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

Xestocephalus brunneus - Brown Xestocephalus

© Paul Scharf- side view

© Paul Scharf- top view
Family: CICADELLIDAESubfamily: Aphrodinae
Online Photographs: BugGuide                                                                                  
Description: A generally dark species, varying in color from almost black to brown to bluish. It has pale spots at the wing tips and brownish legs. The face is brown. This species is smaller than the very similar X. piceus (1). Adults are 3.0- 3.5 mm long. For additional pics of this species, see: BG.
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Distribution: A common and widespread species, recorded throughout eastern North America into the Midwest (BG).
Abundance: Recorded from several counties in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, probably more abundant in the right habitat
Seasonal Occurrence
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Has been recorded in mixed hardwood forest habitats.
Plant Associates: Taken on Willow and Black Locust (BG).
Behavior: Can be attracted at night with a light
Comment: This is the only member of this genus whose adults feed on trees (BG).

Under the latest revision of the genus by Cwikla 1985, many species were synonymized under X. desertorum. While the following species appear to be visually distinctive, there are no differences in the male or female genitalia from desertorum, hence being synonymized. This move has not been carried out here as it seems necessary for further studies done to determine the validity of species within this genus. For now, species here will be differentiated based on visual characteristics. It is important to note though that these 'species' may not be valid, and visual characteristics that have been used to differentiate may not in fact hold up due to variation between forms and/or species. Furthermore, somes records may represent similiar species that are not yet on this site; obviously there is much to learn and revise regarding this genus.

The species synonymized under desertorum that could occur in our area are as follows:

- brunneus

- nigrifrons (some of the dark specimens here under superbus may represent nigrifrons)

- pulicarius

- piceus

- provancheri

- similis

- superbus

Furthermore, there is an apparent undescribed species that looks similar to X. superbus, but has a differently marked and colored frons, head and pronotum. Recent DNA barcoding revealed specimens of this 'species' cluster separately from everything else.

- n-species

Status: Native
Global and State Rank:

Species Photo Gallery for Xestocephalus brunneus Brown Xestocephalus

Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Wake Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood forest habitat; the whitish patch on the costa is an accumulation of waxy exudates
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: attracted to Black Light
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: Attracted to Black Light
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: Attracted to Black Light