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Happy Mother’s Day!

May 6, 2016

Moms make the world go round. But some moms go above and beyond to make sure their kids have a fighting chance.

For example Elasmucha dorsalis, a stink bug, is known for its superb maternal instincts. Unlike other insect moms Elasmucha dorsalis cares for her young for up to two months after hatching. She is known to lead her young to food, such as fruit or flowers, and stand guard while they eat. She also flaps her wings when threatened by predators, or if a nymph (juvenile insect) sends out alarm pheromones.

Another nurturing insect mom is the Platycotis vittata or oak treehopper, which has been known to attack approaching predators to protect her offspring. The nymphs emit a vibration notifying each other and setting off a chain reaction of vibrations. This warning alerts the mother to the presence of predators, who prey on nymphs as a food source. The mother treehopper will stand guard over the nymphs, protecting them from whatever she can. If we were giving out awards, the treehopper would most certainly deserve one.

While the Elasmucha dorsalis is not found in Florida, it is worth noting that

treehopper

Platycotis Vittata or oak treehopper

they are not a nuisance of any kind. However, the oak treehopper is found in Florida, but its effects are inconsequential to its oak host. However, all moms deserve recognition…even the small ones.

While the oak treehopper cares for her young for up to six weeks, and the doting Elasmucha dorsalis cares for her young for up to two months, they cannot compare to the 18+ years of attention that our human moms give us.  Moms change diapers, attend parent-teacher conferences, soothe wounds, wipe tears, and are always there for their children.

No matter how big or small, a mom will always be there for her young. So this Mother’s Day, give your mom a hug, look her in the eyes and tell her how much she means to you.

Happy Mother’s Day from The Division of Plant Industry!

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