Leafhoppers are fascinating insects belonging to the family Cicadellidae. These small, yet diverse creatures can be found in various ecosystems around the world, feeding on plant sap using their piercing-sucking mouthparts. With over 20,000 known species, leafhoppers come in a variety of colors and sizes, ranging from 1/8 to 1/2-inch long depending on the species.
These insects play a significant role in their ecosystems, and their presence can often be an indicator of the overall health of the environment. Some common characteristics of leafhoppers include their elongated, wedge-shaped bodies and their ability to jump and fly off readily when disturbed. Their unique hind legs, equipped with rows of small spines, aid in their incredible jumping abilities.
In this article, we will explore the world of leafhoppers, covering their feeding habits, life cycle, and how they interact with their surroundings. We will also touch on their impact on agriculture and tips for managing them in your garden. So, let’s dive into the intriguing life of these colorful, hopping insects!
Leafhoppers are small, hopping insects belonging to the family Cicadellidae. They have a variety of body colors, including:
- Marked with color patterns
These insects are often confused with cicadas, but in a smaller size. One distinguishing feature is their hind legs, which have small spines on the hind tibiae (“shins”)1. Leafhoppers have wings and can both jump and fly.
Different Leafhopper Species
There are numerous leafhopper species, feeding on a wide range of vascular plant species like grasses, sedges, broad-leafed plants, and conifers2.
|Size||1/8 to 1/2-inch3||1 – 2 inches|
|Body Shape||Elongated, wedge-shaped||Broad-bodied|
|Legs||Spines on hind tibiae1||No spines|
|Sound Production||Mostly silent||Loud singing|
In summary, leafhoppers are a large and diverse group of insects, and their small size, spined hind legs, and various colors make them unique among their insect relatives. They play a significant role in their ecosystems, feeding on a variety of plant species.
Life Cycle and Biology
Eggs and Nymphs
Leafhoppers go through three stages in their life cycle: egg, nymph, and adult1. Female leafhoppers lay eggs on plant tissue4. The nymphs hatch from eggs and go through several molts as they develop2.
- Nymphs resemble adults but are wingless5
During the growing season, leafhoppers can complete multiple generations3.
- Use piercing-sucking mouthparts to extract plant sap8
- Excrete honeydew, a shiny, sticky waste product9
Adult leafhoppers can overwinter and survive until the next growing season10.
Leafhopper Damage and Effects
Damage to Plants
Leafhoppers can cause significant damage to plants due to their feeding habits. These pests extract sap from plant leaves, resulting in:
- Curling – Leaves curl around the affected area
- Yellowing – Leaves lose their green pigment
- Stunting – Plant growth is inhibited, leading to stunted growth
- Spotting – Brown, necrotic areas appear on leaves
Some common plants affected by leafhoppers include carrots, celery, lettuce, potatoes, and other vegetables.
Signs of a Leafhopper Infestation
Identifying a leafhopper infestation can be challenging as these pests are small and not easily noticed. However, some signs to look for include:
- Presence of leafhoppers on plants: Check the undersides of leaves for these tiny insects
- Hopperburn: This symptom is characterized by leaf edges turning brown due to leafhopper feeding
Here’s a comparison table to help differentiate leafhopper damage from other common plant issues:
|Leafhopper Damage||Curling, yellowing, stunting, spotting||Carrots, lettuce, potatoes|
|Nutrient Deficiency||Yellowing, weak growth, poor fruiting||Tomato, pepper, squash|
|Overwatering||Root rot, wilted leaves, mold||Chilies, basil, roses|
By recognizing the damage signs and taking timely action, you can control the impact of leafhoppers on your plants and maintain a healthy garden.
Leafhopper Host Plants and Habitats
Leafhoppers are plant-feeding insects known for sucking sap from various plant species. They can be found living in diverse habitats based on their host plant preferences.
Common Garden Plants
Leafhoppers target numerous common garden plants, such as:
They feed on nearly 200 kinds of plants and can be found in North America and worldwide.
Trees and Shrubs
Leafhoppers also target various trees and shrubs, including:
- Pear trees
- Apple trees
- Fruit trees
- Elm trees
- Chinese chestnut
- English walnut
- Creosote bush
These insects typically feed on plant stems, extracting sap and creating potential damage to the host plant. Leafhoppers thrive in different climates, from tropical rainforests to arctic tundra.
|Garden Plants||Trees and Shrubs|
Keep in mind that different leafhopper species have preferences for specific host plants, so you may find varying species in habitats ranging from desert regions to lush forests.
