species occur in this range. Regardless, it appears to be either quite rare, very localized, or perhaps it's not quite their season yet.

    Plateros sp. 1

    Recorded elevation: 5800-8000 ft.
    The first of two distinct yet currently unidentifiable Plateros sp., this small solid black Lycid appears quite uncommon throughout the higher elevations. I've seen them from Middle Bear up to Marshall Gulch, but never more than one at a time.

    Lygistopterus rubripennis

    Recorded elevation: 5800-7500 ft.
    I've seen these Lycids as low as Middle Bear, but if you really want to see this species then take the highway to its completion at Marshall Gulch. There, this species is prolific, especially along the creek. Further down the mountain, I rarely encounter this species.

    Lycus fulvellus

    Recorded elevation: 7300-8000 ft.
    This is the most prolific Lycid at high elevation right now. I've seen them as low as the Bug Spring Trailhead (around 7300 feet) and they are exceptionally abundant right now near the Palisades (which is where I took this photo). Interestingly though, they are only the third most common netwing beetle at Marshall Gulch. There, Lygistopterus rubripennis and Lycus sanguinipennis take over, though this species still remains quite common.

    Lycus sanguinipennis

    Recorded elevation: 7400-8000 ft.
    Rare everywhere else I've looked, but the most common species at Marshall Gulch. It's impossible not to find them hovering through open meadows or resting on the vegetation up there.

    Plateros sp. 2

    Recorded elevation: 7500 ft.
    I've only seen this species once, at Marshall Gulch. Unfortunately, there are many species that look like this, so it may remain unidentified indefinitely.

    And that's it! All nine Lycids I've recorded from the Catalinas so far. But there are certainly even more, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to encounter some new ones soon. If you're looking for Lycids, why not visit Arizona? And if you're already here, keep an eye out for these beetles next time you're taking a walk through the mountains.

    Posted on July 03, 2018 17:46 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 2 comments | Leave a comment