Hoppers of North Carolina:
Spittlebugs, Leafhoppers, Treehoppers, and Planthoppers
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CLASTOPTERIDAE Members: NC Records

Clastoptera xanthocephala - Sunflower Spittlebug



© Kyle Kittelberger- female; note black facial
bar

© Kyle Kittelberger- top view, female

© Kyle Kittelberger- male
Taxonomy
Family: CLASTOPTERIDAE
Identification
Online Photographs: BugGuide                                                                                  
Description: The smallest member of this genus at around 3 mm long, this is a highly variable species that ranges from black to light brown. This coloration is typically sexually dimorphic, with the males being darker than females. With males, the body is mostly black with the tip of the head being distinctly paler, almost yellowish in color, than the rest of the body. The rear tip of the wings can also appear yellower than the rest of the body. There is a black transverse bar crossing an otherwise pale face (pale above and below the band). Males typically have dark legs. Females tend to be light brown in color from above, sometimes darker, and the underside is all black except for the pale legs and contrastingly pale face, again with a transverse black bar. Both sexes show a dark spot with a white ring around it on the lower rear end of the wings. The fall broad is paler and a chocolate-brown color, though it is marked like the spring brood. Adult males are 2.4-3.0 mm long, females are 3.0-4.7 mm. Nymphs are a pale yellowish color. (Hamilton, 1982)
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Out of State Record(s)
Distribution: A common and widespread species, ranging from the Northeast south to Florida, west to Texas and Oklahoma (BG).
Abundance: Common and widespread, this species has been recorded across the state. A majority of records come from the coastal plain and eastern Piedmont.
Seasonal Occurrence
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
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Oct
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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species has been recorded recently from grassy fields, pine forest with lots of shrubby vegetation, forest edge, and other brushy habitats.
Plant Associates: Sunflower (Helianthus), annual ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia). Chrysanthemum morifolium, Solidago, Croton puntatus, Gleditsia (DL)
Behavior:
Comment: Interesting note on spittlebugs: "Spittlebug nymphs wander away from their spittle masses, and either start new ones, or enter those of other nymphs. Aphrophora nymphs hold the record, of one spittle mass over a foot long containing about 100 individuals!" BG
Status: Native
Global and State Rank:

Species Photo Gallery for Clastoptera xanthocephala Sunflower Spittlebug

Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Halifax Co.
Comment: grassy, field type habitat
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf
Wake Co.
Comment: grassy, field-type habitat
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf
Wake Co.
Comment: grassy, field-type habitat; a pale specimen
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf
Wake Co.
Comment: grassy, field-type habitat
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf
Wake Co.
Comment: grassy, field-type habitat; a pale specimen
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: Spotted on Plant
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: Caught Sweeping
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Out Of State Co.
Comment: grassy, brushy field
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Out Of State Co.
Comment: grassy, brushy field
Photo by: Paul Scharf, B Bockhahn
Rowan Co.
Comment: Female. Caught sweepimg
Photo by: Harry Wilson
Wake Co.
Comment: unid_spittlebug
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: Weedy patch in open area.
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: 2.9mm, captured during sweep of grassy area bordering forest
Photo by: F. Williams, S. Williams
Gates Co.
Comment: MEMI
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: 3.5 mm female, caught during sweep of low vegetation on margin of school athletic field
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: captured during sweep of low vegetation
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: captured during sweep of low vegetation
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: captured during sweep of low vegetation