(Superfamily Fulgoroidea [= suborder Fulgoromorpha])

photo of a planthopper Images

Selected Links

Selected References

Planthoppers form the large, diverse superfamily Fulgoroidea, with 12,000 described species placed among 20 families: Acanaloniidae, Achilidae, Caliscelidae, Cixiidae (including Achilixiidae), Delphacidae, Derbidae, Dictyopharidae, Eurybrachidae, Flatidae, Fulgoridae, Gengidae, Hypochthonellidae, Issidae, Kinnaridae, Lophopidae, Meenoplidae, Nogodinidae, Ricaniidae, Tettigometridae, and Tropiduchidae. The more species rich families include Delphacidae, Derbidae, Cixiidae, Flatidae, and Fulgoridae. Members of the family Fulgoridae are sometimes called lanternflies because of the enlarged heads of some were, at one time, said to be luminescent.


Although planthoppers occur worldwide, the Afro- and Neotropical regions are especially rich in numbers of species. Still, some Alaskan species live north of the Arctic Circle. Some planthopper families are widespread, but Eurybrachidae and Meenoplidae are restricted to the Old World, and Tettigometridae occur only in the Afrotropical and Palearctic regions. Gengidae and Hypothnonellidae are known only from one or two African species. Furthermore, several families (Achilidae, Eurybrachidae, Fulgoridae, Kinnaridae, and Nogodinidae) are unknown or poorly represented in the Palearctic region.


Planthoppers differ from other Auchenorrhyncha in having: antennae that arise below (not between) the compound eyes; pedicel of antenna bulbous or enlarged, with sensory plate organs; scalelike tegulae on the mesothorax (except in tettigometrids and some short-winged dictyopharids); and forewings with the anal veins confluent apically (forming a "Y"). The largest planthopper species are at least 114 mm in length (72 mm excluding the wing tips) with a wingspan of 155 mm, but the smallest are less than 2 mm long. In some planthoppers, wing polymorphism is common, with long-winged (macropterous) flying forms, as well as short-winged (brachypterous) flightless forms frequently occurring in the same population. While many planthoppers are rather ordinary looking insects, some are brilliantly colored (some Fulgoridae) as well as outrageously shaped with huge, elongate heads (some Fulgoridae and Dictyopharidae) or bodies that are strongly flattened laterally or dorsoventrally (especially among Acanaloniidae and Flatidae). Some nymphs and adults produce wax secretions, often in the form of abdominal filaments.

Ecology and Behavior

Planthoppers generally have 1 to 3 generations per year; however, as many as 12 generations per year have been observed in tropical delphacids. Most adults feed on the phloem of vascular plants, but nymphs of some groups apparently feed on fungi, either under bark (some Derbidae and Achilidae) or in dead wood (some Achilidae). Nymphs of one species of Delphacidae develop on mosses. Although many planthoppers are highly host specific, feeding on a single host species or a restricted range of related host plants, others are quite polyphagous. Eggs are deposited singly or in groups, usually in or on the host, and may be protected by waxy secretions in some species. Nymphs of the families Cixiidae and Meenoplidae appear to be primarily subterranean and feed on roots. The families Delphacidae and Cixiidae include nearly 150 species recorded as pests. The more serious pests vector devastating plant diseases, and thus a migratory delphacid vector [the brown plant hopper: Nilaparvata lugens (Stål)] is the most important pest of rice in Asia.

Planthoppers prepared by L. L. Deitz, P. A. Alvarez, C. R. Bartlett, C. H. Dietrich, and L. B. O'Brien.
1 December 2008



Explore the remarkable morphological diversity among planthoppers through GigaPan images from the NCSU Insect Museum (includes Z. P. Metcalf's collection). Eighteen families are represented:



Cixiidae (including Achilixiidae [column 1, box 1])








Kinnaridae (columns 2-4)


Meenoplidae (column 1, boxes 4-5)





Planthoppers: Selected Links

Compiled by P. A. Alvarez, L. L. Deitz, and D. R. Nimocks. 1 December 2008. Potentially useful sites may have been omitted because reviewers [Acknowledgments] noted significant misidentifications or other concerns.

