Photo: Cute little treehopper is quite a character

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This sprawling family of thorn-mimicking insects is one of the most wonderfully weird ones around.

Granted there are a lot of really strange insects on the planet, but entering the world of treehoppers is to be surrounded by a cast of characters so cute and surreal that it's hard to believe these things are real. Related to cicadas and leafhoppers, treehoppers, like Alchisme tridentata photographed here by Andreas Kay, have oddly-shaped pronotum that are meant to mimic thorns as a means of camouflage. This guy, while ridiculously adorable, is pretty sedate; some treehoppers have veritable twigs and berries emerging from their backs. Mother Nature never ceases to impress with her creativity!

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