Peanut-Head Fulgorid (Fulgora laternaria), sometimes called a Peanut-Head Moth or peanut head bug. It is NOT a moth!!!
A member of the plant hopper family. Their wings open up to reveal a pattern like the eyes of an owl.
This weird looking creature is an insect, in the family Fulgoridae of the order Homoptera. The Fulgorids all have enlarged foreheads, but it is most remarkable in the peanut-head, so named because its head looks like an unshelled peanut. It grows to about five inches long.
The peanut-head can't bite. Its mouth is like a straw, so all it can do is suck juices from plants. That's why it has many defenses to scare away predators, like it's strange head.
Looking closely, you will see its real eye just behind the peanut or alligator-like protuberance. This extended head is hollow and perhaps has the function of frightening would-be- predators away.
The peanut-head has large red and black spots on its underwings that look like large eyes when the bug spreads its wings. If these don't scare away predators, the bug releases a skunk-like spray.
For many years it was erroneously named the Lantern Bug from a misconception that it glows in the dark.
Fulgora laternaria. Commonly called the lantern fly, peanut bug, etc. If you can, wait until it opens its wings! They are beautiful.
Photographs by Mark and Marty Casado
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