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Eurymela fenestrata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha
Infraorder: Cicadomorpha
Superfamily: Membracoidea
Family: Cicadellidae
Latreille, 1802
many hundreds


Leafhopper is a common name applied to any species from the family Cicadellidae. Leafhoppers, also known as hoppers, are minute plant-feeding insects in the superfamily Cicadelloidea in the order Hemiptera. Recent classification within the Hemiptera has placed the members of the archaic "Homoptera" into two new suborders: Sternorrhyncha (aphids, whiteflies, scales, psyllids...) and Auchenorrhyncha (cicadas, leafhoppers, treehoppers, planthoppers...). The name Auchenorrhyncha is itself likely to be replaced, as research indicates it is not a monophyletic group.

Leafhoppers are found all over the world, and it is the second largest family in the Hemiptera; there are at least 20,000 described species. Leafhoppers have piercing sucking mouthparts, they feed on plant sap and can transmit plant-infecting viruses and bacteria. Species that are significant agricultural pests include the potato leafhopper, beet leafhopper, white apple leafhopper, two-spotted leafhopper, and glassy-winged sharpshooter. A Leafhoppers' diet commonly consists of plant sap from a wide and diverse range of plants. Leafhoppers mainly consume vegetation but have been known to indulge in small insects such as Aphids.

The Cicadellidae combine the following features:

  • thickened part of the antennae very short and ending with a bristle (arista)
  • two simple eyes (ocelli) present on the top or front of the head
  • 3 segments on the tarsi
  • front femora with at most weak spines
  • hind tibia with one or more distinct keels, with a row of movable spines on each, sometimes on enlarged bases
  • base of middle legs close together where they originate under the thorax
  • front wings not particularly thickened. An additional, unique character of leafhoppers is the production of brochosomes which are thought to protect egg masses from predation and pathogens. Leafhoppers are susceptible to various pathogens; viruses as in the(Dicistroviridae), bacteria, fungi, as well as having a host of parasitoids which attack the eggs.

Leaf hoppers are often responsible for the spread of plant pathogens espicially viruses and phytoplasmas.[1] In some cases these plant pathogens are also pathogens of the insect themselves, and can replicate within the salivary glands.

See also


  1. ^ Lee et al. (2000) Phytoplasmas: phytopathogenic mollicutes. Annual Review of Microbiology 54 221-255
  • Carver, M, FG. Gross, and TE. Woodward. 1991. Hemiptera (bugs, leafhoppers, cidadas, aphids, scale insects, etc.) In: The Insects of Australia - a Textbook for Students and Research Workers Volume 1. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, Australia".
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Leafhopper". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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