Texas hopper

I admit I sometimes don’t pay attention until it’s too late.  Usually it’s because I’m lost in thought or watching something else, and then I suddenly realize an interesting thing has slipped by unnoticed.  So it was last October…

Late in the afternoon while standing on the patio, thick clouds casting shadows on everything, I stared off into space and found myself quite out of touch with reality.  I wasn’t even listening to the birds or watching the sky; I was just standing, almost daydreaming but not quite, almost asleep but not quite.  I don’t even remember what was on my mind, if anything.  Basically I spaced out.

At the other end of the patio, about 30 feet/ten meters away, a dark shape emerged from behind the tree and climbed the brick wall.  I was aware of the movement; I just didn’t turn to look at it.  I couldn’t focus that much thought.

After the large critter moved up about ten feet/three meters, I shook myself free from the mental fog I was in.  That’s when I finally decided that maybe I was missing something interesting.  So I looked.

Fulgorid planthopper (Poblicia texana) climbing a brick wall (2009_10_25_034266)

About one inch/25 mm long, even from a distance it was obvious I was looking at one of the less common fulgorid planthoppers in Texas.  In fact, from where I stood it looked so much like a cockroach (albeit a relatively small one) that I questioned the planthopper ID as soon as it entered my mind.  But then I discarded that question and assured myself that it was a hopper.

Even in the deep shadows cast by the tree, I was able to capture some photos that show the insect’s patterns and colors.  But a few photos were all I had time to shoot because the hopper climbed steadily and quickly vanished over the roof.  And because it was already so high on the wall by the time I looked, the only respectable photos I could take were from across the patio since getting closer produced images like this (or worse).

Fulgorid planthopper (Poblicia texana) climbing a brick wall (2009_10_25_034290)

I realized when I reviewed the images that I’d never seen this species before.  So I set about researching it.  All to no avail.  I couldn’t find a single ID for it, though I admit I didn’t spend nearly enough time trying to find one.  Eventually I set it aside for later review.

Then I forgot about it.  For months.  Which I’m prone to do because I take so many photos that anything not processed immediately gets lost amongst the thousands of photos that never see the light of day.  So in steps a dead camera.  Without more photos coming in, I finally wandered the backlog of pictures and rediscovered this handsome yet unidentified hopper.

Fulgorid planthopper (Poblicia texana) climbing a brick wall (2009_10_25_034256)

This time it took me all of five minutes to identify it.  Though it has no common name, it’s a Poblicia texana.

I only wish I hadn’t been in such an out-of-touch frame of mind.  I had so distant an attachment to the world at that moment that I didn’t even check or change the camera settings.  For a dSLR, it was a point-and-shoot moment.

5 thoughts on “Texas hopper”

    1. I was so clueless at the time that I couldn’t estimate the size, C, so I went out today and measured the mortar spaces between bricks. That was the only way I could come up with a size for this beauty. And I was surprised!

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