FLOW, Fulgoromorpha Lists on the Web: authors, species, type depositories, biogeographic areas. [T. Bourgoin]. In English, French and Spanish.

North American Planthoppers (C. R. Bartlett) 

Digital Library for Pre-1940 Planthopper Literature (C. R. Bartlett). 

North American Fulgoroidea Database Search. 

Classification of the North American Fulgoroidea.

Australian Faunal Directory: references on Fulgoroidea.

Planthopper Type Material Listed by Repository.

Audio Recordings of Delphacidae of NW Europe

Lanternfly Tree of Life.

Selected References on Planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea): 1956-2014

Prepared by L. L. Deitz, P. A. Alvarez, and K. Rochon. 1 December 2008 (updated 24 June 2014).

Asche, M. 1985a. Zur Phylogenie der Delphacidae Leach, 1815 (Homoptera, Cicadina, Fulgoromorpha). Marburger Entomol. Pub. 2(1-1): 1-398; 2(1-2): 399-910. [citation in part from Zool. Rec.]

Asche, M. 1988c. Delphacidae from Cote d'Ivoire (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea). Rev. Française Entomol. (n.s.) 10(2): 151-231. [with French summary]

Asche, M. 1990a. Vizcayinae, a new subfamily of the Delphacidae with revision of Vizcaya Muir (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea)--a significant phylogenetic link. Occ. Papers Bishop Mus. 30: 154-187.

Asche, M.; Wilson, M. R. 1990a. The delphacid genus Sogatella and related groups: a revision with special reference to rice-associated species (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Syst. Entomol. 15: 1-42.

Bartlett, C. R.; Adams, E. R.; Gonzon, A. T., Jr. 2011a. Planthoppers of Delaware (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea), excluding Delphacidae, with species incidence from adjacent States. ZooKeys 83: 1-42. [online publication; includes key with color images of numerous species]

Bartlett, C. R.; Deitz, L. L. 2000a. Revision of the New World Delphacid Planthopper Genus Pissonotus (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Thomas Say Publications in Entomology: Monographs. Entomological Society of America, Lanham, Maryland. vi + 234 pp.

Bartlett, C. R.; O'Brien, L. B.; Wilson, S. W. 2014a. A review of the planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) of the United States. Mem. Amer. Entomol. Soc. 50: [i-iii], [1]-287.

Bourgoin, T. 1986a. Morphologie imaginale du tentorium des Hemiptera Fulgoromorpha. Int. J. Insect Morph. & Embryol. 15(4): 237-252.

Bourgoin, T. 1990s. Morphologie comparée des genitalia mâles des Trypetimorphini et remarques phylogenetiques (Hemiptera Fulgoromorpha). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Francais (n.s.) 26: 555-564.

Bourgoin, T. 1993a. Female genitalia in Hemiptera Fulgoromorpha, morphological and phylogenetic data. Ann. Soc. Entomol. France (n.s.) 29(3): 225-244.

Bourgoin, T. 1997a. Habitat and ant-attendance in Hemiptera: a phylogenetic test with emphasis on trophobiosis in Fulgoromorpha. Mém. Mus. Natl. Hist. Natur. 173: 109-124.

Bourgoin, T.; Deiss,.V. 1994a. Sensory plate organs of the antenna in the Meenoplidae-Kinnaridae group (Hemiptera : Fulgoromorpha). Int. J. Insect Morph. & Embryol. 23(2): 159-168.

Bourgoin, T.; Steffen-Campbell, J. D.; Campbell, B. C. 1997a. Molecular phylogeny of Fulgoromorpha (Insecta, Hemiptera, Archaeorrhyncha). The enigmatic Tettigometridae: evolutionary affiliations and historical biogeography. Cladistics 13(3): 207-224.

