Genus Otiocerus Kirby, 1821

[Back to North American Derbidae]

Family Derbidae Spinola, 1839

Subfamily Otiocerinae Muir, 1917

Tribe Otiocerini Muir, 1917

Genus: Otiocerus Kirby, 1821

Type species (in original combination): Otiocerus stollii Kirby 1821: 16.


Cobax Germar, 1821: 1 (Type species Cobax winthemi Germar, 1821: 5, junior syn. of Otiocerus stollii Kirby 1821); syn. by Latreille 1829: 216.


Widespread in eastern Nearctic (esp. south) and Central America.

Distribution of Otiocerus

Distribution of Otiocerus from FLOW (13 Oct. 2018)

Recognized species

There are currently 17 species recognized in this genus.  Varietal forms are probably color variations, but the status of these taxa have not been recently examined [genus in Metcalf 1945: 167].


Otiocerus abbotii Kirby, 1821: 17 – USA: CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, MN, MO, NC, NY, OH; CAN: ON
Otiocerus amyotii Fitch, 1856 – USA: CT, DC, GA, IA, IL, KS, MA, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA; CAN: ON, QC
Otiocerus coquebertii Kirby, 1821: 18 – USA: CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, TX, WV; CAN: NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
=Otiocerus coquebertii var. rubidus Osborn, 1938 – USA: OH, PA (bugguide adds KY)
Otiocerus francilloni Kirby, 1821: 17 – USA: DE, FL, GA, IL, MS, NJ, NY, OH
Otiocerus kirbyii Fitch, 1851: 46 – USA: AL, MD?, MS, NC, NY, TX; CAN: NS, ON
Otiocerus reaumurii Kirby, 1821: 18 – USA: DE, GA, IA, NY, OH, TX
Otiocerus stollii Kirby, 1821: 16 – USA: AR, FL, GA, IA, IL, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, TX; CAN: ON; Brazil?

= Otiocerus signoretii Fitch, 1856: 394 ; syn by Bartlett et al 2014: 154.
Otiocerus wolfii Kirby, 1821: 19 – USA: AR, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, KS, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, TX, WV; CAN: ON
Otiocerus wolfei Kirby, 1821; missp. by Maw et al. 2000: 86.
=Otiocerus wolfii var. nubilus McAtee 1926: 128 – USA: IL


Otiocerus breviceps Fowler, 1904: 76 – Panama
Otiocerus fontis Fennah, 1952 – St. Lucia
Otiocerus interruptus Fowler, 1904: 75 – Guatemala
Otiocerus lyncaeste Fennah, 1952 – Trinidad
Otiocerus regalis Fennah, 1952 – St. Vincent
Otiocerus rubescens Fowler, 1905: 76 – Mexico (Tabasco, Veracruz)
Otiocerus schoenherri Stal, 1859: 327 – Puerto Rico
Otiocerus venustus Fowler, 1904: 75 – Guatemala, Panama

(The WV record of Otiocerus wolfii based on a photo from Sarah Grubin, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources)

Economic Importance:


Plant associations:

Derbidae are known or assumed to feed on fungal hyphae as immatures.  The significance of adult host associations are unclear.

  • Otiocerus coquebertii – Fagus (Beach, Fagaceae)Quercus (Oak, Fagaceae), Acer (maple, Aceraceae)
  • Otiocerus stollii – Quercus
  • Otiocerus wolfii – AcerFagus
  • Otiocerus fontisCyathea sp. (Cyatheales, Cyatheaceae) according to Fennah (1952): 156
  • Otiocerus regalisHeliconia bihai (L.) L. (Zingiberales, Heliconiaceae) according to Fennah (1952): 156
  • Otiocerus schoenherriPothomorphe peltata (L.) Miq. (Piperales, Piperaceae) and Rubus rosaefolius (Rosales, Rosaceae) according to Caldwell & Martorell (1951): 195

Hosts from Caldwell & Martorell, 1951, Fennah 1952, Wilson et al. 1994 (see also FLOW); plant names from USDA PLANTS or Tropicos.


