There are two things that we have to stop assuming because the photos you”re about to see are about to smash those assumptions to smithereens:
1. That butterflies are the only pretty creatures in the insect world and
2. That baby bugs can”t be really, really cute.
Meet the planthopper nymph. “Nymph,” when talking about bugs, means “baby,” and these babies are pretty fabulous.
This little dude looks like it has a built-in jet pack.
The genus Fulgoroidea lives worldwide, and, in its adult form, resembles a grasshopper. When they”re still in their nymph phase, however, they sport these firework-like tassel bits from their bums. The tendrils are actually wax produced by a special gland. Depending on the species, the wax strands will take different shapes: some will be fan shaped to help them glide, and some serve to distract predators. The wax is hydrophobic, so it can also serve to protect them from water.
Some species maintain their wax-making glands into adulthood, but others don”t. Females of many species, however, produce wax to protect their eggs.
Since they”re immature, planthopper nymphs are super tiny, as seen in this comparison to a human fingertip.
This is what an adult planthopper looks like if it hangs onto its wax-making abilities. Unfortunately, planthoppers are often vectors for plant diseases.
We know you”re all dying to see them in action, so here”s a planthopper nymph bounding out of site, tail feathers flying (so to speak).
(via Featured Creature, YouTube/jestragon)
You might still dislike bugs, but we hope this might help you appreciate these tiny wonders a bit more. Sure, they”re insects, but there”s no denying that they”re super adorable.