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"Graphocephala species-group"

Red-banded Leafhopper - Graphocephala coccinea leaf hopper - Graphocephala fennahi Graphocephala versuta? - Graphocephala versuta Sharpshooter - Graphocephala versuta Leafhopper - Blue Striped Leafhopper - Left Lateral - Graphocephala versuta Graphocephala versuta? - Graphocephala versuta Which leafhopper? - Graphocephala versuta Graphocephala coccinea? - Graphocephala coccinea
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (Free-living Hemipterans)
Infraorder Cicadomorpha
Superfamily Membracoidea (Leafhoppers, Treehoppers and Aetalionids)
Family Cicadellidae (Leafhoppers)
Subfamily Cicadellinae (Sharpshooters)
Tribe Cicadellini
Genus Graphocephala
No Taxon "Graphocephala species-group"
Other Common Names
Candy-striped Sharpshooters
Identification
This grouping comprises the Graphocephala species with red stripes, of which there are six in the USA and southern Canada. Definitive ID sometimes requires precise measurements and is therefore not always possible from photographs. The easiest to differentiate is G. versuta, which has black inscribed lines on the top of the head (hence "Graphocephala", meaning "written-on-head").


The next two species are more green than red, or at most, equally marked green and red.

The rhododendron leafhopper, G. fennahi (7.3-9.0 mm), is the only one that feeds on that particular plant, and is the only one found on the Pacific Coast. The stripes are unequal, with the ones on the back being fainter. In addition, males have a distinct spine on the terminal segment (you have to lift up the wings to see this).


The northeastern G. coccinea picta looks very much like G. fennahi but is found on other plants and is somewhat shorter (6.9-8.7 mm).


The remaining species (the widespread G. coccinea and G. coccinea teliformis, plus G. constricta from MS, AR and TX; 6.2-7.4 mm) all look much alike, but have somewhat different ranges.

G. coccinea varies much in color, from nearly all red with blue stripes to nearly all green with red stripes.

In the subspecies G. c. coccinea, confined to the Atlantic coast, males are 5.7-6.2 mm long, and females 6.7-7.3 mm. In the inland subspecies, G. c. quadrivittata, males are 6.6-7.6 mm and females are 7.2-8.4 mm.

G. coccinea teliformis, 7.2-9.1 mm long, usually (but not always!) typically has equally wide red and green stripes. Its eastern, western, and southern known range limits are somewhat constricted relative to those of G. coccinea. Areas where the latter is found, but not the former, include: the Atlantic coast; southern Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi; Florida; northwestern Arkansas; eastern Kansas; northern and western Minnesota; and southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


[Information taken from Hamilton (1985) and comments by Andy Hamilton on various images.]
Print References
Hamilton, K. G. Andrew. 1985. The Graphocephala coccinea Complex in North America (Homoptera, Auchenorrhyncha, Cicadellidae). Entomologische Abhandlungen 49(6):105-111.