Prevention and Control Methods
- Maintain a clean garden by removing plant debris and weeds
- Choose resistant plant varieties when possible
- Use floating row covers to protect plants
- Avoid overwatering and overfertilizing, as it attracts leafhoppers
Maintaining a clean garden helps reduce leafhopper populations by eliminating their hiding spots and breeding areas. Opt for resistant plant varieties if available, as they are less susceptible to leafhopper damage.
- Introduce beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs_to the garden
- Encourage natural predators like ants and spiders
Introducing beneficial insects and fostering an environment for natural predators can keep leafhopper populations in check.
- Apply neem oil or insecticidal soap for mild infestations
- Use pyrethrins or carbaryl for more severe cases
- Apply pesticides with caution to avoid harming pollinators
For mild infestations, consider using environmentally friendly options like neem oil or insecticidal soap. For more severe cases, opt for stronger chemicals like pyrethrins or carbaryl, but use them cautiously to protect pollinators.
|Cultural Practices||Environmentally friendly, low-cost||May not be effective for severe cases|
|Biological Control||Natural, minimal impact on the environment||Takes time for results to show|
|Chemical Control||Effective for severe cases||Can harm pollinators, other beneficial insects and the environment|
The above table compares the pros and cons of the different control methods for leafhoppers. Always consider the severity of the infestation and potential impacts on the environment before selecting a control method.
Notable Leafhopper Species
The Potato Leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) is a small, green leafhopper that affects various plants. Commonly found in the United States, it’s a major pest for potatoes, beans, and alfalfa.
Some features of the Potato Leafhopper include:
- Size: around 1/8-inch long
- Color: green
- Migratory nature: found in summer
The Beet Leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus) is another pest, mainly targeting beets and other crops such as tomatoes and spinach. They are significant vectors for plant diseases like the beet curly top virus.
Characteristics of the Beet Leafhopper:
- Size: approximately 1/8-inch long
- Color: pale green to light brown
- Wings: transparent, with dark veins
The Two-Spotted Leafhopper (Sophonia rufofascia) is an invasive species from Asia that causes damage to various agricultural and ornamental plants. It is known for its distinctive red markings.
Here are some features of the Two-Spotted Leafhopper:
- Size: around 1/8-inch long
- Color: green, with two red spots on the wings
- Feeding habits: may cause leaf curling and yellowing of plants
|Features||Potato Leafhopper||Beet Leafhopper||Two-Spotted Leafhopper|
|Size||Around 1/8-inch long||Approximately 1/8-inch long||Around 1/8-inch long|
|Color||Green||Pale green to light brown||Green with two red spots|
|Primary host plants||Potatoes, beans, alfalfa||Beets, tomatoes, spinach||Various agricultural and ornamental plants|
|Disease transmission||No||Beet curly top virus||No|
|Geographical distribution||United States||United States||Asia, invasive in other regions|
Further Identification and Management
Identifying Leafhopper Damage
Leafhoppers are sap-sucking insects that can cause damage to various plants, including garden crops and herbs. They feed on plant sap, resulting in a unique type of damage called stippling. Signs of a leafhopper infestation include:
- Yellowing or curling leaves
- Stunted plant growth
- Discolored veins on leaves
- Presence of larvae or adult leafhoppers.
Stippling can resemble damage caused by spider mites, mold, or bacteria but can be distinguished by the presence of leafhoppers and their waste products.
Integrated Pest Management Strategies
There are several integrated pest management strategies to control leafhoppers. These include:
- Monitoring: Regularly inspect garden plants for leafhopper presence or damage
- Removing Infested Plants: If an infestation is severe, removing affected plants can prevent spreading
- Encouraging Predatory Insects: Some insects, like ladybugs or lacewings, naturally prey on leafhoppers. Encourage these predators by planting flowers that attract them.
Here is a comparison table of some common control methods:
|Insecticidal Soaps||Effective against leafhoppers and their larvae||May need multiple applications; could affect beneficial insects|
|Neem Oil||Safe for most plants and beneficial insects||Requires frequent application|
|Chemical Pesticides||Fast-acting||May have negative environmental impacts; harm beneficial insects|
Remember to regularly monitor your plants for damage and respond accordingly to minimize leafhopper infestations.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Green Planthopper Nymph from Australia
Tiny White Insect
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
March 14, 2011 4:21 am
Hi, found this relaxing on a succulent plant on a hot day here in Melbourne, Australia… season is Autumn, would you happen to know what this is?