Mostly white or yellow-themed, fragile forms; wings greatly exceeding the abdomen; frons extremely compressed, head strongly projecting; clavus open, antennae with appendages; in lateral view, dorsum of head straight (vs. sinuate in Apache), ventral curved (vs. Shellenius)  dorsal margin of wings nearly straight, apex of head obtusely angular (vs. rounded in Shellenius).

Teneral specimens do not have fully developed color patterns.

Eastern species can be identified using Bartlett et al. (2011).  Keys are also found in Dozier (1928), Britton 1923: 43 [=Van Duzee 1923b]) and Metcalf (1923), but these keys include Apache and Shellenius)

Otiocerus 1

Key to eastern species from Metcalf (1923) (Note: includes Apache & Shellenius)

Otiocerus wolfii (photograph by Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware)

Otiocerus wolfii (photograph by Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware)

Otiocerus amyotti (photographs by Kimberley Shropshire, University of Delaware)

Otiocerus amyotti (photographs by Kimberley Shropshire, University of Delaware)

Otiocerus coquebertii

Otiocerus coquebertii

Otiocerus francilloni

Otiocerus francilloni

Otiocerus reaumurii

Otiocerus reaumurii

Otiocerus prob. kirbyii

Otiocerus prob. kirbyii

Otiocerus 7a

Otiocerus prob. kirbyii

Otiocerus prob. kirbyii

Otiocerus stollii

Otiocerus stollii

Otiocerus wolfii

Otiocerus wolfii the makings on this one a little paler than usual)

Outlines of Otiocerus heads

Outlines of Otiocerus heads from Dozier 1928.

Metcalf 1923, plate 40 (taxon names as provided in that work). Fig. 23. Euklastus harti Metcalf, Fig. 24. Amalopota uhleri Van Duzee, Fig. 25. Amalopota fitchi Van Duzee, Fig. 26. Patara vanduzei Ball, Fig. 27. Otiocerus degeerii Kirby, Fig. 28. Otiocerus coquebertii Kirby, Fig. 29. Liburnia campestris Van Duzee, Fig. 30. Bruchomorpha bicolor Metcalf, Fig. 31. Liburnia fulvidorsum Metcalf, Fig. 32. Pissonotus speciosus Metcalf, Fig. 33. Otiocerus stollii Kirby, Fig. 34. Otiocerus abbotii Kirby, Fig. 35. Otiocerus wolfii Kirby, Fig. 36. Otiocerus schellenbergii Kirby, Fig. 37. Fitchiella robertsoni Fitchi, Fig. 38. Megamelanus lautus Metcalf.

The following 4 images of Otiocerus from BOLD, all CC BY-NC-SA CNC/BIO Photography Group 2012.

Otiocerus abbottii

Otiocerus wolfii

Otiocerus coquebertii

Otiocerus signoretii

Otiocerus fontis

Otiocerus fontis from Fennah 1952

Otiocerus regalis

Otiocerus regalis from Fennah 1952

Otiocerus lyncaeste

Otiocerus lyncaeste from Fennah 1952

Online resources:

Otiocerus on …



Found infrequently at lights; occasionally found overwintering in logs.

Molecular resources: 

As of this writing (13 Oct. 2018), there is molecular data for 2 species in the  genus on GenbankBarcode of Life has data on 4 species & 6 specimens (Otiocerus coquebertii, O. signoretti, O. wolfii, and O. abbottii).

Selected references:

[There are many mentions of Otiocerus, especially in early literature that are not included here; a BHL search yields 682 hits on Otiocerus, much of it in early [pre 1920 literature]

Banaszkiewicz. M. and J. Szwedo. 2005. Notes on Otiocerinae with description of a new tribe from Madagascar and Africa (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Derbidae). Annales Zoologici 55(2): 223-241.

Barringer, L. E. and C. R. Bartlett. 2018. Pennsylvania planthoppers (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Fulgoroidea): relative abundance and incidental catch using novel trapping methods. Insecta Mundi 0661: 1–31.

