Leafhoppers are small jumping insects from the family Cicadellidae in the order Hemiptera. They are about 2–30 mm long. The life cycle includes eggs, followed by a nymphal stage (with brightly coloured nymphs) and this is directly followed by the emergence of the adult (Fig. P.19). The adults have sharp, piercing and sucking mouthparts, with which they feed on the plant sap of a variety of plants. Leafhoppers produce a protective granular substance called brochosome, with which they groom themselves.
Leafhoppers are a widespread and diverse group of insects and many species are known to be parasitic on different plants all over the world. They attack rice, maize, potato, tomato, fruit trees, sugarcane, lucerne and ornamentals (e.g. roses).
Maize leafhoppers (Cicadulina bimaculata) are common in fields of maize, sorghum and sugarcane. Apart from the direct damage to crops, they transmit the maize streak virus. Homalodisca vitripennis, a serious pest of grapes, citrus and almonds, transmits the bacterial plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa (which causes citrus-X disease). Some of the important pest species among leafhoppers are the green rice leafhopper (Nephotettix spp.) which attacks rice and the beet leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus) which transmits the curly top virus to many plants in the aubergine (brinjal) family. The use of pesticides, parasitoid wasps (from the family Myrmaridae) and viruses are some control measures.
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common name for small, wedge-shaped leaping insects, cosmopolitan in distribution, belonging to the family Cicadellidae, which comprises some 5,500 s
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