Broomfield, P. S. 1985a. Taxonomy of Neotropical Derbidae in the new tribe Mysidiini (Homoptera). Bull. Brit. Mus. (Natur. Hist.), Entomol. 50(1): 1-152.

Ceotto, P.; Bourgoin, T. 2008a. Insights into the phylogenetic relationships within Cixiidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha): cladistic analysis of a morphological dataset. Syst. Entomol. 33(3): 484-500.

Denno, R.F.; Perfect, T. J. 1994a. Planthoppers: Their Ecology and Management. Chapman & Hall, New York. x + 799 pp.

Dubose, W. P. 1960a. The genus Delphacodes Fieber in North Carolina (Homoptera: Delphacidae). J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. 76: 36-63.

Emel´yanov, A. F. 1990a. An attempt of construction of phylogenetic tree of the planthoppers (Homoptera, Cicadina). Entomol. Obozr. 69(2): 353-356. [author sometimes cited as Emeljanov]

Emel´yanov, A. F. 1999a. Notes on delimitation of families of the Issidae group with description of a new species of Caliscelidae belonging to a new genus and tribe (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea). Zoosyst. Rossica 8: 61-72. [author sometimes cited as Emeljanov]

Fennah, R. G. 1956a. Fulgoroidea from southern China. Proc. California Acad. Sci., ser. 4, 28(13): 441-527.

Fennah, R. G. 1956b. Homoptera: Fulgoroidea. Insects of Micronesia 6(3): [39]-211.

Fennah, R. G. 1957a. Fulgoroidea from the Belgian Congo (Hemiptera Homoptera). Ann. Mus. Roy. Congo Belge, Tervuren, sér. in 8 vols., Zool. 59: [1]-206.

Fennah, R. G. 1965a. Delphacidae from Australia and New Zealand (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Bull. British Mus. (Natur. Hist), Entomol. 17(1): 1-59.

Fennah, R. G. 1967a. Fugloroidea from the Galápagos Archipelago. Proc. California Acad. Sci., ser. 4, 35(4): 53-102.

Fennah, R. G. 1969a. Fulgoroidea (Homoptera) from New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. Pacific Insects Monogr. 21: 1-116.

Fennah, R. G. 1969b. Delphacidae (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea) from the Sudan Republic. Acta Entomol. Fennica 26: [1-79].

Fennah, R. G. 1971a. Homoptera: Fulgoroidea. Supplement. Insects of Micronesia 6(8): [563]-609.

Fennah, R. G. 1978a. Fulgoroidea (Homoptera) of Viet-nam. Ann. Zool. (Warszawa) 34(9): [207]-279.

Fennah, R. G. 1982a. A tribal classification of the Tropiduchidae (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea), with the description of a new species on tea in Malaysia. Bull. Entomol. Res. 72: 631-643.

Fennah, R. G. 1984a. Revisionary notes on the classification of the Nogodinidae (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea), with descriptions of a new genus and a new species. Entomol. Mon. Mag. 120(1436-1439): 81-86.

Fletcher, M. J. 1985a. Revision of the genus Siphanta Stål (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea: Flatidae). Australian J. Zool., Suppl. Ser. 110: 1-94.

Fletcher, M. J. 1988a. The Australian genera of Flatidae (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea). Gen. & Appl. Entomol. 20: 9-32.

Fletcher, M. J. 2008a. A key to the genera of Ricaniidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha) recorded in Australia with notes on the Australian fauna, including a new species of Epithalamium Kirkaldy. Australian J. Entomol. 47(2): 107-120.

Flynn, J. E.; Kramer, J. P. 1983a. Taxonomic study of the planthopper genus Cedusa in the Americas (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea: Derbidae). Entomography 2: 121 260.

Freund, R.; Wilson, S. W. 1995a. The planthopper genus Acanalonia in the United States (Homoptera: Issidae): morphology of male and female external genitalia. Insecta Mundi 9(3-4): 195-215.

