Tribe Saccharosydnini Vilbaste, 1968

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Family Delphacidae Leach, 1815

Subfamily Delphacinae Leach, 1815

Tribe Saccharosydnini Vilbaste, 1968

Distribution: Tropical and subtropical New World, plus 1 species in Japan and east Asia.

Distribution of Saccharosydnini from FLOW (as of 17 July 2017)

Tribe recently reviewed by Rossi-Batiz 2014.

Included taxa

 Lacertinella australis  Lacertinella australis

Lacertinella Remes Lenicov & Rossi Batiz, 2012
= Lacertina Remes Lenicov & Rossi Batiz, 2011 (unavailable)
Lacertinella australis Remes Lenicov & Rossi Batiz, 2011 – Argentina

Neomalaxa flava Neomalaxa flava

Neomalaxa Muir, 1918
Neomalaxa flava Muir, 1918 – Brazil, Dominica, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Venezuela

Pseudomacrocorupha wagneri  Pseudomacrocorupha wagneri

Pseudomacrocorupha Muir, 1930
Pseudomacrocorupha wagneri Muir, 1930 – Paraguay; Argentina; Uruguay

Saccharosydne saccharivora Saccharosydne saccharivora

Saccharosydne Kirkaldy, 1907
Saccharosydne brevirostris Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Saccharosydne gracillis Muir, 1926 – Brazil
Saccharosydne ornatipennis Muir, 1926 – Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, St. Lucia,
Saccharosydne rostrifrons (Crawford, 1914) – Caribbean, Cuba, St. Lucia
= Stenocranus rostifrons Crawford, 1914.
= Saccharosydne rostifrons (Crawford, 1914); new comb. by Muir and Giffard, 1924: 9.
Saccharosydne saccharivora (Westwood, 1833) – USA: FL, GA, HI, MD, NC, ?WI; Bahamas (Great Abaco, Long, Mangrove Cay, New Providence); Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Venezuela.
= Delphax saccharivora Westwood, 1833.
= Stenocranus saccharivora (Westwood, 1833); new comb. by Kirkaldy, 1906: 279, 409.
= Saccharosydne saccharivora (Westwood, 1833); new comb. by Kirkaldy, 1907: 139
= Megamelanus rufivittatus Ball, 1905; syn. by Kennedy et al. 2012
Saccharosydne subandina Remes Lenicov and Rossi Batiz, 2010 – Argentina
Saccharosydne viridis Muir, 1926 – Guyana (as British Guiana)

Economic importance

Interestingly, the first species described in this group was described (as Delphax saccharivora – the specific name literally ‘sugar-eater’) as a sugarcane pest in Grenada in 1833 (sugarcane is not native to the New World). It was over 100 years later that it was determined that the native hosts were Andropogon grasses by Metcalfe (1969).  Species in this tribe are the only known delphacid vectors of phytoplasmas.

Rossi Batiz 2014 p. 17-18 (translated from Spanish)

“As regards the Saccharosydnini tribe, there are few contributions covering biological aspects of the taxa included, except for some contributions describing the stages of development and habits of the species Saccharosydne procerus Matsumura 1931, rice pest in Japan (Matsumura, 1931) and China (Ding et al., 1982; Yu, 2001), and Saccharosydne saccharivora (Westwood 1833), recognized by the severity of the damages caused to the sugar cane during the feeding, oviposition, and by carulizing the phytoplasma that caused the “Yellow Cane Leaf Syndrome” in Tropical America (Westwood, 1833; Guagliumi, 1953, Metcalfe, 1969 and 1972, Arocha et al., 2005).”


The Saccharosydnini are unusual delphacids in that they are fragile-appearing, usually thin-bodied and generally have a green-theme (fading to yellow in preserved specimens).  In contrast to the remaining Delphacinae, they have the apical spines on the tibiae of the hind legs bearing 7 spines (grouped into 2 inner and 5 outer), as opposed to 5 spines (2+3) in other Delphacinae.

The Saccharosydnini also have a complex, specialized, long and elastic aedeagus, which bends in anteriorly, remaining at rest in a large membranous sac (composed of the diaphragm) inside of the abdomen (Asche, 1985, Rossi Batiz, 2014).

Recently, the tribe was revised by Rossi-Batiz (2014).  This work is a doctoral thesis, and the component parts do not yet appear to be independently published (it is unclear to me whether the nomenclatural acts are to be considered published in the nomenclatural sense, but I intend to acknowledge changes recommended there, but that is not yet complete).

Key to genera (translated and revised from Rossi-Batiz (2014).

