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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Hop Jumper. Euacanthus interruptus, Linn

The Hop Jumper. Euacanthus interruptus, Linn.

Fig. IV. Euacanthus Interruptus.

Fig. IV. Euacanthus Interruptus.

Hop Jumper, winged and in early stage, magnified; lines showing nat. size.

This insect is often confounded with another species of the same family, Cercopid œ, distinguished as Aphrophora spumaria, because the larvæ are covered with a frothy liquid, vulgarly called "cuckoo spit," or frog's spittle, and supposed to be caused in some mysterious manner by cuckoos and frogs. Professor Westwood states that the ancients believed that these insects were generated by the above-mentioned animals, and the tradition has been handed down to the present day. Although the page 19 frog flies, or cuckoo flies, Aphrophora spumaria, live by sucking the juices from plants and trees in the same way as the veritable jumper (Euacanthus, Westwood; Amblycephalus interruptus, Curtis; Euacanthus interruptus, Linnæus), and have the same wonderful powers of leaping, these insects are specifically distinct.

An allied species, much smaller than the hop jumper, attacks rose trees: another is found upon lime trees. Two other species, also smaller, the Eupteryx picta, and the Eupteryx solani, infest potato plants, and Curtis found the former upon mint, burdock, and nettles.

In America a species of leaf hopper, belonging to the same family, does enormous mischief to grape vines by puncturing their leaves and exhausting the juices of the plants.

Old writers upon hops, as Reynolde Scott, and Bradley, do not allude to this insect, nor do Lance and Rutley, who wrote 47 and 35 years ago, notice it as injuring hop plants. It is only within the last 20 years that the planters have seen it in their plantations, or, at least, have connected it with the sickly condition of the plants in certain seasons. Since this time it has rapidly increased, and occasionally during the last six years it has caused most serious mischief, especially where the plants have been naturally weakly or backward.

Upon banks and upon indifferently tilled land, as well as upon stony and light land, they are more troublesome, making onslaughts upon the hop bines, generally towards the middle of May, or when they have been tied up to the poles, by thrusting their beaks into the leaves and into the tender, juicy, leading shoots, from which the sap may often be seen exuding in large drops. After a while the weaker plants turn yellow; their growth is completely arrested. The stronger plants manage to struggle upwards, but their strength and powers of production are materially diminished by the continuous drain upon them. In seasons of slack delicate, or backward bine the consequences are very serious. When the bine is plentiful and vigorous it manages to grow away from its persecutors, but the jumpers remain and multiply, feeding upon it.

Many hop plantations were all but ruined in Hampshire and Surrey and in parts of Kent by its ravages two or three years ago. The leaves curled up, the leading shoots ceased to revolve, and no crop was produced.