Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Family Cixiidae - Cixiid Planthoppers

Hopper ID - Melanoliarus Cixiidae, (for want of the proper word) snout - Cixius nervosus Cixius basalis? - Cixius nervosus true bug nymph ? UDCC_TCN 00003035 - Melanoliarus placitus - male UDCC_TCN 00118536 - Oecleus quadrilineatus - male interesting planthopper - Melanoliarus placitus UDCC_TCN 00101907 - Melanoliarus - 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 Fulgoromorpha (Planthoppers)
Superfamily Delphacoidea
Family Cixiidae (Cixiid Planthoppers)
Explanation of Names
Cixiidae Spinola 1839
Numbers
180 spp. in 15 genera in our area(1); worldwide, the largest family of planthoppers, with >2,200 spp. in almost 200 genera(2)
Identification
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)
Range
worldwide; in our area, the richest fauna in the southwest (esp. AZ & CA), the poorest, in the northwest(1)
Food
Nymphs subterranean, feeding on roots (and possibly fungi?). Many are presumed to be polyphagous as adults, most often on woody plants.(1)
Remarks
"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
Print References
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.
Internet References
Family page - Univ. Delaware(1)