Hoppers of North Carolina:
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CICADELLIDAE Members: NC Records

Xestocephalus n-species - Undescribed Xestocephalus Species



© Kyle Kittelberger- male

© Kyle Kittelberger- female

© Kyle Kittelberger- note head coloration

© Kyle Kittelberger- dark female
Taxonomy
Family: CICADELLIDAESubfamily: AphrodinaeSynonym: Xestocephalus fulvocapitatus
Identification
Online Photographs: BugGuide                                                                                  
Description: This species is large for the genus, being around 4.0 mm long. It ranges in color from an orange-brown to dark brown, with darker brown to black cells on the wings contrasting with white and clear ones. The pronotum tends to have scattered pale speckling, while the head tends to be a largely uniform color with no defined markings. The frons is pale brown and unmarked. Females are blackish ventrally on the thorax and abdomen.
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Distribution: Found in the eastern United States
Abundance: Recorded from a handful of counties in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. Possibly more abundant in the right habitat, especially in coastal counties.
Seasonal Occurrence
Jan
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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Has been found in mixed to open forest habitat.
Plant Associates:
Behavior: Can be attracted at night with a black light
Comment: An "ant guest", it lives as an immature in the tunnels of ant nests where it feeds on the roots of plants. Adults fly around a lot, looking for other ant nests (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

Specimens and images on this page represent an apparent undescribed species that looks similar to X. superbus, but has a differently marked and colored frons, head and pronotum. The head lacks the characteristic pale bracket-shaped marks on the head, instead having a slightly speckled pronotum and brownish head. This species easily stounds out from superbus due to its large size, being around 1 mm or more longer than most superbus individuals, which tend to be less than 3 mm long. Recent DNA barcoding revealed specimens of this 'species' cluster separately from everything else. For more images of this potential new species, see: BG.

Status: Native
Global and State Rank:

Species Photo Gallery for Xestocephalus n-species Undescribed Xestocephalus Species

Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood, open forest near lake edge
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: Caught Sweeping
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood, open forest near lake edge
Photo by: Randy Emmitt
Orange Co.
Comment: uv light - unid_leafhopper
Photo by: Randy Emmitt
Orange Co.
Comment: uv light - unid_leafhopper
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf
Gates Co.
Comment: open, grassy area near mixed hardwood forest
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf
Gates Co.
Comment: open, grassy area near mixed hardwood forest
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf
Gates Co.
Comment: open, grassy area near mixed hardwood forest
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: Open area near woods. Attracted to black light.
Photo by: R Emmitt
Orange Co.
Comment: very stubby and tiny maybe 3 mm - unid_leafhopper
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Wake Co.
Comment: female; 3.9 mm
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Wake Co.
Comment: female; 3.9 mm
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Wake Co.
Comment: female
Photo by: Amanda Auxier
Pender Co.
Comment: Attracted to white CFL porch light in semi-wooded residential area. - unid_leafhopper
Photo by: Randy Emmitt
Orange Co.
Comment: very tiny and fast moving. - unid_leafhopper
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Warren Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Warren Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger
Warren Co.
Comment: female