ca. 340 spp. in 66 genera of 4 subfamilies in our area (146/39 in Canada), ~2,200 described species in ~400 genera worldwide (plus great many undescribed)(1)(2)(3)
synoptic classification coming up; see draft scheme at [cite:872730]
1.5-10.0 mm, mostly 2-4 mm(1)
Thumblike antenna and the spur on the hind tarsus distinguish this from other families.
Adults may be either long-winged (macropterous, or dispersal forms, with fully developed flying wings) or short-winged (brachypterous, adult wings not functional for flying) within a single population of a species. Sometimes brachypterous individuals are hard to tell apart from nymphs.
rather evenly distributed on all continents and islands, except Antarctica; at present most species have been described from temperate regions, but far northern regions (e.g., AK & n. Canada) have surprisingly diverse faunas(1)
Many – but not all – planthopper species in the eastern United States do better in moist or wet situations and years than they do in dry situations or years. Delphacid populations in particular will decline precipitously during droughts. Populations of individual species may therefore be highly variable between years -- abundant one year, but nearly absent the next.
Planthoppers tend to be less common in successional habitats than they are in ecologically stable habitats. Particularly with the short-winged planthoppers, habitats that are maintained in a similar condition for a long period of time tend to be more productive. Natural habitats that are ecologically stable such as grassy balds or wet meadows are particularly attractive localities for finding planthoppers. (1)
the largest family of planthoppers, its members are often very common.(4)