Gnezdilov, V. M. 2003a. Review of the family Issidae (Homoptera, Cicadina) of the European fauna with notes on the structure of ovipositor in planthoppers. Chteniya Pamyati N. A. Kholodkovskogo 56(1): 1-145. [in Russian, with English summary]

Gnezdilov, V. M.; O'Brien, L. B. 2008a. Generic changes in United States Issini (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea, Issidae). Insecta Mundi 20(3‑4): 217‑225.

Gnezdilov, V. M.; O'Brien, L. B. 2008b. New taxa and combinations in Neotropical Issidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Insecta Mundi 31: 1‑26.

Gnezdilov, V. M.; Holzinger, W. E.; Wilson, M. R. 2014a. The western Palaearctic Issidae (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea): an illustrated checklist and key to genera and subgenera. Proc. Zool. Inst. RAS 318(supplement 1): [1]-118. [available online]

Goemans, G. 2006a. The Fulgoridae (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha) of Guatemala. pp. 337-344. In Cano, E. (ed.). Biodiversidad de Guatemala. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala. Vol. 1. vi + 674 pp.

Heady, S. E.; Wilson, S. W. 1990a. The planthopper genus Prokelisia (Homoptera: Delphacidae) in the United States: descriptions of female genitalia and copulatory behavior. J. Kansas Entomol. Soc. 63(2): 267-278.

Hoch, H. 1994a. Homoptera (Auchenorrhyncha Fulgoroidea). pp. 313-325. In Juberthie, C.; Decu, V. (eds). Encyclopaedia Biospeologica, Société de. Biospéologie Publications, CNRS, Moulis, France and Académie roumaine, Bucarest, Romania, 1. i-xii, 1-834 pp. [citation in part from WorldCat]

Hoch, H.; Remane, R. 1985a. Evolution und Speziation der Zikaden-Gattung Hyalesthes Signoret, 1865 (Homoptera Auchenorrhyncha Fulgoroidea Cixidae). Marburger Entomol. Publ. 2(2): 1-427.

Kramer, J. P. 1983a. Taxonomic study of the planthopper family Cixiidae in the United States (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc. 109: 1 58.

Le Quesne, W. J. 1960a. Hemiptera, Fulgormorpha. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects (Royal Entomological Society of London) 2(3): 1-68.

Liang, A.-P. 2001a. Morphology of antennal sensilla in Achilixius sandakanensis Muir (Hemiptera: Fugloromorpha: Achilixiidae) with comments on the phylogenetic position of the Achilixiidae. Raffles Bull. Zool. 49(2): 221-225.

Logvinenko, V. M. 1975a. Fulgoroidny cikadovy Fulgoroidea. Fauna Ukrainy 20(2): 1-287. [in Ukrainian]

McPherson, K. R.; Wilson, S. W. 1995a. The planthopper genus Pylloscelis in the United States (Homoptera: Dictyopharidae). Insecta Mundi 9:177-188.

Mead, F. W.; Kramer, J. P. 1982a. Taxonomic study of the planthopper genus Oliarus in the United States (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea: Cixiidae). Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc. 107: 381-569.

Medler, J. T. 1989a. New Guinea Flatidae (Homoptera): species collected on economic and other plants, with descriptions of new species. Bishop Mus. Bull. Entomol. 2: [i]-viii, 1-79.

Medler, J. T. 1991a. Flatidae of Sulawesi, with notes on some related Philippine and Indomalayan species (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Oriental Insects 25: 1-43.

Medler, J. T. 1992a. Revision of the tribe Phyllyphantini in the Oriental Region, with descriptions of new genera and new species (Homoptera: Flatidae). Oriental Insects 26: 1-32.

Medler, J. T. 1996a. Flatidae of Borneo, with descriptions of new genera and species (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Oriental Insects 30: 11-96.

