180 spp. in 15 genera in our area(1)
; worldwide, the largest family of planthoppers, with >2,200 spp. in almost 200 genera(2)
Cixiids and kinnarids are the only planthopper families that have a median ocellus, which is located just above the frontoclypeal suture. Cixiids have a row of spines on the second hind tarsomere, and females have a well-developed ‘orthopteroid-type’ ovipositor, (a feature shared (in Fulgoroidea) only with Delphacidae.
Species identification relies heavily on features of male genitalia; females often unidentifiable beyond genus, except by association with a male(1)
worldwide; in our area, the richest fauna in the southwest (esp. AZ & CA), the poorest, in the northwest(1)
Nymphs subterranean, feeding on roots (and possibly fungi?). Many are presumed to be polyphagous as adults, most often on woody plants.(1)
"The issue with New World Cixiidae is that they need to be studied more. Melanoliarus needs to be broken up, as does Haplaxius, Pintalia, Bothriocera, and so on. Somebody just needs to take the time to sort them out. Melanoliarus really isn't a valid taxon as it is currently comprised and you don't have to look at too many to realize it should be several genera, but exactly how many and exactly how they should be composed is another matter." — Charles Bartlett personal communication to Solomon Hendrix
Kramer, J.P. 1983. Taxonomic study of the planthopper family Cixiidae in the United States (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 109: 1-58.