The lantern bug is one of the most fascinating insects with its colorful appearance. Many photographers and zoologists as well as entomologists come to Asia to see their spectacular colors. Here are 6 amazing facts about lantern bugs (Pyrops)!
1. What is a lantern bug?
Lantern bugs are planthopper species and they belong to the genus Pyrops.
Any insect in the Fulgoromorpha infraorder is a planthopper. This infraorder now comprises 20 families, including the Fulgoridae which is a big insect family with roughly 140 genera globally. All of the insects in the group are mostly found in tropical nations. And the lantern bug is one of them.
People often mistake the lantern bug (pyrops) for the bad spotted lanternfly since they have a similar name and come from the same family. However, they belong to different genera.
The lantern bugs are also called by different names like lanthorn flies or lanternflies. This is because humans thought the long snout of these insects produced light. Although this is not correct, the bug’s nickname has remained.
2. They have brilliant contrasting colors
There are about 70 lantern bug (pyrops) species. All of them come with different yet gorgeous appearances.
The lantern bugs are strange and fascinating insects found across the Asian tropics. They have 6 legs and a mouth of a mosquito.
They are distinguished by their long and up-curving rostrum (beak), which resembles a rhino horn. This rostrum usually has the same length as its body.
This snout is quite special and appealing. As mentioned above, because of this rostrum, this species earned its name. People used to think the snout was glowing at night. Now they know that it’s not true.
Besides the long snout, these lantern bugs are also outstanding due to their brilliantly contrasted coloring. With these vibrant colors, they’re one of the most stunning insects in the world. Depending on the species, their major body colors are usually yellow, reddish, orange, blue, greenish, black, and white.
The rostrum will be blue, reddish, white, yellow, green, and black. Some species have white spots on their snout, the others have the snout’s tip with contrasting colors.
Like butterflies, lantern bugs have colorful wings. The colorations of the forewings and the back wings are different. For example:
– Pyrops candelaria has green forewings with gold patches and orange hindwings with black tips.
– Pyrops heringi: Its forewings are white with dark patches and amber-color tips. Its back wings are blue with orange tips.
– Pyrops delesserti: Its front wings are black with orangeish spots, while the back wings are white with black tips.
Although these insects have wings, they don’t fly much. Instead of that, they hop. When getting tired of hopping, they begin to walk side by side like a small crab.
In comparison to many other insects, they are pretty big. Their average length from head to thorax is 1.5 to 2 inches (37-42mm.) Their rostrums are almost the same length. They have a wingspan of around 3 inches (70-80mm).
You may read some of the other beautiful insects on the planet for further information:
3. They are Asian insects
Lantern bug species are mainly found in the tropics and subtropics. They come from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, and other Southeast Asian countries.
These insects live in trees. They frequently stay on the same tree from generation to generation. These arboreal insects are consistently related to a particular host tree and/or vine. Certain Pyrops species employ certain fruiting host trees. For example, the Pyrops candelaria prefers to stay in longan trees.
You might be able to see them if you look closely at the trunks of big trees. Despite their great size and beautiful colors, the insects are still hard to spot. This is because they do not move unless they are disturbed.
4. They discharge abundant food through their bodies
Lantern bugs are herbivores. To eat, they use their rostrum. Instead of producing light, their rostrum is designed to frighten off predators and suck fruit juice or plant sap from host trees like olive, lychee, mango, or longan trees.
It punctures plants, fruit, and trees with its sharp rostrum to extract juices and sticky sap. This secretion provides a trace of the protein they need. However, this liquid also has lots of unnecessary sugar.
Because sap is heavy in sugar and poor in the other nutrients required, lantern bugs must consume a large amount of it for their development. This means they have to eat an enormous amount of needless sugar.
To deal with this, they let the redundant sap leak from their body as honeydew. Then they leave the location to avoid any attack from the ants.
Lantern bugs go through an incomplete metamorphosis. The adults stay in the host tree in the winter. They begin to be active around March.
The breeding season begins in May. They normally deposit their eggs on tree branches that are 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 meters) above the ground. The female normally lays eggs once every year, reaching 60 to 100 eggs. The eggs hatch in 20 to 30 days. The nymphs (young lanternflies) will go through multiple molting stages to become adult lantern bugs.
6. They are considered as pests
With its big size, gorgeous wing design, and enlarged cephalic process, the longan lanternfly is one of the most beautiful insects.
However, they’re considered pests in some countries because their primary host plants are fruit trees (pomelo, longan, etc). Previous research has identified the lantern bug as an agricultural pest, but its impact is still quite small. They don’t kill trees or something like that. So, the lantern bugs are still unharmful insects.
7. Lantern Bug – slide puzzle online
- The Lantern bug (pyrops candelaria) – https://www.wildcreatureshongkong.org/single-post/2019/10/29/the-lantern-bug-pyrops-candelaria
- The Beauty of Lantern Bugs – https://wildlifethailand.com/blog-posts/arthropods/233-the-beauty-of-lantern-bugs