Medler, J. T. 1999a. Flatidae of Indonesia, exclusive of Irian Jaya (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea). Zool. Verh. 324: [1]-88.

Medler, J. T. 2000a. Flatidae of New Guinea and adjacent areas (Homoptera: Flatidae). Bishop Mus. Bull. Entomol. 8: [i]-viii, 1-117.

Medler, J. T. 2001a. Review of Flatidae in southern Africa, with keys and descriptions of new species (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea). Contrib. Entomol., Int. 4(4): [i-ii (cover)], 323-375.

Metcalf, Z. P. 1956a. Fascicle IV, Fulgoroidea. Part 18. Eurybrachidae and Gengidae. General Catalogue of the Homoptera (North Carolina State College [now University], Raleigh) 4(18): [i]-vii, 1-81. [with introduction by Metcalf, Z. P., and Smith, C. F.]

Metcalf, Z. P. 1957a. Fascicle IV, Fulgoroidea. Part 13. Flatidae and Hypochthonellidae. General Catalogue of the Homoptera (North Carolina State College [now University], Raleigh) 4(13): [i]-viii, 1-565. [with introduction by Metcalf, Z. P., and Smith, C. F.]

Metcalf, Z. P. 1958a. Fascicle IV, Fulgoroidea. Part 15. Issidae. General Catalogue of the Homoptera (North Carolina State College [now University], Raleigh) 4(15): [i]-vii, 1-561. [with introduction by Metcalf, Z. P., and Smith, C. F.]

Nagai, S.; Porion, T. 1996a. Fulgoridae 2. Catalogue Illustré des Faunes Asiatique et Australienne. Sciences Nat, Venette, France. 96 pp.

Nault, L. R.; Rodriguez, J. G. 1985a. The Leafhoppers and Planthoppers. Wiley, New York. [xviii] + 500 pp.

Nickel, H. 2003a. The Leafhoppers and Planthoppers of Germany (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha): Patterns and Strategies in a Highly Diverse Group of Phytophagous Insects. Pensoft, Sofia, [Bulgaria], and Goecke & Evers, Keltern, [Germany]. x + 460 pp.

O'Brien, L. B. 1971a. The systematics of the tribe Plectoderini in America north of Mexico (Fulgoroidea). Univ. California Publ. Entomol. (Berkeley) 64: [i-vi], 1-79.

O'Brien, L. B. 1988a. New World Fulgoridae, part 1: genera with elongate head processes. [In Research in the Auchenorrhyncha, Homoptera : a tribute to Paul W. Oman]. Great Basin Natur. Mem. 12: 135-170.

O'Brien, L. B. 1992a. Tropiduchidae (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea) of the United States. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 85(2): 121-126.

O'Brien, L.; Penny, N. D.; Arias, J. R. 1987a. Lophopidae of the Amazon Basin with keys to New World genera and species (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Acta Amazonica 16/17: 617-626.

Porion, T. 1994a. Fulgoridae 1. Catalogue Illustré des Faune Américaine. Sciences Nat, Venette, France. 72 pp.

Shcherbakov, D. E. 2007a. An extraordinary new family of Cretaceous planthoppers (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Russian Entomol. J. 16(2): 139-154. [available online]

Shcherbakov, D. E. 2007b. Mesozoic spider mimics – Cretaceous Mimarachnidae fam. n. (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Russian Entomol. J. 16 (3): 259-264. [available online]

Szwedo, J.; Bourgoin, T.; LeFèbvre, F. 2004a. Fossil Planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha) of the World: an Annotated Catalogue with Notes on Hemiptera Classification. Studio 1, Warszawa. 199 pp.

Tishechkin, D. Y. 2003a. Vibrational communication in Cercopoidea and Fulgoroidea (Homoptera: Cicadina) with notes on classification of higher taxa. Russian Entomol. J. 12(2): 129-181. [with Russian abstract]

Urban, J.M.; Bartlett, C. R.; Cryan, J. R. 2010a. Evolution of Delphacidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea): combined-evidence phylogenetics reveals importance of grass host shifts. Syst. Entomol. 35: 678-691.

