Classification of Achilixiidae

The Achilixiidae is a small family of 2 genera (Achilixius in the Old World tropics, Bebaiotes in the New World tropics) and 24 species.  The family-level status of the group has been controversial.  It was first proposed as a family by Muir (1923).  Subsequently, Achilixiidae was subsumed under the Achilidae by Emeljanov (1991: 377), then under the Cixiidae by Liang (2001: 225).  However, Urban & Cryan (2007) found them to be sister to Achilidae (which doesn’t settle the issue but suggests that Achilixiidae are not cixiids and that family-level treatment is warranted until there is further investigation).

The family has been reviewed by Fennah (1946) and Wilson (1989), and cataloged by Metcalf (1945).  As noted by Metcalf (1945), most species of Achilixiidae are small or medium sized, superficially resembling certain Cixiidae (especially the Bennarellini and Bennini) or Derbidae (such as some Cenchreini) that have steeply tectiform tegmina.  Structurally share characters with the Achilidae (to which they appear to be phylogenetically most closely related), but they are greatly compressed, not depressed as are  the Achilidae.  The tegmina of the Achilixiidae are steeply tectiform and fairly transparent.  The head is compressed, greatly in Bebaiotes , the frons being represented by the contiguous, elevated lateral carinae only. Antennae simple, lateral ocelli distinct, pro- and mesonotum moderate. Tegulae large. Tegmina usually broad; venation suggestive of the tribe Cenchreini. Basal segments of the abdomen with one or two pairs of lateral processes (Metcalf 1945).

The classification of the Achilixiidae is based on Emeljanov (1992), except treated as a family instead of as 2 subfamilies of Achilidae. The classification here reflects Emeljanov’s (1991) treatment of the two genera as subfamilies, but does not recognize his placement of Achilixiidae within the Achilidae.

Exerpt of phylogenetic tree from Urban and Cryan (2007)

Exerpt of phylogenetic tree from Urban and Cryan (2007)



The reported distribution of Achilixius includes Indonesia (Sulawesi) Malaysia (Sabah) Philippines (Luzon, Mindanao).

Bebaiotes  is reported from Ecuador, Guyana, and Panama, but I know it occurs in Peru and Bolivia.

Distribution of Achilixiidae from FLOW (8 Jan. 2018)

Distribution of Achilixiidae from FLOW (8 Jan. 2018)


Bebaiotes sp. from Bolivia

Bebaiotes sp. from Bolivia

Bebaiotes sp. from Bolivia

Bebaiotes sp. from Bolivia

Bebaiotes sp. from Bolivia

Bebaiotes sp. from Bolivia

Bebaiotes sp. from Bolivia.

Bebaiotes sp. from Peru.

Bebaiotes sp. from Peru.

Bebaiotes sp. from Peru.

Bebaiotes sp. from Peru.

Bebaiotes sp. from Peru.

Bebaiotes sp. from Peru.


Biology and recognition

Wilson (1989: 487):

“The family is characterized by the possession of one or two pairs of processes arising laterally from the abdomen (Figs 4-6 [see below]), but rather similar processes are present in some Cixiidae [viz. Bennarellini and Bennini] and the relationship of Achilixiidae to other families is unclear. All species are known only from tropical lowland and medium altitude rain forest where the adults probably feed on plant tissue. The nymphs may feed on roots or on rotten vegetation or fungus.”

Adults of Bebaiotes were found in the canopy fogging studies of Terry Erwin (see Barringer 2011).


Figures 1-6 from Wilson, M. R. (1989) The planthopper family Achilixiidae (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea): a synopsis with a revision of the genus Achilixius

The abdominal processes from the specimen from Bolivia above.

Achilixius prob. tubulifer

Achilixius prob. tubulifer from Emeljanov 1991 (English 1992).



Family Achilixiidae Muir 1923

 Subfamily Achilixiinae Muir 1923 (sensu Emeljanov 1992)

Tribe Achilixiini Muir 1923

Achilixius Muir, 1923  (Type species Achilixius singularis Muir, 1923, 16 species, Indomalayan)

Subfamily Bebaiotinae Emeljanov, 1991

Tribe Bebaiotini Emeljanov, 1991

Bebaiotes Muir, 1924 (Type species Bebaiotes bucayensis Muir, 1924 , 9 species Neotropical) (= Muirilixius Metcalf, 1938, type species Muirilixius banksi Metcalf, 1938)


Achilixiidae, Bebaiotes from Tipituni, Ecuador (Photo 13 April 2006 by Kelly Swing).

Achilixiidae, Bebaiotes

Achilixiidae, Bebaiotes from Tipituni, Ecuador (Photo 22 Nov. 2011 by Kelly Swing).


References for Achilixiidae

Barringer, L. E. 2011. Canopy assemblages and species richness of planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Master Thesis, University of Delaware, Newark.

Emeljanov, A. F. 1991. To the problem of the limits and subdivisions of the family Achilidae (Homoptera, Cicadina). Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie 70(2): 373-393. (In Russian, translated Entomological Review 1992 71(1): 53-73).

Fennah, R. G. 1946. A synopsis of the Achilixiidae of the New World (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 11 13: 183-191.

Liang, A. P. 1999. Do Achilixiidae belong to the Cixiidae? – evidence from antennal sensilla (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Fulgoroidea). In: Abstracts of Talks and Posters of the 10th International Auchenorrhyncha Meeting, Cardiff, Wales, 6-10 September, 1999. Unpaginated.

Liang, A. P. 2001. Morphology of antennal sensillae in Achilixius sandakanensis Muir (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Achilixiidae) with comments on the phylogenetic position of the Achilixiidae. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 49(2): 221-225.

Metcalf, Z. P. 1938. The Fulgorina of Barro Colorado and other parts of Panama. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College. Cambridge, Mass 82: 277-423 [333].

Metcalf, Z.P. 1945. General Catalogue of the Hemiptera. Fascicle IV, Fulgoroidea. Part 5 Achilixiidae. Smith College, Northhampton, Massachusetts. Pp. 213-217.

Muir, F. A. G. 1923. Achilixius, a new genus, constituting a new family of the Fulgoroidea (Homoptera). Philippine Journal of Science 22: 483-487.

Muir, F. A. G. 1924. A new genus of the family Achilixiidae (Homoptera). The Canadian Entomologist 56: 33-34 [33].

Urban, J. M. and J. R. Cryan. 2007. Evolution of the planthoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42: 556-572.

Wilson, M. R. 1989. The planthopper family Achilixiidae (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea): a synopsis with a revision of the genus Achilixius. Systematic Entomology 14(4): 487-506 [495].

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