Genus Malaxa Melichar, 1914

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Family Delphacidae Leach, 1815

Subfamily Delphacinae Leach, 1815

Tribe Tropidocephalini Muir, 1915

Genus Malaxa Melichar, 1914: 275.

Type species (in original combination): Malaxa acutipennis Melichar, 1914.


Indomalaya, China, possibly SE Asia.

Distribution of Malaxa from FLOW

Distribution of Malaxa from FLOW (as of 5 Aug 2019).

Recognized species

There are 11 described species currently placed in this genus. Neotropical members have recently been moved to the genera Xamala and Lamaxa Bartlett & Kennedy, 2018.

New World

Malaxa gracilis Fennah, 1945: 430 –  See Lamaxa Bartlett & Kennedy, 2018
Malaxa microstyla Muir, 1930: 211 – See Xalama Bartlett & Kennedy, 2018
Malaxa occidentalis Muir, 1926: 7 – See Lamaxa Bartlett & Kennedy, 2018

Old World
Malaxa acutipennis Melichar, 1914: 275 – Philippine Islands (Luzon)
Malaxa bispinata Muir, 1926: 398 – Mentawei Islands (Indonesia), China (Hainan)
Malaxa delicata Ding and Yang, 1986: 418 (in Ding et al. 1986) – China (Zhejiang, Guizhou, Fujian, Yunnan, Taiwan)
Malaxa fusca Yang and Yang, 1986: 61 – Taiwan, China
Malaxa hamuliferum Li, Yang & Chen, 2019 – China (Yunnan)
Malaxa hunanensis Chen, 2006: 163 (in Chen et al. 2006) – China (Hunan)
Malaxa javanensis Muir, 1919: 524 – Indonesia (Java)
Malaxa nigra Muir, 1919: 524 – Philippine Islands (Luzon)
Malaxa obtusipennis Muir, 1919: 523 – Borneo
Malaxa semifusca Yang and Yang, 1986: 62 – Taiwan, China (Guizhou)
Malaxa tricuspis Li, Yang & Chen, 2019 – China (Hainan)

Malaxa bakeri Muir, 1919: 523 was transferred to  Bambusiphaga bakeri (Muir, 1919) by Qin et al. (2006: 149)

Plant associations

Malaxa are mostly bamboo feeders (Poaceae: Bambusoideae – including Fargesia, Bambusa, Indocalamus, Phyllostachys).
Malaxa bispinataBambusa (bamboo) (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)
Malaxa delicataPhyllostachys sp. (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)
Malaxa fuscaBambusa multiplex (Lour.) Raeusch. ex Schult. & Schult. f. (hedge bamboo) (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)
Malaxa hamuliferumBambusa sp. (Poales, Poaceae)
Malaxa hunanensisIndocalamus sp. (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)
Malaxa semifusca Fargesia sp.  (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)
Malaxa tricuspisBambusa sp. (Poales, Poaceae)

Names of plants from USDA PLANTS database,

Host data from Chen et al. (2006) and Hou et al. (2013).

Economic Importance

Limited, although may be described as ‘pests of bamboo’.


Hou et al. (2013) present a key to the species of Malaxa in China (as does Ding, 2006, and Yang & Yang 1986 for Taiwan).  Two new species from China recently described by Li et al. (2019).

Hou et al. 2013 describes the genus as follows:

“Malaxa Melichar, 1914: 275; Muir, 1926b: 7; Fennah, 1945: 429; Yang et Yang, 1986: 56; Ding, Huang and Zhou, 1999: 443; Chen et al., 2006: 160; Ding, 2006: 150.

The description of the distinctive characters used by Chen et al. (2006) is modified as follows: Body slender and elongate, length (from apex of vertex to tip of tegmina): male 3.7-4.8 mm, female 4.3–5.1 mm, often with blackish brown markings.

Head with eyes narrower than pronotum. Vertex longer or slightly shorter in middle than broad at base (0.95–1.24: 1), apex projected in front of eyes. Submedian carinae uniting before apex, greatest length of basal compartment shorter than wide at base of vertex (0.48–0.81: 1). Frons relatively long, longer in middle line than wide at widest part (about 2.73–3.00: 1), widest at middle or apex. Rostrum reaching mesothoracic trochanters. Antennae cylindrical, very long, surpassing apex of clypeus, basal segment longer in middle than wide at apex (3.67–5.22: 1), shorter than frons in middle line (0.49–0.74: 1), shorter than second segment (0.40–0.56: 1). Pronotum shorter than vertex in middle line (0.58–0.96: 1), lateral carinae attaining hind margin. Mesonotum longer in middle line than vertex and pronotum together (1.33–2.05: 1). Tegmina elongate, longer in middle line than wide at widest part (1.76–3.16: 1), much longer than abdomen, hyaline, cross vein deposited medially, apical margin acutely rounded. Spinal formula of hind tibia 5–6–4. Post-tibial spur large and thick, concave on inner surface, without teeth along the hind margin, with an apical tooth.

Anal segment of male short, ring-like, left lateroapical angle produced into process. Pygofer with two broad lamellate medioventral processes, between of them with a V-like emargination. Genital styles broad in basal half, forked or with process at apex. Aedeagus with or without phallobase, phallus tubular, curved C-like and directed segmental venter.

Plant associations

Bamboo (Poaceae: Bambusoideae including Fargesia, Bambusa, Indocalamus, Phyllostachys).”

Malaxa acutipennis (from Luzon, Mt. Makiling, Baker; USNM)

Malaxa acutipennis Malaxa acutipennis Malaxa acutipennis Malaxa acutipennis

Malaxa semifusca (paratype) from integrated insect types database of Taiwanese species

Malaxa semifusca

Malaxa (Delphacidae: Tropidocephalini)

Malaxa hamuliferum and M. tricuspis from Li H-X, Yang L, Chen X-S (2019)

Malaxa species from Li et al (2019).

