Use of alternative food plants exclusively by adult male froghoppers (Homoptera: Cercopidae).
Male-specific associations of adult froghoppers (Homoptera: Cercopidae) with alternative food plant hosts is reported. Four accounts from the field and one from the literature are presented: Iphirhina quota on Bourreria costaricensis (Boraginaceae), Huaina inca on Solanaceae sp., Prosapia simulans and Prosapia sp. (near P. bicincta) on Ilex haberi (Aquifoliaceae), and Prosapia bicincta on Ilex cornuta and Ilex opaca. In three cases host use is limited to adults while in two cases use is limited to only adult males. In four cases adults feed on plants that differ taxonomically, structurally and ecologically from hosts normally utilized by all life stages. These associations are not considered aggregations per se because froghoppers are not clustered and because these associations cannot be explained by the usual criteria supporting the adaptiveness of insect aggregations. Indirect evidence suggests that these unusual hosts may be unavailable to nymphs and not sought by females. This passive lack of opportunity by nymphs and females, in tandem with an active selection/attraction by males, is a plausible explanation for the existence of male-specific hosts.