This strange little insect turned up on my front screen door, several days ago. I have not ever seen one of these insects before - well, not with a set of fully fledged flying wings - especially not with these steely-blue translucent wings. I was able to "recognise" the shape of the head of this insect, for as a former gardener in Canberra I had to deal with many Leaf Hoppers - mostly flightless nymphs of the Passion-fruit Leaf Hopper.From the head shape and the "bug" eyes, it reminded me of a Cicada and Leaf Hoppers. Both are members of the Hemiptera Order - "Bugs".
I did a search on my favourite Insects site, the Chew Family's "Insects of Brisbane". I quickly found a page with similar insects, the "Yellow and Black Leafhopper". This confirmed my original impression that I was on the right track - Leafhoppers - Subfamily Cicadellinae, Family Cicadellidae. Obviously the group is named after the Cicadas.
That site gave me a link to a further site, from the NSW Dept of Primary Industries. They have a key for distinguishing related families - Leaf Hopper or Spittle Bug?
This is part of the Website: Key to the Leafhoppers and Treehoppers of Australia and neighbouring areas - by Murray J. Fletcher, Orange Agricultural Institute.
The closest I could find to my insect is this species Ishidaella tumida, another orange-bodied Leaf Hopper, quite similar to mine.
The following notes on Leaf Hoppers and Cicadas are adapted from the Chew Family website pages on the "Order Hemiptera - Bugs, Aphids and Cicadas."
"The insects in Order Hemiptera are extremely diverse in size, shape and colour. They include the Bugs, Aphids, Cicadas, leafhoppers and scale insects."
If you find the combination of Cicadas with Aphids and Scale insects to be a bit puzzling, remember that they have one common characteristic: their sucking mouths (stylets). Because of the position of this insect higher than my head, and as I was unsure what I was dealing with, I was reluctant to handle it, so unfortunately I do not have an image which shows the sucking mouth parts.
All of the insect in this Sub-Order suck juice from plants, insects or other animals. (I'd rather not think of blood sucking bugs - but there is a group of related insect (in the group known as True Bugs) which are called "Assassin Bugs". I wrote about one of these previously. Many of them are small, but one is up to 30 mm long. Fortunately for us, dear reader, they concentrate on insects, termites and spiders, though reportedly they can give a painful prick on prying fingers.
Members in the Order Hemiptera undergo "incomplete metamorphosis" and their young, the nymphs, look much the same as their adults except smaller and wingless. In this regard they have a totally different life-cycle from Butterflies and their caterpillars. Remember my comment above on how the shape of the head of this insect was familiar to me as a former gardener in Canberra? One could never say that of a caterpillar's head resembling a butterfly's head.
This Suborder Auchenorrhyncha - includes cicadas, treehoppers and leafhoppers. Hoppers have hard forewings which held roof-like over the membranous hind wings on the back.