The wonderful lantern bug. Many of these bugs appear on their favourite trees.....where they can stay for generations; look for them on Longan trees, often seen in pairs on the trunks, just around head height.
These beautiful, intricate bugs can also be found on lychee trees - around Hong Kong.
Found across the Asian tropics the Lantern bug (pyrops candelaria) is a weird and wonderful insect: it has a head that is produced into a hollow structure resembling a rhino horn often nearly as large as its body, six legs, extremely varied and brilliant contrasting coloration, the mouth of a mosquito, and often stays for generations on the same tree. Its fantastic appearance is matched by the myth that the head structure was luminous at night. Carl Linnaeus coined both common and latin names to illustrate the supposed fact, adopting the statement without question from a lady entomologist in 1690. By the time the error was discovered, both names had stuck.
Above, with another of my favourite animals, my lovely wife, Sally.
Its eating habits are equally interesting, as it uses its sharp rostrum to puncture trees, fruit, and plants in order to get a juicy meal of sticky sap. Since sap is high in sugar and low in the other nutrients needed for insect development, it needs to eat a lot. But then the large amount of sugar causes a problem for the lantern bug; it solves this by allowing the excess sap to drip from its body as honeydew. So you can sometimes find moths or even geckos licking the behinds of these strange beasts. This bug goes through an incomplete metamorphosis. From egg to nymph, which simply grows into a larger version as the adult.
As we all know, children's nature and environment education is vital for the future of the planet, and I was very pleased to support with some video training the Lumivoce 2022 Voices for the Planet - A Biodiversity Education Program through the Arts. If your kid or school is not already signed up, then I would encourage you to get involved for next year. See https://www.lumivoce.org/
It was lovely to receive the recent message from the organisers as well....
Shaun is 5 year old from HK Munsung College Kindergarten, and he created a poster about a lantern bug inspired by you! Tiffany, his mom told us about it and I thought you'd enjoy this fun artwork from him! Thanks for your support of our program and children!
To see more great artwork and ideas please see the link below and get inspired for 2023.
and this was written below by chatGPT an AI programme
Hong Kong is home to a diverse range of insects, and among them is the Lantern Bug, also known as the Fulgorid Bug. These fascinating creatures are named after their signature lantern-shaped wings and are native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. In Hong Kong, the Lantern Bug is a common sight and is mostly found in the outskirts of the city, such as in the countryside and parks.
The Lantern Bug is a member of the family Fulgoridae, which is known for their striking and ornate markings and colors. They are mostly brown or gray in color, with intricate patterns on their wings that resemble the intricate design of a lantern, which serves as their primary form of defense against predators. The wings are also transparent and can reflect light, creating an iridescent glow that is mesmerizing to behold.
These bugs are herbivorous and feed mostly on plant sap, using their sharp mouthparts to pierce the plant's surface and extract its nutrients. They are usually solitary insects and prefer to hide in the foliage during the day, becoming active at night. During mating season, the males attract females by producing a distinctive sound that is produced by rubbing their wings together.
Though Lantern Bugs are harmless to humans, they play a significant role in the ecosystem by acting as a food source for larger insects, such as birds and spiders. They also help pollinate plants by spreading pollen from plant to plant as they feed.
Despite their beneficial role in the ecosystem, Lantern Bugs face a significant threat from habitat destruction, due to human activities such as urbanization and deforestation. Hong Kong is a growing, bustling city, and as such, the natural habitats of these bugs are shrinking. Conservation efforts are necessary to ensure that these iconic creatures continue to thrive in their natural habitats.
In conclusion, the Lantern Bug is a fascinating and mystical insect that plays an essential role in the ecosystem. Their lantern-like wings and iridescent glow make them a beloved sight in Hong Kong's countryside and parks, where they can roam freely and contribute to the delicate balance of nature. It is critical that we recognize the importance of protecting these beautiful creatures and their habitats, to guarantee they continue to thrive for generations to come.