Malaxa semifusca

Malaxa semifusca from Yang and Yang 1986

Malaxa delicata

Malaxa delicata

Malaxa delicatafrom Ding et al. 1986

Malaxa fusca

Malaxa fusca from Yang and Yang 1986

Malaxa bispinata

Malaxa bispinata from Hou et al. 2013

Malaxa javanensis (left) and M. bakeri from Muir 1919

Malaxa javanensis (left) and M. bakeri from Muir 1919

Photos of Malaxa from NCHU Museum of Entomology.

Malaxa aurunca

Malaxa aurunca from [link] integrated insect types database of Taiwanese species [see holotype]

Online resources

Discover Life
3I Interactive Keys and Taxonomic Databases (Dmitry Dmitriev)
Integrated insect types database of Taiwanese species.
MCHU Museum of Entomology.

Molecular resources

There is some data from Malaxa semifusca in Genbank; but there is nothing on BOLD (as of 18 Feb, 2020).

Selected references

Asche, M. 1985. Zur Phylogenie der Delphacidae Leach, 1815 (Homoptera: Cicadina: Fulgoromorpha). Marburger Entomologische Publikationen Marburger Entomologische Publikationen 2(1): 1-398 AND 2(2): 399-910.

Bartlett, C. R. 2010 (dated 2009). A new genus of new world Tropidocephalini (Hemiptera: Delphacidae: Delphacinae), with the description of two new species. Entomological News 120(4): 387-396.

Bartlett, C. R. and A. C. Kennedy. 2018. A review of New World Malaxa (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Delphacidae). Zootaxa 441(3): 511-528.

Chen, X. S. 2003. Key to genera of the tribe Tropidocephalini (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Delphacidae) from the People’s Republic of China, with description of a new genus. Canadian Entomologist 135(6): 811-821.

Chen, X.S. and A.P. Liang. 2007. Revision of the oriental genus Bambusiphaga Huang and Ding (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Delphacidae). Zoological Studies 46(4): 503-519. [opens to PDF]

Chen, X. S., Z. Z. Li, A. P. Liang and L. Yang. 2006. A review of the Bamboo delphacid genus Malaxa (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Delphacidea) from China. Annales Zoologici 56(1): 159-166.

Ding, J. H. 2006. Fauna Sinica Insecta Vol. 45 Homoptera Delphacidae. Science Press, Beijing, China.

Ding, J. H., L.-F. Yang and C. L. Hu. 1986. Descriptions of new genera and species of Delphacidae attacking bamboo From Yunnan Province China. Acta Entomologica Sinica 29(4): 415-425. [maybe here]

Ding, J. H., Zhuo, W. X. and B. K. Huang. 1999. Delphacidae of Fujian (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea), pp. 432464 In B-K Huang [ed.], Fauna of Insects in Fujian Province of China, vol. 2. Fujian Sci. Technol. Press, Fuzhou.

Fennah, R. G. 1945. The Fulgoroidea, or lanternflies, of Trinidad and adjacent parts of South America. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 95(3184): 411-520.

Hou, X. H., L. Yang, and X. S. Chen. 2013. A checklist of the genus Malaxa (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Delphacidae) with descriptions and illustrations of Malaxa bispinata newly recorded in China and the fifth instar of Malaxa delicata. Florida Entomologist 96(3): 864-870.

Leach, W. E. 1815a. Entomology. The Edinburg encyclopedia; conducted by David Brewster 9: 57-172. (family Delphacidae p. 125).

Li, Hong-Xing, Lin Yang and Xiang-Sheng Chen. 2019. Taxonomic study of the genus Malaxa Melichar, with descriptions of two new species from China (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea, Delphacidae). ZooKeys 861: 43-52.

Melichar, L. 1914a. Neue Fulgoriden von den Philippinen: I. Theil. Philippine Journal of Science 9: 269-283.

Metcalf, Z. P. 1943. General Catalogue of the Hemiptera. Fascicle IV, Fulgoroidea, Part 3, Araeopidae (Delphacidae). Smith College, Northhampton, Massachusetts. 552 pp.

Muir, F.A.G. 1915b-e. A contribution towards the taxonomy of the Delphacidae. Canadian Entomologist 47: 208-212, 261-270, 296-302, 317-320.

Muir, F.A.G. 1916b. Additions to the known Philippine Delphacidae (Hemiptera). Philippine Journal of Science (part D) 11: 369-385.

Muir, F.A.G. 1919e. Some Malayan Delphacidae (Homoptera).  Philippine Journal of Science 15: 521-531.

Muir, F.A.G. 1926b. Contributions to our knowledge of South American Fulgoroidea (Homoptera). Part I. The Family Delphacidae. Experiment Station of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association, Entomological Series, Bulletin 18:1-51, plates 1-5.

Muir, F.A.G. 1926h. Spolia Mentawiensia: Fulgoridae, Homoptera. Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 4: 392-412.

Muir, F.A.G. 1930f. On some South American Delphacidae (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea). Entomologisk Tidskrift 51(3-4): 207-215.

Qin Dao-Zheng, Zhang Ya-Lin & Ding Jin-Hua 2006. A taxonomic study of the genus Bambusiphaga (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea, Delphacidae). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica 31(1): 148-151.

Yang, J. T. and C. T. Yang. 1986. Delphacidae of Taiwan (1) Asiracinae and the tribe Tropidocephalini (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Taiwan Museum Special Publication Series 6: 1-79.

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