birding-aus Lerps in Australia

Subject: birding-aus Lerps in Australia
From: "Martin O'Brien"<>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 12:17:40 +1100
Sean Pywell asks about lerps.

My copy of "The Insects of Australia" by the CSIRO (1991) gives a
fascinating account on psyllid insects, some of which follows.

Vol. I, p. 448: (Psyllids)
"Wax production common, secreted mostly from base of lanceolate setae...on
abdomen.  Nymphs of many Spondyliaspidinae build remarkable lerps (scales,
tests) on eucalypts.  Lerps are largely formed from anal excreta (honeydew)
and have a high carbohydrate content.  They take various forms such as
simple sugary cones, univalves, bivalves or intricately woven baskets and

Makes you want to take along a magnifying glass on the next forest birding

Martin O'Brien
Executive Scientific Officer
Scientific Advisory Committee
Threatened Species Program
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
4/250 Victoria Pde.,
East Melbourne,  3002

tel: +61 3 9412 4567
fax: +61 3 9412 4586

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