Scolypopa australis

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Scolypopa australis
Scolypopa australis adult and nymph.jpg
An adult and two nymphs
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha
Superfamily: Fulgoroidea
Family: Ricaniidae
Genus: Scolypopa
Species: S. australis
Binomial name
Scolypopa australis
(Walker, 1851)[1]

Scolypopa australis, commonly known as the passionvine hopper, is a species of insect in the Ricaniidae family of planthoppers (Fulgoroidea) that is native to Australia and has been introduced to New Zealand.[1][2] Despite its name, they are found not only on passion vines, but on many plant species, including the lantana.[3] Brown with partly transparent wings, they are 5–6 mm long as adults and 5 mm as nymphs.[4] As an adult they look somewhat like a moth to the untrained eye, and walk "like a ballerina".[2] The nymphs are wingless and are informally known as fluffy bums.[2] When sufficiently aroused they will hop off their plant "with a 'snap'".[2] Like all planthoppers they suck plant sap. This leaves a honeydew secretion which bees gather. They are also known to cause honey poisoning.[5]

In New Zealand[edit]

They arrived in New Zealand in 1876, where they are among over 40 species of planthopper, mostly native, but including the introduced Siphanta acuta (green planthoppers), Achilus flammeus (red fingernail bugs) and Anzora unicolor (grey planthoppers), all from Australia.[2] They may be a vector of the 'sudden decline' disease caused by Phytoplasma australiense that has affected the native cabbage tree (Cordyline australis), and are a common pest in gardens.[2] They are also found in regrowing forest.[2] They are very common in the summer and autumn north of Nelson.[2] Honey made from honeydew produced from the shrub tutu is poisonous for humans, despite being harmless to the bees that collected it.[2] The last recorded deaths from eating honey containing tutin were in the 1890s,[6] although sporadic outbreaks of toxic honey poisoning continue to occur.[7] Poisoning symptoms include delirium.[8]



  1. ^ a b "Species Scolypopa australis (Walker, 1851)". Australian Faunal Directory. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Crowe, A. (2002). Which New Zealand Insect?. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin. p. 87. ISBN 0-14-100636-6.
  3. ^ Johnson, Judith A. (1998). An introduction to Australian insects. UNSW Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-86840-465-9. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  4. ^ Martin, N.A. (2017). "Passion vine hopper - Scolypopa australis". Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 111. Landcare Research. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  5. ^ Capinera, John L. (2008). Encyclopedia of Entomology. Springer. p. 2928. ISBN 1-4020-6242-7. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  6. ^ Johnston, Martin (26 March 2008). "Specialists expected tutin honey outbreak". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  7. ^ Pepperell, Susan (15 February 2009). "Four charges laid over toxic honey". The Sunday Star-Times. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Beekeeper to keep selling after poisoning". NZPA. 27 March 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2011.