I went over to Miami County today on a whirlwind afternoon visit to a place called Greenville Falls. Located just west of Covington, at a point where Greenville Creek cascades over a gorgeous series of limestone shelves, the scenery alone is worth the visit.
But for those of a botanical bent, it's the sheer 30-40 foot limestone cliffs that form the north side of the creek that are the attraction. The cliffs weep, constantly moisturized by water jetted from a perched aquifer, and harbor Ohio's only hanging fen. This plant community is most unusual and very showy, and the main reason I went. I'll try and share the place with you later, when there's a bit more time.
But for now, a bug that I saw in the surrounding fields.
I meet the inscrutable gaze of a Candy-striped Leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea. Diminutive in the extreme, ten could probably have a party on your thumbnail. They're common, just easy to miss.
This is a Hemipteran, or true bug, and it makes its living by sucking sap from plants. They tap juice over a broad swath, too, ranging throughout much of the U.S. and southern Canada, and making it all the way down south to Panama.
This leafhopper was photographed on one of our most reviled native plants, Giant Ragweed, Ambrosia trifida. The pollen of this species is the major source of hay fever. I encountered some stands of the ragweed today, and was amazed at the richness of the insect life within. We may not like ragweed, but apparently that's not true of bugs.