Tribe Tropidocephalini Muir, 1915

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Family Delphacidae Leach, 1815

Subfamily Delphacinae Leach, 1815

Tribe Tropidocephalini Muir, 1915

The Tropidocephalini are mostly Old World bamboo feeders.  In the New World, there are a few described species and a large number of undescribed species.  Many of the described New World fauna have not been reported in the literature since they were described.  In the Old World, particularly China, there has been considerable interest in the taxonomy of this group (as well as some interest in their control).

Tropidocephalini can be recognized by the lack of teeth on the calcar (although a terminal tooth is often present). The calcar is described as being solid and triangular in cross-section (Delphacini have a tectiform calcar usually having teeth along the hind margin, but sometimes absent [or obscure] – as in Liburniella, Bakerella, Phyllodinus).  Also, unlike the Delphacini, a distinct suspensorium is absent – the aedeagus is closely associated (in “close functional contact” Asche 1990: 157) with segment 10. The aedeagus generally has a slender process arising from its base (rarely present in Delphacini, although Abbrosoga has something similar).  The base of the aedeagus is usually asymmetrical – and frequently the whole genitalia are asymmetrical. Some features ascribed to the tribe based on examination of the numerous Old World taxa do not hold strictly true for New World species.

A key to genus for New World Tropidocephalini was provided by Bartlett (2009).  Recent keys to genus for the Chinese fauna (which includes most Old World genera) are found in Chen (2003), Ding (2006), and Qin and Zhang (2010), and Donaldson (1991) for the Australian fauna.

Calcar of Procidelphax.

New World species

Provisional key to genera of New World Tropidocephalini (from Bartlett, 2009, Bartlett & Kennedy 2018).

Key to Genera of New World Tropidocephalini (revised from Bartlett and Kennedy 2018).
1. Body strongly dorsoventrally flattened; frons rather square, median carinae of frons forked ventrally near lower margin of eyes …  Procidelphax Bartlett
– Body not flattened, frons rectangular, median carinae not forked, except dorsally near fastigium in some species … 2

2. Vertex much (ca. 1.5x) longer than broad, rounded anteriorly in dorsal view; median carina of vertex unbranched … Macrocorupha Muir
– Vertex shorter, more truncate anteriorly; median carina of vertex variable … 3

3. Antennae very long, exceeding posterior margin of mesothorax; both segments long (much longer than wide) with segment I nearly ½ length segment II … Lamaxa Bartlett & Kennedy.
– Antennae not as long, not exceeding mesothorax; generally segment I somewhat longer than wide and 1/3 or less length of II … 4

4. Lateral carinae of pronotum reaching hind margin; the Y-carina of vertex not distinct, sometimes forming a rounded areolet at apex of the median carina; anal tube with or without processes (a heterogeneous taxon, often strongly marked on body and wings) Columbisoga Muir
– Lateral carinae of pronotum not attaining hind margin; the Y-carinae of vertex distinct, rounded areolet not present; anal tube without processes … 5

5. Wings clear and unmarked (except fuscous at wing base in C. caresi); head and body uniformly colored; ventral margin of pygofer with broad forked process (also with a pair of lateral projections in the type species C. lloydi); aedeagus caudally directed or somewhat twisted, not strongly curved ventrad … Columbiana Muir
– Wings clear, strongly marked with fuscous; body dark, marked with pale (especially on head); ventral margin of pygofer with broad scoop-like projection (not apically forked) and a pair of lateral teeth; aedeagus strongly downcurved … Xalama Bartlett & Kennedy


Figure 1. A. Columbiana, B. Columbisoga, C. Macrocorupha, D. Lamaxa.

Columbiana Muir, 1919
Columbiana carasi Fennah, 1963 – Peru
Columbiana lloydi Muir, 1919 – Columbia

Columbiana sp. (Colombia) Columbiana sp. (Colombia)

Columbisoga Muir, 1921
subgenus Columbisoga Muir, 1921
Columbisoga chusqueae Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga filistylus Muir, 1930 – Bolivia
Columbisoga gynerii Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga gyneriicola Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga maculosa Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga merae Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga ornata Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga sacchari Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga saracura Fennah, 1963 – Brazil
Columbisoga tenae Muir, 1926 – Ecuador
Columbisoga zapote Muir, 1926 – Ecuador

subgenus Columbisodes Fennah, 1963
Columbisoga tylotus Fennah, 1964 – Brazil

Columbisoga filistylus

Macrocorupha Muir, 1926
Macrocorupha gynerii Muir, 1926 – Ecuador

Macrocorupha gynerii Macrocorupha gynerii

Lamaxa Bartlett & Kennedy 2018 (recently removed from Malaxa Melichar, 1914)
Lalaxa gracilis (Fennah, 1945) – Venezuela
Lalaxa occidentalis (Muir, 1926) – Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica; tentatively also Peru

Malaxa occidentalis

Procidelphax Bartlett, 2010
Procidelphax dejecta Bartlett, 2010 – Bolivia
Procidelphax depressa Bartlett, 2010 – Peru

Procidelphax dejectaProcidelphax dejecta

Procidelphax dejecta

Xalama Bartlett & Kennedy, 2018 (recently removed from Malaxa Melichar, 1914)
Xalama microstyla (Muir, 1930) – Bolivia, Peru

Xalama microstyla from Peru (from Bartlett & Kennedy 2018)

Some Old World genera

Arcofaciella sp (Malaysia)

Arcofaciella sp.


