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Surely all the buds of long-awaited blooms were hardly a mouthful on the tongue of dawn’s foraging deer.

Now colorful leafhoppers linger like little replacements for would-be flowers.

When closely approached, they spring from the leaves of our “Ruby Spice” summersweet.

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Some leafhoppers on surrounding vegetation are blue and red.

All are plant eaters.  Their sap-sucking can wilt leaves and spread disease.

But just now their meager damage hardly diminishes their miniature brilliance.

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Bug Guide indicates that there are several species of leafhoppers in the U.S., six of them with red stripes (the Graphocephala species).  Of these, I’m cautiously inclined to call those pictured above Graphocephala Coccinea:  the red-banded or scarlet-and-green leafhopper.  Other than on the summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), I have seen them on a variety of plants, particularly pokeweed and this increasingly beleaguered sunflower.

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