We tried browsing through all the postings of Leafhoppers, Treehoppers and Planthoppers in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha that are available on the Brisbane Insect website, but alas, we have not had any luck identifying your immature Hemipteran nymph. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a more specific identification.
Hi Daniel and A.L.:
I believe this is a Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae: Flatinae) in the predominantly Australian genus Siphanta. It looks very similar to several online images identified as S. acuta, however, there are at least 40 Australian species in the genus and some of them probably have similar looking nymphs. There is also some color variability among nymphs to complicate things further. Nevertheless, S. acuta appears to be the most common species and it has become a bit of a globetrotter as well, with records from New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Africa, Hawaii and mainland USA (California and possibly other states). The common name in Australia and New Zealand is the Green Planthopper, while in the USA it is referred to as the Torpedo Bug. It is considered an agricultural and forest pest in most places where it occurs. The species arrived in Hawaii in the late nineteenth century where it did considerable damage to native trees until it was brought under control in the early twentieth century with the introduction of the Australian egg parasitizing wasp, Aphanomerus puscillus (Scelionidae). Regards. Karl
Thanks for this one especially Karl. I really wanted to put a name to this hieroglyphically marked creature.
Letter 2 – Hemipterans from Indonesia
Subject: Unknown Bug
Location: Gunung Leseur Nat’l Park, Sumatra, Indonesia
January 16, 2017 4:40 am
This is a picture of some bugs with what look like white “streamers” coming from their body. This is the only clear picture I have. They look like some sort of seed that has blown onto the tree, but they actually moved around the surface of the tree in random patterns. The white streamers obscured the body of the bug, so I could not see what was underneath the streamers.
I came across them while hiking in the jungle in Sumatra. The guide, who could not identify them, did not want me to pick them off the tree and examine them more closely, so I don’t know more about their body. After multiple trips, I only found them in one location on one tree.
Signature: Robert R.
These insects are members of the order Hemiptera, a group that includes True Bugs, Cicadas, Leafhoppers, Aphids and allies. Many very similar looking immature Hemipterans secrete a waxy substance that is believe to be a protection against predators. There are also some species of Fulgorid Leafhoppers that similarly secrete a waxy substance in their adult stages. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any more conclusive identification at this time.
Letter 3 – Leaf Hoppers: Ophiderma sp. (probably O. definita or O. pubescens)
Hi WTB Guy!
I live on long island, and we have hundreds of these bugs swarming outside our house each night. A few of them often find their way in and spend the night buzzing around the lights. We have a large cedar tree near our front door, and I’m wondering if they are related to that tree?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
You have some type of Leafhopper, Family Cicadellidae. These are Homopterans, related to cicadas, aphids and treehoppers. They have sucking mouthparts and many species carry viral diseases that they spread to their host plants, but not to people. Sorry, I can’t identify your exact species.
The following is an excerpt from a letter by Julieta Brambila:
” I printed two images for Mark Rothschild, expert in Membracidae, and he gave me this information: Ophiderma sp. (probably O. definita or O. pubescens) is the identification for another membracid. He wrote: “They are found on oaks (Quercus sp.), not cedars”. This image is from a message from 06/10/2004 by Adam, from Long Island. The image has a penny to compare the sizes. The writer wars wondering if the insects had anything to do with the cedar near his front door.”
Letter 4 – Green Lynx Spider eats Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter nymph on Woody Plant
Subject: What’s this Hopper on my Cannabis?
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 8, 2019 7:51 am
Subject: Hi Bugman,
As my Cannabis plants grow larger, I’ve noticed that many of the plants have predators on them. In addition to the Mantid I submitted earlier this year, I am happy to report that four of my plants have mantids on them and several have Green Lynx Spiders as well. Can you please identify the hopping insect that I have found on my plants this year. One of the images of the Green Lynx Spiders I am sending has it eating an immature hopping insect, though it is difficult to see. The other image is of a winged adult.
