Egg: Eggs are laid in oviposition scars at the base of the leaf. The eggs, approximately 1 mm long, hatch after 7-13 days
Megamelus scutellaris eggs in the epidermis of a water hyacinth leaf
Nymphs: The nymphs look similar to adults and develop through five instars, feeding on the leaves and petioles. They mature between 14 and 18 days after hatching and go through five instars until they are mature.
Megamelus scutellaris adults and nymphs on a water hyacinth leaf
Adult: Adult planthoppers are small sap-sucking insects, about 3 mm long. Colouration varies from pale cream to dark brown and adults may or may not possess wings, depending on the condition of the plants and the density of insects. Flight in planthoppers is often an adaptation for dispersal, allowing them to leave areas of poor nutritional quality and find somewhere offering better conditions. Water hyacinth planthopper nymphs may develop into winged adults if nutrient levels in the plant drop below a certain level, but this may also be related to population density. The frequency of winged adults increases as plant quality deteriorates, so this can be used as an indicator of poor quality plants.
Megamelus scutellaris winged (macropterous, top) and unwinged (brachypterous, bottom)
Adults can live for up to 80 days, feeding gregariously on the petiole close to the water, and at the abaxial and adaxial surface of leaves.
Megamelus scutellaris nymphs and adults
Last Modified: Wed, 09 Mar 2022 14:06:58 SAST