Genus Metadelphax Wagner, 1963

[Back to Higher classification of Delphacidae]

Family Delphacidae Leach, 1815

Subfamily Delphacinae Leach, 1815

Tribe Delphacini Leach, 1815

Genus Metadelphax Wagner, 1963: 176.

Generic synonymy

= Metadelphax Wagner, 1963: 176; syn. with Toya by implication Fennah 1964: 142 (Type species moved to Toya); Nast 1972: 65, Linnavuori 1973: 107 (generic synonymy listed) (Metadelhax used as valid in Mitjaev 1971). Name restored by Ding 2006: 511; see also Gonzon & Bartlett 2008.
= Meadelphax Wagner, 1963: Missp. by Kuoh et al. 1983: 155.

Type species (in original combination): Delphax propinqua Fieber, 1866.


New World, except M. propinqua is Pantropical

Distribution of Metadelphax

Distribution of Metadelphax from FLOW (as of 15 Aug. 2017)

Recognized species

Five currently recognized species worldwide as follows:

Metadelphax argentinensis (Muir, 1929: 82)  – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela.
= Delphacodes argentinensis Muir, 1929: 82.
= Syndelphax argentinensis (Muir, 1929); comb. by Fennah, 1971: 323.
= Delphacodes variabilis De Remes, Lenikov & Teson, 1978; syn. by Teson & Remes Lenicov 1983: 322.
= Toya argentinensis (Muir, 1929); comb. by Teson & Remes Lenicov 1989: 101-102
= Metadelphax argentinensis (Muir, 1929); comb. by Gonzon & Bartlett 2008: 234-237.

Metadelphax dentata Gonzon and Bartlett, 2008 – Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela.

Metadelphax pero (Fennah 1971: 321) – Cayman Islands, Cuba
= Syndelphax pero Fennah, 1971: 321.
= Metadelphax pero (Fennah, 1971); comb. by Gonzon and Bartlett, 2008.

Metadelphax propinqua (Fieber, 1866: 525) – Cosmopolitan (found everywhere), especially in tropics and warm temperate regions; from Argentina to Canada, South Africa to Europe, and central Asia.
= Delphax propinqua Fieber, 1866b: 525.
= Delphax hamulata Kirschbaum, 1868: 38; syn. by Fieber 1872: 5.
= Liburnia propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); comb. by Fieber 1872: 5.
= Delphacodes propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); comb. by Muir 1917: 335.
= Liburnia terminalis Van Duzee, 1907: 49; syn. by Muir & Giffard 1924: 31.
= Liburnia tuckeri Van Duzee, 1912a: 506; syn. by Muir & Giffard 1924: 31.
= Delphacodes neopropinqua Muir, 1917: 335; syn. by Muir & Giffard 1924: 31.
= Delphacodes subfusca Muir, 1919b: 38; syn. by Muir & Giffard 1924: 31.
= Liburnia albicollis Haupt, 1935 (nec Motschulsky 1863): 144; syn. by Metcalf 1943: 498; see also Wagner 1954: 217-8 (syn. with Liburnia albicollis Motschulsky 1863, e.g., Lindberg 1936: 18; China 1938a: 54, Linnavuori 1952: 191, in error).
= Calligypona propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); comb. by Dlabola 1954: 14, 64 (comb. by implication in China 1954: 165).
= Delphacodes shirozui Ishihara, 1949: 53-54; syn. by Fennah 1956b: 122.
= Metadelphax propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); comb. by Wagner 1963: 170.
= Toya propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); comb. by Fennah 1964: 142 (from Delphacodes); see also Fennah 1965: 56 (syn. of Metadelphax by implication).
= Calligypona (Metadelphax) propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); comb. by Linnavuori 1964: 341-342.
= Delphacodes proquiqua (Fieber, 1866b); missp. by Wray 1967.
= M[etadelphax] propingua (Fieber, 1866b); missp. by Mitjaev 1971: 66.
= Toya (Calligypona) propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); comb. by Linnavuori 1973: 107.
= Delphax cataniae Matsumura, 1910: 35; syn. by Nast 1975: 4.
= Toya propinqua neopropinqua (Muir, 1917); status by Kuoh et al. 1983: 155.
= Liburnia marshalli Scott, 1873: 104; syn. by Webb & Wilson 1986: 286.
= Delphax graminicola Matsamura, 1910: 17; syn. by Yang 1989: 4.
= Toya porpinqua (Fieber, 1866b); missp. by Yang 1989: 219.
= Toya propincua (Fieber, 1866b); missp. by Rodriguez-León et al. 1994: 19.
= Metadelphax propinqua (Fieber, 1866b); restored comb. by Ding 2006: 511, 513-514; Gonzon & Bartlett, 2008: 242-246.