Signature: Constant Gardener
Dear Constant Gardener,
Thanks so much for keeping our readers informed about your thriving Cannabis ecosystem. The adult hopping insect is a Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter, and according to BugGuide: “The biggest problem is that it can spread the disease-causing bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. The most important biocontrols are egg-parasite wasps in the genus Gonatocerus. Spiders, assassin bugs, and praying mantis prey on the mobile forms.” Several years ago, we received a report of Glassy-Winged Sharpshooters, Homalodisca vitripennis, on marijuana. According to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program site: “The glassy-winged sharpshooter is found in many habitats, including agricultural crops, urban landscapes, native woodlands, and riparian vegetation. It feeds on hundreds of plant species across dozens of plant families. Hosts include numerous common woody plants as well as annual and perennial herbaceous plants. It is common to find this insect on acacia, avocado, eucalyptus, citrus, crepe myrtle, heavenly bamboo, grape, photinia, pittosporum, hibiscus, periwinkle, xylosma, some roses, and many others. Host preference changes throughout the year, depending on the availability and nutritional value of host plants. Some hosts are preferred for feeding while others are preferred for reproduction. Irrigation level and fertilizer additions can also impact the attractiveness of hosts for sharpshooters.” There is no mention of Cannabis. We presume the nymph being eaten by the Green Lynx Spider is a member of the same species.
Letter 5 – Groundselbush Beetle Larva and possibly Leafhopper Nymphs
Subject: Beetle larva and other?
Location: North East NJ
May 27, 2014 8:06 am
Hello and thank you for this site and your time. If you ever get the time to ID, this insect I would be grateful, however it is just a matter of curiosity and nothing dire so if you get around to it great and if not, thank you anyway. This picture was was taken in North East New Jersey a few days ago in May on a plant lining a pond. The larger one in the center of the photo should be some type of beetle larvae (Uneducated guess). Would you know what type of beetle it is or if I am right? The almost metallic color to it, threw me off and I don’t think it is a ladybird beetle larvae or a dermestid. (Again could be wrong.) Also when I got the pic back and looked at it, I noticed something coming out of it’s posterior. I know larvae are not sexually mature so, not to be gross, is it just pooping or is that a parasite. Lastly I also noticed the smaller red juvenile bugs also, any idea what these are?
As always with or without a response thank you for your work
Signature: Frank Smith
You are correct about the Beetle Larva. More specifically, it is the larva of a Groundselbush Beetle, Trirhabda bacharidis, a species that feeds exclusively on Baccharis. We are not certain what it is excreting, and we are not certain of their identity, but the tiny red nymphs might be immature Leafhoppers or Spittlebugs.
Thank you so much for your response, it made my day. I learned about a beetle that is new to me, so thanks again! I will follow up and see if I can find any references on what it is excreting or being parasitised by and will keep you posted if I find anything. You people are awesome!
Letter 6 – Gum Leafhopper from Australia
Subject: What’s this?
Location: Inverliegh, Victoria, Australia
April 24, 2017 6:38 pm
I found these at a mates farm. Never seen anything like them?
Signature: Clark McConachy
Your image depicts two winged adults and several immature nymphs of a species of Black Gum Leafhopper in the genus Eurymeloides, based on images posted to the Brisbane Insect website and Dave’s Garden were it is called a Gumtree Hopper.
Letter 7 – Immature Glassywinged Sharpshooters
Subject: Strang bug on a leaf.
Location: Southern California, LA County
May 4, 2016 4:18 pm
So I first noticed this guy a couple months ago on the leaf of my plant. I’m super curious as to what it is. Every time I go check it out it’s always in the same spot, it never moves from there and it even tries to hide from me when I try to get a look at him. It’s so strange, it’s gotten a little bigger since the first time I noticed it and now there is a second one! What is it? I hope you guys can help out. I plan on just leaving them there I’m not a fan of killing anything. I’m just curious.
These are immature Leafhoppers in the family Cicadellidae, but we are uncertain of the species. Leafhoppers have mouths designed to pierce the outer walls of plants so they can suck nutritious fluids from the plants. They are not considered beneficial insects in the garden.
Update: April 7, 2017
We just received a comment from Emily that this is the nymph of the invasive Glassywinged Sharpshooter, and we confirmed that on BugGuide.
Letter 8 – Keelbacked Leafhopper Nymph
Subject: Spiked beetle
Location: Long Beach, CA
June 23, 2017 1:13 pm
Found with ants on a Bell pepper plant. Grouped in clusters on stem. Lots of ants interacting with them. I thought it was an aphid being farmed by ants?
This is the spiny nymph of a Keelbacked Leafhopper, and they are classified with Aphids in the order Hemiptera. Like Aphids, they have mouths designed to pierce and suck, and they rob plants of vital fluids. Like Aphids, they exude honeydew which makes them attractive to Ants.