Arcofacies fullawayi (Philippines)

Arcofacies fullawayi


Purohita cervina (Luzon, Philippines)

Purohita cervina

Tropidocephala festiva (Philippines)

Tropidocephala festiva

Selected References on Tropidocephalini

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.

Asche, M. 2013. The South-East Asian planthopper genus Lanaphora, with description of a new species (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Delphacidae: Tropidocephalini). Acta Musei Moraviae, Scientiae Biologicae 98(2): 163-174.

Bartlett, C. R. 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.

Bartlett, C. R. and G. Kunz. 2015. A new genus and species of delphacid planthopper (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Delphacidae) from Central America with a preliminary regional species list. Zootaxa 3946(4):510-518. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.3946.4.2. [erratum subsequently published Zootaxa 3963 (4): 598–600;] (unspecified Tropidocephalini recorded from Mesoamerica)

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 J. H. Tsai. 2009. Two new genera of Tropidocephalini (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Delphacidae) from Hainan Province, China. Florida Entomologist 92(2): 261-268.

Chen, X. S. and Z. Z. Li. 2000. A new genus and species of Tropidocephalini (Homoptera: Delphacidae). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica 25(4): 406-409.

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

Ding, J. H. 1982. Two new species of the tribe Tropidocephalini (Homoptera: Delphacidae). Journal of Nanjing Agricultural College 4: 42-45.

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

Ding, J. H. and L. Yang. 1987. A new genus of Tropidocephalini (Homoptera: Delphacidae). Entomotaxonomia 9(1): 33-34.

Donaldson, J. F. 1991. Revision of the Australian Tropidocephalini (Hemiptera: Delphacidae: Delphacinae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 30(4): 325-332.

Fennah, R. G. 1945. New lanternflies (Fulgoroidea) From South America. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 96(3189): 95-106. (Tribe on P. 429)

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: 864-870.

Hu, C. L. and J. H. Ding. 2014. A new species of Neobelocera Ding & Yang (Hemiptera: Delphacidae: Delphacinae: Tropidocephalini) from China, with a key to species of the genus. Zootaxa 3784: 196-199.

Hu, C. L. and J. H. Ding. 2014. Erratatum. A new species of Neobelocera Ding & Yang (Hemiptera: Delphacidae: Delphacinae: Tropidocephalini) from China, with a key to species of the genus (vol 3784, pg 196, 2014). Zootaxa 3790(3): 500-500.

Huang, Y. X., L. F. Zhang, C. R. Bartlett and D. Z. Qin. 2017. Resolving phylogenetic relationships of Delphacini and Tropidocephalini (Hemiptera: Delphacidae: Delphacinae) as inferred from four genetic loci. Scientific Reports 7: 3319. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-03624-w.

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

Melichar, L. 1914. 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. (tribe on P. 88)

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. 1926. 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.

Qin, D. Z. and Y. L. Zhang. 2010. A key to the genera of Tropidocephalini (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Delphacidae) of China with description of Mucillnata rava, new genus and species. Zootaxa 2448: 61-68.

Ren, F. J., L. F. Zheng, Y. X. Huang and D. Z. Qin. 2014. Lauriana Ren and Qin, a new genus of the tribe Tropidocephalini (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Delphacidae) from China. Zootaxa 3784(1): 84-88.

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.

Yang, J. T., C. T. Yang and K. T. Shao. 1987. Numerical taxonomic studies on the Asiracinae and Tropidocephalini Fulgoroidea Delphacidae from Taiwan. Bulletin of the Institute of Zoology Academia Sinica (Taipei) 26(3): 215-230.

Yang, L. and X. S. Chen. 2011. The Oriental bamboo-feeding genus Bambusiphaga Huang and Ding, 1979 (Hemiptera: Delphacidae: Tropidocephalini): a checklist, a key to the species and descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa 2879: 50–59.

Zhao, S. Y., X. Y. Liu and C. L. Hu. 2011. Delphacidae attacking bamboo in Jiangsu with one new record genus and species (Delphacidae: Delphacinae: Tropidocephalini). Journal of Nanjing Agricultural Technology College 27(1): 73-76.

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