When you think about it, the real world is almost equally as magical as it’s portrayed in cartoons and fantasy movies. There are foxes out there who like to collect crocs, chickens who work at auto shops, doggies who help kids cross the street safely, and tiny birds that look straight out of a fairytale.
Today, let’s upgrade this list with another incredible creature. Some time ago, talented nature photographer Andreas Kay uploaded a short video to his YouTube channel capturing something that sort of looks like a walking piece of popcorn.
This flatid planthopper nymph from the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador is covered with waxy filaments for protection
Image credits: Andreas Kay
This walking cloud or a piece of popcorn with tiny legs is actually an insect from Ecuador called the flatid planthopper. “This tiny flatid planthopper nymph from the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador is covered with waxy filaments for protection,” the photographer wrote in the description of the video.
The wax coating that they secrete when moving around can turn them into little clouds with legs
Image credits: Andreas Kay
The flatid planthopper is a tiny bug whose name comes from the fact that they often “hop” from one plant to another when moving around. The video by Andrea Kay captures a nymph of the insect.
Flatid planthopper nymphs are light green with faint longitudinal orange stripes, though these colors are often masked by a flocculent wax coating that they secrete when moving around, turning them into little clouds with legs.
The video capturing the little cutie was shot and uploaded to YouTube by nature photographer Andreas Kay
An adult flatid planthopper has wings that are completely white or with a slight shade of pale green. Their eyes can be red, green, white, or yellow. These insects drink plant juice from stems, but don’t cause significant harm to the plant itself. However, these bugs may leave a white, waxy residue on branches and leaves, making it appear a bit unattractive.
Another nature photographer, David Weiller, has also captured a similar-looking flatid planthopper nymph and posted the video on his YouTube channel. “Flatid planthopper nymph from the Amazon rainforest of Puyo, Ecuador. This tiny planthopper nymph features wax-like protrusion used for protection and maybe also to mimic a spider or bird droppings on a leaf, concealing itself from potential predators,” Weiller writes in the description of the video.
Image credits: David Weiller
“My name is David Weiller, I am from France and my hobby is wildlife photography and shooting videos of wildlife in various rainforests around the world,” David told us. “The flatid planthopper nymph was a lucky find at the botanical garden of the town of Puyo, Ecuador. After a day of finding and taking pictures of insects, while walking on the top of the hill under the dense canopy, from the corner of my eye, I spotted this planthopper on a leaf with its funny ‘Louis XIV wig’ or popcorn-like wax protusions, I was so amazed. I set up my camera and tripod pushed up to film it for a few the minutes while it was walking rapidly around the leaf.
Another video capturing a similar-looking nymph was shared on YouTube by photographer David Weiller
“Though some shots need maybe 1 day or 1 week to get, waiting in a hide for the animal to appear, this was simple shot, the challenge was that it was so small and so active as it was a hot and humid day and walking around so fast so I had to reposition the camera and tripod several times to get a good angle. I was using the full capabilities of my macro lense, at 1 to 1 maginification, recording in 4K using the cropped factor of my camera. A few minutes later it went to hide behind the leaf,” the photographer told us.
“Sometimes, I am looking for a certain species like this one for 5 or 10 years and when I finally find it, and photograph it, I feel really happy. It’s not like there is always something interesting to photograph in the rainforest so it is a bit like a treasure hunt. The most difficult part is to find the animals,” David added.