Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 25 - Cercopidae (Insecta: Homoptera) - Introduction

Hamilton, KGA; Morales, CF 1992. Cercopidae (Insecta: Homoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 25, 40 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 25. ISBN 0-477-02636-2 (print), ). Published 25 May 1992


Adult spittlebugs, or froghoppers, are distinguished from other insects by their hind tibiae, which are armed on the outer edge with two stout, thornlike spurs, and end in a broadly flared double row of black-tipped spines. They are superficially similar to leafhoppers (family Cicadellidae), but the latter have slender hind tibiae armed with numerous fine, hair-like spines in several rows on both the inner and outer edges, and lack the black-tipped spines at the end of the tibiae.

Immature spittlebugs are the only insects to create and inhabit spittle masses, in which they are completely screened from view. The nymphal stages generally resemble the adults, but lack wings and are generally paler in colour. The systematics of Cercopidae is based entirely on the adults.

Spittlebugs are represented in New Zealand only by the subfamily Aphrophorinae. Archibald et al. (1979) described the fauna as being depauperate, with only two native species, Carystoterpa fingens (Walker) and Pseudaphronella jactator (F.B. White) (Evans 1966), and the recently introduced meadow spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius (L.). The present study, based on more than 1000 specimens, reports fifteen species in four genera from New Zealand proper. Four species on adjacent island groups are closely related to New Zealand taxa.

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