1 Frons with two submedian carinae – Lacertinella (=Lacertina)
1- Frons with a single median carina – 2

2 Front wings with cell Cu present and Sc absent – Pseudomacrocorupha
2- Front wings with Cu and Sc cells present – 3

3 Long antennae, exceeding half of the clypeus; vertex submedian carina delimiting a quadrangular subapical areola – Neomalaxa
3- Short antennae, not exceeding the base of the clypeus; vertex submedian carina forming a subtriangular areola at apex – Saccharosydne


Saccharosydne saccharivora (Westwood, 1833).

Leg of Neomalaxa flava from Asche (1985).

Also in Saccharosydini, the aedeagus is very elongate and “…in repose curved in membranous bag of diaphragm reaching far cephalad into the abdomen” (Asche 1990: 157).  This feature is not nearly as evident in some taxa as it is in Saccharosydne procerus (below), but the aedeagus is clearly thin, flexible, and extending further forward into the body cavity then other Delphacinae.

From Asche (1985)

New World species (All species of this tribe are New World, except Saccharosydne procerus Matsumura, 1931, from Japan, China, Korea, nearby Russia and Taiwan)

Selected References

Arocha, Y., M. Lopez, M. Fernandez, B. Piñol, D. Horta, E. L. Peralta, R. Almeida, O. Carvajal, S. Picornell, M. R. Wilson and P. Jones. 2005. Transmission of a sugarcane yellow leaf phytoplasma by the delphacid planthopper Saccharosydne saccharivora, a new vector of sugarcane yellow leaf syndrome. Plant Pathology54: 634–642.

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

Asche, M. 1990. Vizcayinae, a new subfamily of Delphacidae with revision of Vizcaya Muir (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea) – a significant phylogenetic link. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 30: 154-187.

Bartlett, C. R., L. B. O’Brien and S. W. Wilson. 2014. A review of the planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) of the United States. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 50: 1-287.

Ding, J., L. Yang, C. Hu y J. Sheng. 1982. A preliminary observation on the green plant-hopper Saccharosydne procerus (Matsumura). Journal of Nanjing Agricultural College, No 2: 45-51.

Guagliumi, P. 1953. El saltahoja de la caña de azúcar Saccharosydne saccharivora Westw. y la fumagina en Venezuela. Ministerio de Agricultura y Cría. Instituto Nacional de Agricultura. Venezuela. Boletín Técnico No.7, 82 pp.

Kennedy, A. C., C. R. Bartlett and S. W. Wilson. 2012. An annotated checklist of the delphacid planthoppers (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) of Florida with the description of three new species and the new genus, Meristopsis. Florida Entomologist 95(2): 395-421.

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

Matsumura, M. 1931. 6000 Illustrated Insects of Japan Empire. 1273 pp.

Metcalfe, J. R. 1969. Studies on the biology of the sugar cane pest Saccharosydne saccharivora (Westw.) (Hom.: Delphacidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 59: 393-408.

Rossi-Batiz, M. F. 2014. Taxonomía, Distribución y Biología de la tribu Saccharosydnini (Insecta-Hemiptera-Fulgoromorpha). Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Doctoral Thesis. 184 pp.

Rossi Batiz, M. F. and A.M.M. de Remes-Lenicov. 2011. A new genus and species of Saccharosydnini (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Delphacidae) from Argentina. Zootaxa 3118: 62-68.

Rossi Batiz, M. F. and A.M.M. de Remes Lenicov. 2014. Description of the immature stages of Lacertinella australis (Hemiptera: Delphacidae). Journal of Insect Science 14 (113). ISSN: 1536-2442.

Rossi Batiz, M. F. and A.M.M. de Remes Lenicov. 2012. Lacertinella, a replacement name for Lacertina Remes Lenicov and Rossi Batiz, 2011 (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Delphacidae). Revista de la Sociedad Entomológica Argentina 71(3): 307.

Vilbaste, J. 1968. K faune tsikadovykh Primorskogo kraia. [Über die Zikadenfauna des Primorje Gebietes.] Valgus, Tallin, Estonia.

Westwood, J. O. 1833. Additional observations upon the insect which infests the sugar canes in Grenada. The Magazine of Natural History and Journal of Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology, and Meteorology 6: 413.

Yu, X-P. 2001. Role of Saccharosydne procerus on Zizania caduciflora as an alternative host for Anagrus nilaparvatae, the egg parasitoid of Nilaparvata lugens, which attacks temperate rice. Proceedings of the Impact Symposium on Exploiting Biodiversity for Sustainable Pest Management. International Rice Research Institute. Los Baños, Philippines. Kunming, China. ISBN 971-22-0156-2.

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