Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Frog-hoppers, Spittle Bugs, Cuckoo-spit insects, Froth-flies.

Salient features of adults. Terrestrial.

Phytophagous (tapping the xylem, resulting in copious, watery excretion which is mixed with air and proteins to generate the foam characteristic of the nymphs). Tiny to small; 3–11 mm long; fliers; conspicuous jumpers; relatively stout bodied. Rostrum not separated from the prosternum by a gula. Antennae longer than the head, readily visible from above; consisting of short segments with a terminal, unsegmented arista that is much longer than the segments. Ocelli present; 2; between the eyes (on the hind part of the disc of the crown). Tegulae absent. Fore-wings well developed; in the resting insect sloping roof-like over the abdomen; more or less uniform in texture; with opaque cells (leathery between the veins); without costal fracture and cuneus; with a clavus; with conspicuously raised, reticulate venation, or without conspicuously raised, reticulate venation. Clavus without convergence of veins to form a Y. Hind coxae mobile. The posterior tibiae cylindrical. Tarsi 3 segmented.

Larvae surrounding themselves with a mass of froth. The cylindrical hind tibiae with a few fixed apical spines, and two strong spines (only) on their outer edge; tegulae absent.

Taxonomy. Suborder Homoptera. Auchenorrhyncha. Cercopoidea.

British representation. 10 species in Britain; genera 4. Aphrophora, Cercopis, Neophilaenus, Philaenus. E.g., Cercopis vulnerata (Black-legged Frog-hopper).

Comments. Some cause noticeable damage to food plants, including fruit trees.

Illustrations. • Cercopis vulnerata (Black-legged Frog-hopper: B. Ent. 461). • Cercopis vulnerata (detail: B. Ent. 461). • Cercopis vulnerata (dissections: B. Ent. 461). • Cercopis vulnerata (legend+text: B. Ent. 461). • Cercopis vulnerata (text: B. Ent. 461, cont.). • Aphrophora (2 spp.), Cercopis vulnerata, Neophilaenus (3 spp.), Philaenus (4 spp.): Edwards.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.