Metadelphax wetmorei (Muir and Giffard, 1924: 30) – USA: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina.
= Megamelus terminalis Crawford, 1914: 623 [nec Van Duzee 1907].
= Delphacodes wetmorei Muir & Giffard, 1924: 30 (Replacement name for unavailable Megamelus terminalis Crawford, 1914).
= Metadelphax wetmorei (Muir & Giffard, 1924); comb. by Gonzon & Bartlett 2008: 246-248.

Plant associations

Metadelphax propinqua is reported on about 15 grass species, including sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.), maize (Zea mays L.), and rice (Oryza sativa L).  Metadelphax propinqua reaches high population levels on Bermuda grass. Rizwan et al. (2020) reported this species in Pakistan in the highest numbers on  Leptochloa chinensis L., but also on Cynodon dactylon L., Helianthus allus L., Medicago polymorpha L., Trifolium alexandrinum L., Sorghum bicolor L., and Zea mays L.

Metadelphax argentinensis is reported from Oats (Avena sativa L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench), rye (Secale cereale L.), beet (Beta vulgaris var. cicla (L.) Koch, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.), pepper (Capiscum L.), and maize (Zea mays L.).

See Wilson et al. 1994; also see FLOW for hosts I may have missed.


All for Metadelphax propinqua

Anagrus flaveolus Waterhouse, 1913 (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Mymaridae)(Virla & Rafael 1996: 34).
Elenchus tenuicornis (Kirby, 1815) (Insecta, Strepsiptera, Elenchidae);  Remes Lenicov & Teson 1990, Virla & Rafael 1996: 34)
Pseudogonatopus chilensis Olmi, 1989 (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Dryinidae); Virla (1995): 124

The other three species have no reported hosts.

Economic importance

Metadelphax propinqua is known to transmit Cynodon chlorotic streak nucleorhabdovirus (CCSV) in corn and bermudagrass, Maize rough dwarf virus (also here) (MRDV), Barley yellow striate mosaic cytorhabdovirus (also here) (BYSMV).

Metadelphax argentinensis has been taken on corn and other crops in Argentina, but its economic impact is unclear.


Metadelphax is very similar to Toya in most respects.  They are both medium-sized and usually straw-colored.  Most species have darker markings alongside the carinae of the face.  The genera and species are best separated by features of the male genitalia.  Females (without males) usually can not be identified to species.

Metadelphax argentinensis

Metadelphax argentinensis

Metadelphax argentinensis

Metadelphax argentinensis is a relatively common species of temperate South America.  Additional images from Gonzon and Bartlett (2008) are here:

Metadelphax dentata

Metadelphax dentata

Metadelphax dentata

Metadelphax dentata is a recently described South and Central American species that had been confused with M. wetmorei.   Additional images from Gonzon and Bartlett (2008) are here:

Metadelphax pero (these photos are of the holotype)

Metadelphax pero

Metadelphax pero

This is a rarely encountered species.  Other than the type specimen from the Caymen islands, it has been reported from Cuba.  Additional images of the type specimen are here.

Metadelphax propinqua – a very common species

Metadelphax propinqua

Metadelphax propinqua

Metadelphax wetmorei

Metadelphax wetmorei

Metadelphax wetmorei

Metadelphax wetmorei is an uncommon species of the southeastern United States (possibly Mexico).  Additional images from Gonzon and Bartlett (2008) are here.

Online resources

American Insects
Discover Life

Web Images

Flickr (search = Metadelphax)

Molecular resources

Molecular resources for Metadelphax are limited. BOLD lists data for M. propinqua.  A Genbank search in the taxonomy browser provides several gene sequences for M. propinqua.

Select references

(still incomplete)

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