|The Rhododendron Leafhopper in Nottinghamshire|
|Originally of American origin, the attractively marked and coloured Rhododendron Leafhopper (Graphocephala fennahi) has been in the UK since the early 1900's. Its distribution has traditionally been across the southern-half of the UK, but it is now found at sites well north of The Midlands, to Leeds in Yorkshire.|
distribution of the Rhododendron Leafhopper (and most
other UK Cicadellidae), undoubtedly suffers from
a lack of recording by many naturalists, despite many
species being commonly found in urban gardens.
A good number can be safely identified from good quality photographs, but many of the smaller species will require more detailed examination from a specimen.
The Rhododendron Leafhopper is certainly one of the easiest of all to identify and this should be no problem in the field. As its common name suggests, it is found exclusively on Rhododendron and is one of very few insects to use this as a foodplant.
It is a large, attractively marked species, with bright red streaks on a green background and measuring between 8mm and 10mm in length.
habitat and brief notes on life-cycle
Most known Nottinghamshire sites for Rhododendron Leafhopper, are characterised by well established, landscaped parks and gardens with large stands of Rhododendron. To date, we are not aware of any records from private gardens within any of Nottinghamshire's large towns, but gardens containing several established Rhododendron, will always be worth checking. It occurs on varieties (hybrids and species) of Rhododendron and does not appear to be restricted to the non-native Rhododendron ponticum, introduced into the UK in the 1700's and now widespread in some Nottinghamshire woodlands.
Eggs are laid on the leaf buds and both the developing nymphs and adults feed on the sap. Adults (often several found together) are conspicuous on the present years growth. The red markings are not an immediately obvious feature to the unaided eye.