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Tribe Smiliini

Cyrtolobus lateralis - Xantholobus lateralis - male Treehopper on red oak - Smilia camelus Smilia fasciata Treehopper - Ophiderma Treehopper - Ophiderma CASTYPE 02157 - Cyrtolobus acutus - male Arizona Treehopper for ID - Xantholobus Cyrtolobus fenestratus - male
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (True Hoppers)
Infraorder Cicadomorpha (Cicadas, Spittlebugs, Leafhoppers, and Treehoppers)
Superfamily Membracoidea (Leafhoppers and Treehoppers)
Family Membracidae (Typical Treehoppers)
Subfamily Smiliinae
Tribe Smiliini
Explanation of Names
Smiliini Stål 1866
Numbers
75 spp. in 7 genera in our area(1), _ spp. in 9 genera total(2)
Identification
[last updated by SVH 2024-V-08]
Comparison of Smiliini genera.
Photo guides to the non-monotypic genera can be found at the info pages for each genus. Note that most members of Smiliini exhibit a high degree of sexual dimorphism.

some words
Pronotum — The anterior plate-like structure on the thorax of insects; it is greatly enlarged in treehoppers and extends over the entire abdomen in Smiliini, obscuring the rest of the dorsal thoracic plates.
Crest/Keel — Refers to the arched pronotum of many treehoppers when they are somewhat foliate (narrowed and extended towards their edge). The shape of this crest is often used to differentiate genera in the tribe (though it is not always consistent).
Window — Some members of Smiliini are fenestrate in that they have small clear regions along the top part of the pronotum. These clear regions can be referred to as “windows.” The presence or absence of these windows is sometimes used as a genus-level feature (though it is not always consistent).
Inflated Pronotum — The sides of the crest (if present) or pronotum of some Smiliini are bulbous, looking “inflated.” This is usually used as a genus-level character of Xantholobus.

One species, found in the desert southwest and northern Mexico. The form of these treehoppers is distinctive. They are rather elongate with a pronotum that bears “windows.” The crest is concavely depressed at the central window—this is unique to the genus.


Six species in our area; four eastern and two western. This genus is diagnosable by the lack of “windows” in the crest and the shape of the crest, which is tallest anteriorly and gradually tapering posteriorly, resulting in a wedge-shaped appearance.


41 species in our area, distributed throughout the continent. This is the largest genus of the tribe. Morphologically, it is highly varied and difficult to diagnose in relation to the other genera as—no matter what definition is used—there will always be exceptions. Most generally, this genus has a uniformly rounded crest, which has “windows” and is not “inflated” laterally.


One species in our area, found in the desert southwest. This genus is highly distinctive—the crest is strongly arched anteriorly before sloping back down around 2/3 the length of the pronotum. With a stretch of the imagination, this gives the pronotum the appearance of a bird’s head, with a “beak” pointing caudad.


Thirteen species in our area, distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada except for the northwest. This genus is rather distinctive among the Smiliini in lacking the crest seen in all other members of the genus except for a select few Xantholobus (which have a different appearance given their “inflated” appearance.


Two species in our area, found in the eastern U.S. This genus is very distinctive in consisting of generally very dark species with tall crests decorated with a bright green to white oblique stripe. The shape of the crest is distinctive in this genus.


Twelve species in our area, half of which are eastern and the other half western in distribution. This genus has a polymorphic composition, but the rule of thumb for this group is that the crest is “inflated” laterally, resulting in a bulbous appearance (this however does not always hold true). The western species (Xantholobus sensu stricto) are usually small, bulbous, lack “windows,” and are highly pubescent. The eastern species take many forms, but are generally quite close to Cyrtolobus. Familiarity at the species-level is likely needed to reliably know if one is looking at a Cyrtolobus or Xantholobus as the genera are currently defined.
Range
New World, more diverse in the Nearctic region(2)
Food
many species feed on oaks(2)