views updated

Membracidae (tree hoppers, thorn bugs; order Hemiptera, suborder Homoptera) Family of bugs in which the pronotum is produced backwards into a spine; it is often also produced laterally, and may be elaborated into fantastic shapes. Some species live as small ‘families’, each comprising a mother and her offspring, and these are usually attended by ants. There are about 2500 species, occurring mainly in the warmer regions of the world.