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

Empoasca fabae - Potato Leafhopper



© Ken Childs- note pale green coloration

© Ken Childs- note head spots

© Ken Childs- note scutellar pattern

© Ken Childs- note 6 pale pronotal spots
Taxonomy
Family: CICADELLIDAESubfamily: Typhlocybinae
Identification
Online Photographs: BugGuide                                                                                  
Description: A pale green species, sometimes yellowish that can be highly variable. It typically has a row of six white spots along the anterior margin of the pronotum. These spots are evenly spaced from one another and are characteristic of this species, though sometimes these spots are missing or are indistinct. The vertex often has pale or dark green spots: the midline is pale and there are pale dashes on either side. The scutellum has the lateral triangles typically outlined with white, with multiple pale lines instead of a single central pale band. The head is broadly angled; it is not prominently pointed. The wings are greenish subhyaline. The male subgenital plates are long and slender, curving outwards near the tips and tapering to acute apices; they are divergent from one another. The female pregenital sternite is moderately produced and roundedly truncated; it appears largely rectangular. Adults are around 3.5 mm long. (DeLong, 1931)
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: The most common member of this genus on the continent. Extremely widespread, found primarily throughout eastern and central North America; also recorded as far west as California and Washington. Ranges from Canada south to Argentina and has been introduced to China. (3I)
Abundance: Common and widespread across the state, found from mountains to coast.
Seasonal Occurrence
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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Has been found in a variety of habitats, including mixed hardwood forest, grassy areas, brush, pine forests, and high elevation forests.
Plant Associates: A generalist, feeding on more than 200 plant species, both wild and domesticated, especially legumes. See here for a list of known host plants: 3I.
Behavior: Can be attracted at night with a light.
Comment: This species is a major agricultural pest of alfalfa, fruits, and vegetables. It is most damaging to alfalfa and clover, as well as potato. This species can cause what is known as "hopper burn," which is when fluids are removed from vascular plant tissues and a toxic substance is simultaneously injected into the plant. Plants that experience this burn begin to become discolored, yellowing on leaves. It is also a cold intolerant species and migrates annually from the Gulf Coast northwards. (BG)

For more information on the economic importance of this species, and the damage it can cause to agricultural plants, see: 1, 2.

Status: Native
Global and State Rank:

Species Photo Gallery for Empoasca fabae Potato Leafhopper

Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Wake Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood forest edge
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: Caught sweeping
Photo by: Brian Bockhahn
Gates Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Harry Wilson
Wake Co.
Comment:
Photo by: R Emmitt
Orange Co.
Comment:
Photo by: R Emmitt
Orange Co.
Comment: unid_leafhopper
Photo by: R Emmitt
Orange Co.
Comment: unid_leafhopper
Photo by: Ken Childs
Out Of State Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Childs
Out Of State Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Childs
Out Of State Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Childs
Out Of State Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Yancey Co.
Comment: 3.4 mm