Bartlett, C. R., E. R. Adams and A. T. Gonzon, Jr. 2011. Planthoppers of Delaware (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea), excluding Delphacidae, with species incidence from adjacent States. ZooKeys 83: 1-42.

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.

Britton, W. E. 1923a. Guide to the insects of Connecticut. Part IV. The Hemiptera or sucking insects of Connecticut. Bulletin. State of Connecticut. State Geological and Natural History Survey 34: 1-807. [See p. 24-55, Otiocerus on P. 43, also Van Duzee 1923b]

Dozier, H. L. 1928a [dated 1922 or 1926]. The Fulgoridae or planthoppers of Mississippi, including those of possible occurrence. Technical Bulletin of the Mississippi Agricultural Experiment Station 14: 1-152. (Otiocerus here)

Emeljanov, A. F. 1992. Two new tribes, a new genus and a new species of the family Derbidae (Homoptera, Fulgoroidea). Vestnik Zoologii 4: 19-23.

Fennah, R. G. 1944. The morphology of the tegmina and wings of the Fulgoroidea (Homoptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 46(7): 185-199.

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.

Fennah, R. G. 1952. On the generic classification of Derbidae (Fulgoroidea), with descriptions of new Neotropical species. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 103(4): 109-170.

Fitch, A. 1851. Catalogue with references and descriptions of the insects collected and arranged for the State Cabinet of Natural History.Annual Report of the Regents of the University on the Condition of the State Cabinet of Natural History, and the Historical and Antiquarian Collection 4: 43-69.

Fitch, A. 1856. Third report on noxious and other insects of the State of New York. Transactions of the New-York State Agricultural Society 16: 315-490.

Fitch, Asa. 1893a. Reprint of the Catalogue with references and descriptions of the insects collected and arranged for the State Cabinet of Natural History. Report of the New York State Museum of Natural History 46: 385-409. (Otiocerus p. 386)

Fowler, W. W. 1904. Order Rhynchota. Suborder Hemiptera-Homoptera. (Continued). Biologia Centrali-Americana 1: 57- 84. (plates)

Germar, E. F. 1821. Bemerkungen über einige Gattungen der Cicadarien. Magazin der Entomologie 4: 1-106.

Gonzon, A. T., Jr., C. R. Bartlett and J. L. Bowman. 2007 (dated 2006). Planthopper (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) diversity in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 132: 243-260.

Gossner, M. and C. Damken. 2018. Chapter 9. Diversity and Ecology of Saproxylic Hemiptera. p. 263-317. In: M. D. Ulyshen (ed.), Saproxylic Insects. Zoological Monographs 1. Pp. IX+904. (Springer)

Heaton, R. R. 1934a. An annotated list of the Fulgoridae (Homoptera) of Indiana. Bulletin of the Brooklyn Entomological Society 29: 107-115.

Howard, L. O. 1901a. Suborder Homoptera. In The insect book; a popular account of the bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, flies and other North American insects exclusive of the butterflies, moths and beetles, with full life histories, tables and bibliographies. Doubleday; Page . New York,. Vol./pp.: i-xxvii, 1-429. Fig(s).: 1-264. Plate(s): 1-48.

Kirby, W. F. 1821. The characters of Otiocerus and Anotia, two new genera of Hemipterous insects belonging to the family of Cicadiadae : with a description of several species. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London (Second series) Zoology 13: 12-23.

Kontkanen, P. 1958. Notes on some fulgorids collected in Canada by Professor Håkon Lindberg during the summer of 1956 (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Annales Entomologici Fennici 24: 141-145.

Latreille, P. A. 1829. Hémiptères, Homoptère (Homoptera). In: Cuvier G. L. C. F. D. 1829.  Le Règne Animal. Nouvelle Edition, 5. p. 209-224.

Leonard, M. D. 1928a. “Families Cercopidae, Membracidae, and Cicadellidae.” In A list of the insects of New York with a list of the spiders and certain other allied groups. Memoir. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station 101: 1-1121.(see 179).

