New Blind Planthopper Discovered in a Brazilian Cave

Posted on June 28, 2016

Blind Planthopper species Iuiuia caeca

A new blind planthopper species and genus has been discovered in a Brazilian cave. The new species lacks eyes and functional wings. It also lacks the vivid colorization found in its relatives.

The planthopper is location in a single cave in the Iuiuia municipality. It takes its genus name from the location. The species name "caeca" translates to blind in Latin. The planthopper is a yellowish color and measures just 3 mm in length.

Prof. Rodrigo Ferreira, Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), Brazil, is the scientist who first spotted the insect. He contacted cave planthopper specialist at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Prof. Hannelore Hoch, and together they described the new species in the journal, Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift.

The researchers say the cave has not yet been fully explored because it floods during rainy periods. The researchers say the blind new planthopper ought to be on the conservation radar.

Photo: Rodrigo Ferreira