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

Scaphytopius acutus - Sharp-nosed Leafhopper



© John Rosenfeld- note pattern

© John Rosenfeld- note coloration

© John Rosenfeld- note head length and pattern

© John Rosenfeld- female; note yellow face
Taxonomy
Family: CICADELLIDAESubfamily: DeltocephalinaeTribe: ScaphytopiiniSubgenus: Cloanthanus
Identification
Online Photographs: BugGuide                                                                                  
Description: A brownish leafhopper with a short but strongly produced, sharply pointed head; it is around 1.5 times as long as the width between the eyes. The wings, thorax, and head are brown, varying in darkness among individuals; the wings have scattered white areolar spots, and the veins are brown, become fucsous to black near the apex. The face is a characteristic yellow, contrasting with the rest of the body; it is angled at a roughly 45 degree angle (looks vertical). The pronotum tends to be darker than the crown, and the scutellum is yellow to orange with light markings; there are light white markings on top of the head, but nothing boldly patterned. The male subgenital plates are somewhat triangular. The female pregenital sternite has a rounded posterior margin with a small median notch. Adult males are 4.2-4.8 mm long, females are 4.8-5.3 mm. (DeLong 1948), (Hepner 1947)

Nymphs show a pointed head (characteristic of Scaphytopius) and a bicolored body, with brownish sides and a pale, whitish middle.

For diagrams of this species, see: Zahniser.

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: Transcontinental, common throughout North America
Abundance: Uncommon to locally common with scattered records across the state, likely more abundant in the right habitat.
Seasonal Occurrence
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Has been found in grassy, brushy areas near forest; also wet meadows.
Plant Associates: Various plants; Calamagrostis canadensis, grasses, sedges, bushes, sweet fern, willows, potato, etc. (Hepner 1947)
Behavior: Can be attracted at night with a light.
Comment: NOTE: A picture of the face is needed to separate this species from others in the genus. This species resembles S. cinereus but is larger(S. acutus: 4.5-5.2 mm, S. cinereus: 4.0-4.5 mm), orange-brown rather than yellowish in color, the scutellum in cinereus is yellowish while in acutus it is orange, there is not a large contrast between the color of the face and rest of the body in cinereus since they are both yellowish, and the markings on the wings in S. cinereus consist primarily of dots (S. acutus has dots but overall is appears uniformly colored since the base color is prominent). (Hepner 1947)

This species also resembles S. latus. In S. latus, the head is about two times as long as the width between the eyes; in S. acutus, the head is around 1.5 times as long as the width between the eyes. S. latus also tends to be slightly larger, has less distinct markings on the head, has shorter male plates, and the pregenital sternite of the female is longer. (Hepner 1947)

S. acutus is described as being one of the most variable species in the genus, with color ranging from very dark (almost black) to a light fulvous, and the crown can vary in length (Hepner 1947).

S. acutus is an important pest species for many plants, all important agricultural crops. It is "a vector of six viruses: alfalfa witches' broom in Washington and Utah, western X-disease virus of peach and cherry, eastern X-dizease virus of peach and cherry, little cherry virus in British Columbia, clover phyllody virus in eastern Canada, and the western straing of North American aster yellows virus in eastern Canada" (UK). For more information, see the cited link.

Status: Native
Global and State Rank:

Species Photo Gallery for Scaphytopius acutus Sharp-nosed Leafhopper

Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Hoke Co.
Comment: sweeping, grassy and herbaceous vegetation; females, 4.6 mm
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Hoke Co.
Comment: sweeping, grassy and herbaceous vegetation; females, 4.6 mm
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Hoke Co.
Comment: sweeping, grassy and herbaceous vegetation; females, 4.6 mm
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: Weedy/brushy woodland edge.
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: Weedy/brushy woodland edge.
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Yancey Co.
Comment: 5 mm male, forest edge with small lawn and meadow nearby
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Yancey Co.
Comment: 5 mm male, forest edge with small lawn and meadow nearby
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: 4.5mm, captured during sweep of vegetation surrounding wet retention area
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: 4.5mm, captured during sweep of vegetation surrounding wet retention area
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: 4.5mm, captured during sweep of vegetation surrounding wet retention area
Photo by: John Rosenfeld
Out Of State Co.
Comment: female
Photo by: John Rosenfeld
Out Of State Co.
Comment: female
Photo by: John Rosenfeld
Out Of State Co.
Comment: female
Photo by: John Rosenfeld
Out Of State Co.
Comment: female
Photo by: John Rosenfeld
Out Of State Co.
Comment: female
Photo by: John Rosenfeld
Out Of State Co.
Comment: female
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Wake Co.
Comment: grassy area; shows a yellow face (not visible really in this pic; likely this species, though there are other similar ones)
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Halifax Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood forest, near grass lawn
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Halifax Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood forest, near grass lawn