Letter 9 – Leafhopper
Not To Many Leaf Hoppers
I am a photographer on greeneyephoto.com and am looking for a little help with a leaf hopper ID. I visit your site from time to time to Identify different bugs I come across while out photographing. A wonderful site by the way. Its great that you teach the good things about insects and aracnids. Its not often that you come across people who like them. I am from Iowa, however this photo was takin in Paris TN. The Leaf Hopper if memory serves me right was about half an inch long. Tricky little guys to get photos of as they like to swing behide the plant stalks. When they see you looking around the other side the fly off. I did a little test and found they didn’t fly away or even try and hide as long as I didn’t have my camera… must not like having their pictures taken. Anyways any help would be great. From A Bug Lover
Leafhopper identification can be a real challenge, so we were thrilled that BugGuide quickly provided us with the identification of your Cuerna costalis, a Leafhopper with no common name.
Letter 10 – Leafhopper
Subject: Can you identify the bug in this picture?
Location: Jenison, Michigan
September 3, 2015 6:30 pm
My friends and I found this tiny bug and were trying to find out what is. Can you help us?
Despite a similar appearance, we are relatively certain your Leafhopper is not Idiocerus pallidus, though this image from BugGuide does look somewhat similar to your individual. We are a bit tired right now after a long day, and we cannot research this any longer this evening.
Letter 11 – Leafhopper
Subject: Feeling Pink
Geographic location of the bug: Andover, NJ
Time: 10:32 AM EDT
I found this leafhopper inside my house this morning and quickly ushered it into a jar and outside onto some plants. The color and patterns seem quite distinctive and my best guess is that it is in the Genus Gyponana, but would really appreciate your thoughts/expertise. Attaching lateral and side view.
How you want your letter signed: Deborah E Bifulco
Good morning Deborah,
Based on this BugGuide image, we concur that this Leafhopper is most likely in the genus Gyponana. BugGuide does note: “Very few species are readily identifiable based on external characters.”
Letter 12 – Leafhopper from Australia
Unidentified Shovel Nosed Hemiptera (Aussietrev)
Sun, Dec 21, 2008 at 2:37 PM
Found this guy on a Gum Tree but cannot get an ID worked out. Possibly in the Spittle bug family but cannot find anything similar. Hoping someone can help with the ID for this weird looking guy.
Merry Xmas and thanks for all the great work you guys have put in this year, especially with the new website.
Queensland (Capricornia Region)
This morning I posted a weird shovel nosed critter which I have since had identified, at least to family, by Dave Britton, collections manager of Entomology at the Australian Museum.
He said that is a leafhopper (Cicadellidae) in the tribe Ledrini. This webpage covers most of what is known about them.
Looking through the closest match I found was Platyledra caldida Evans. Apparently this group is exclusive to Australia and is the largest leaf hopper in the world growing to 28mm.
The one in the picture I sent would have been very close to that.
Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to all at WTB,
Thanks for sending your Leafhopper image and also for providing a link to a great resource page. We have been struggling to address our Christmas cards, and have been neglecting posting letters to the website in a timely manner.
Letter 13 – Leafhopper from Colombia
Subject: Identify cicada
Geographic location of the bug: Boyaca, Colombia
Time: 08:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Help to identify this very very little buzzard,This buzzer was on a calla lily
How you want your letter signed: Nicolas
This is not a Cicada. It is a Leafhopper or related insect in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha that includes Cicadas, hence the resemblance. Though we could not find an exact visual match to your Leafhopper, it is similar to this individual on FlickR.
Letter 14 – Leafhopper from Costa Rica: Bocydium species
Costa Rica leafhopper with a hood ornament
It doesn’t look like youv’e received this one before. It is very small, perhaps 4-5 mm, on the underside of a leaf in the rainforest understory along the Quebrada Gonzales trail at Braulio Carrillo National Park. The date was 9 April 2006. Maybe Eric Eaton will recognize it (I haven’t sent it to him), but even if we can’t find a name for it, I thought it would be a nice addition to your image database. Any idea what that hood ornament is for? Communication?
All the Best,
We don’t know what this guy is, but it is amazing. Hopefully, someone will write in with an identification.
Update (06/19/2006) Costa Rican Hopper
Hi. I have been obsessed with the bizarre ornamentation of the leafhopper from Costa Rica, and through diligent internetting, I think I have finally found the genus. Bocydium has about 15 species, although most references are to the “Bell-bearer” of Brazil. All the pictures I could find of the genus were very similar in shape, and the pronotum is very distinctive. Check out this site, http://www.entomology.umn.edu/cues/4015/morpology/ you’ll see what I mean.
Thanks Daniel and Lisa for helping destroy any productivity I may have had with your terrific site, keep up the good work!