Urban, J. M.; Cryan, J. R. 2007a. Evolution of the planthoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Mol. Phylogenet. & Evol. 42: 556-572. [available online 2006]

Urban, J. M.; Cryan, J. R. 2009a. Entomologically famous, evolutionarily unexplored: the first phylogeny of the lanternfly family Fulgoridae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Mol. Phylogenet. & Evol. 50: 471-484. [available online 2008]

Wade, V. 1960a. Fascicle. IV, Fulgoroidea. Species index. General Catalogue of the Homoptera (North Carolina State College [now University], Raleigh). 78 pp.

Wheeler, A. G. Jr. 2003a. Bryophagy in the Auchenorrhyncha: seasonal history and habits of a moss specialist, Javesella opaca (Beamer) (Fulgoroidea: Delphacidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Washington 105(3): 599-610.

Wilson, M.R.; Claridge, M. F. 1991a. Handbook for the Identification of Leafhoppers and Planthoppers of Rice. CAB International for International Institute of Entomology in Association with Natural Resources Institute, Wallingford, Oxon, United Kingdom. x + 142 pp.

Wilson, M. R.; Nault, L. R. (eds.). 1987a. Proceedings of 2nd International Workshop on Leafhoppers and Planthoppers of Economic Importance. CAB Int. Inst. Entomol., London. xiii + 368 pp.

Wilson, S. W. 1982a. The planthopper genus Prokelisia in the United States (Homoptera: Gulgoroidea: Delpahaciade). J. Kansas Entomol. Soc. 55(3): 532-546.

Wilson, S. W. 2005a. Keys to the families of Fulgoromorpha with emphasis on planthoppers of potential importance in the southeastern United States (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha). Florida Entomol. 88(4): 464-481.

Wilson, S. W.; McPherson, J. E. 1980a. Keys to the planthoppers, or Fulgoroidea, of Illinois (Homoptera). Trans. Illinois Acad. Sci. 73(2): 1 61.

Wilson, S. W.; McPherson, J. E. 1980c. The distribution of the Fulgoroidea of the eastern United States (Homoptera). Trans. Illinois Acad. Sci. 73(4): 7 20.

Wilson, S. W.; O'Brien L. B. 1987a. A survey of planthoppers pests of economically important plants (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). pp. 343-360. In Wilson, M. R.; Nault, L. R. (eds.). Proceedings of 2nd International Workshop on Leafhoppers and Planthoppers of Economic Importance, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA, 28th July-1st August 1986. CAB International Institute of Entomology, London. xiii + 368 pp.

Yang, C.-T. 1989a. Delphacidae of Taiwan (2) (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). NSC Spec. Publ. (Taipei) 6: 1-334. [citation in part from Zool. Rec.]

Yang, C.-T.; Yeh, W.-B. 1994a. Nymphs of Fulgoroidea (Homoptera: Auchenorrhyncha) with description of two new species and notes on adults of Dictyopharidae. Chinese J. Entomol., Spec. Publ. 8: i-iv, 1-189. [citation in part from Zool. Rec. and WorldCat]

Yang, J.-T.; Yang, C.-T. 1986a. Delphacidae of Taiwan (I). Asiracinae and the tribe Tropidocephalini (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Taiwan Mus. Spec. Publ. Ser. 6: 1-79. [citation in part from Zool. Rec.]

Yang, C.-T.; Wu, R.-H. 1994a. Derbidae of Taiwan: (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Department of Entomology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan. iv + 230 pp. [with Chinese abstract]

Yeh, W.-B.; Yang, C.-T.; Hui, C.-F. 2005a. A molecular phylogeny of planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) inferred from mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences. Zool. Studies 44(4): 519-535.

Back to the top