You are our new hero. We are bestowing the newly conceived Bugophile of the Month Award on you. We can empathize with your situation as we spend hours on the website that might be spent cleaning the house.
Letter 15 – Leafhopper from Ecuador
Subject: Chromatic Bug and white bugwith strange wings
Location: Ecuador, cloud forest
April 21, 2015 10:14 am
I’m a photographer from Ecuador South America, I love taking nature pics in remote places in my country, since a couple years back I benn exploring the field of macro photography, and on a travel I found this bug that I couldn’t identify, the picture isn’t much clear, the insect was to fast to take a better pic.
I’m also sending you a pic of another bug that I never seen before, the picture quality is a little bit better.
hope you can help me out
The “chromatic bug” is a Leafhopper or Sharpshooter in the family Cicadellidae, and though we located a matching image on FlickR, it is not identified to the species level. An image on American Insects is identified as being in the genus Beirneola. Your white winged insect is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.
Letter 16 – Leafhopper from Ecuador
January 20, 2016 2:26 am
I found this bug in Ecuador a few years ago, and I just can’t seem to identify it! I’d really appreciate the help.
This is some free-living Hemipteran, probably a Leafhopper, but we have not had any success finding a matching image online. Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck than we have had.
Karl provides and ID: genus
Re: Leafhopper from Ecuador – January 20, 2016
Hi Daniel and Aimee:
It’s a wonderful photo of an Aetalionid Treehopper. The species is probably Aetalion reticulatum (Aetalionidae: Aetalioninae: Aetalionini).
We received a similar ID in a comment.
Letter 17 – Leafhopper from India: Darthula hardwickii
Unusual cicada/moth like creature with upright tail
June 6, 2009
I found this insect on my backyard and looks quite strange. Its about an inch and a half from the head to the tail. I scoured the net but could not find a match. I hope you’ll help me identify this bug.
Despite the speed of our new computer, we really cannot take the time to research this awesome insect at the moment. We have been posting old submissions for hours in an attempt to catch up on mail, but the laundry is in need of attention and there is gardening to do. You are correct in that this is a Cicada Like insect. It is in the Suborder Auchenorrhyncha which includes Cicadas and other Hoppers. We hope one of our readers can supply you with an answer until we can take the time to do some research.
Update from Karl
August 12, 2009
Hi Daniel and Buglover:
This has to be one of my all-time favorite WTB postings, and one of the most challenging. I really would have thought that such a strikingly beautiful creature would be much easier to track down. It seems the “hoppers” fall into one of those taxonomic twilight zones where there is continuous debate about phylogenetic relationships. I had myself convinced that it was a fulgorid planthopper (Suborder Fulgoromorpha = Auchenorrhyncha), but it actually belongs in the obscure and very primitive family Aetalionidae (Suborder Cicadomorpha: Superfamily Membracoidea) and is therefore more closely allied to the leafhoppers (Cicadellidae) and treehoppers (Membracidae). I believe the species (finally) is Darthula hardwickii, but unfortunately I could find out nothing about the biology of this curious bug. Buglover’s photos are amazing and they match perfectly with a lengthy description provided by Kirkaldy (1900), including: “Face concealed beneath the frontal edge of pronotum…pronotum moderately compressed with a central strong longitudinal lunulate ridge…abdomen provided with a long apical process, about or nearly as long as the whole body, covered with long bristly hairs, with a strong triangular tubercle at base… the [wing] veins raised and prominent”. Apparently it is the largest known leafhopper, at a length of 28 mm, including the 12 mm abdominal appendage. The distribution is given as the Himalayan region from India/Nepal to western Yunnan, China. For another look there is a set of two incredible macro shots of the same creature on flickr (labeled “unidentified Fulgoroidea”). Thanks Buglover – that was awesome!
Letter 18 – Leafhopper from Mexico
Leafhopper and beetle identification
Location: Huejutla de Reyes, Hidalgo, México
June 30, 2011 11:55 am
Help me with the identification of the leafhopper and the beetle as I have not managed to find anything like it in the network. Regards
First we want to state that we are splitting up your request into to postings to simplify our archiving format. We don’t recognize this gorgeous Mexican purple and orange Leafhopper, and we are going to begin researching its identity. Meanwhile, we are posting the photo in the hope that one of our readers is able to provide any information. We did find a very similar image on page 6 of this site that came up when we googled Costa Rican Leafhoppers. Clicking the image takes one to FlickR and this Leafhopper identified only as Apogonalia.