Lew, Grace Li-en. 1959. The external morphology of the last-instar nymph of Magicicada septendecim (L.) (Hemiptera: Homoptera). Entomologica Americana 39: 101-179. pdf  (genus noted, e.g., p. 144, although this is degeeri)

Maw, H.E.L., R. G. Foottit and K.G.A. Hamilton. 2000. Checklist of the Hemiptera of Canada and Alaska, NRC Research Press, Ottawa, Canada.

McAtee, W. L. 1923. A new species of Otiocerus (Homoptera; Fulgoridae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 36: 45-48. [Describes Shellenius balli – as Otiocerus – but provides a key to species]

McAtee, W. L. 1926. Notes on Homoptera from Illinois, with descriptions of new forms, chiefly Eupteryginae. Bulletin of the Illinois State Natural History Survey 16: 127-136.

Metcalf, Z. P. 1923a. A key to the Fulgoridae of Eastern North America with descriptions of new species. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 38(3): 139-230, plus 32 plates.

Metcalf, Z. P. 1945. General Catalogue of the Hemiptera. Fascicle IV, Fulgoroidea, Part 4, Derbidae. Smith College, Northhampton, Massachusetts. (see p. 167)

Moore, G. A. 1950a. Catalogus des hémiptères de la province de Québec. Le Naturaliste Canadien 77: 233-271.

Moore, G. A. 1950b. Check-list of Hemiptera of the province of Quebec. Contributions de l’Institut de Biologie de l’Université de Montréal. 26: 1-49.

Muir, F. A. G. 1917. The Derbidae of the Philippine Islands. Philippine Journal of Science 12: 49-105.

Nixon, P. L. and J. E. McPherson. 1977. An annotated list of the phytophagous insects collected on immature black walnut trees in southern Illinois. Great Lakes Entomologist 10: 211-222.

Osborn, H. 1900e. Remarks on the hemipterous fauna of Ohio with a preliminary record of species. Annual Report of the Ohio State Academy of Science 8: 60-69.

Osborn, H. 1938b. The Fulgoridae of Ohio. Bulletin of the Ohio Biological Survey 6: 283-349.

Paiero, S. M., S. A. Marshall and K.G.A. Hamilton. 2003. New records of Hemiptera from Canada and Ontario. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 134: 115-129.

Rathvon, S. S. 1869a. Homoptera. Pp. 550-551. in: Mombert’s An authentic history of Lancaster County, in the State of Pennsylvania. Pp. viii + 617 (+ 175 pp appendix) [A list of species.]

Smith, J. B. 1890. Sub-order Homoptera. Pp. 436-447. In: Catalogue of insects found in New Jersey. Geological Survey of New Jersey. Final Report of the State Geologist, volume 2.  John L. Murphy, Trenton, New Jersey. (p. 439)

Smith, J. B. 1910a. Order Homoptera. Pp. 87-130. In: A report of the insects of New Jersey. Annual Report of the New Jersey State Museum 1909: 1-888. (see p. 94).

Spinola, M. 1839a. Essai sur les Fulgorelles, sous-tribu de la tribu des Cicadaires, ordre des Rhyngotes. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 8: 133-337.

Spooner, C. S. 1937. Derbid field days. Papers presented in the thirtieth annual meeting, Rockford, Illinois, May 7 and 8, 1937 (papers in Zoology). Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science 30(2): 315-316. (187 derbid specimens collected)

Spooner, C. S. 1938a. The phylogeny of the Hemiptera based on a study of the head capsule. University of Illinois Bulletin 35 (70): 1-102. (several mentions, e.g., p. 9)

Stål, C. 1859. Novae quaedam Fulgorinorum formae speciesque insigniores. Berliner Entomologische Zeitschrift 3: 313-327.

Van Duzee, E. P. 1916a. Check list of Hemiptera (excepting the Aphididae, Aleurodidae and Coccidae) of America North of Mexico. New York Entomological Society, New York. 111 pp. [see p. 78 onward]

Van Duzee, E. P. 1917b. Catalogue of the Hemiptera of America North of Mexico (excepting the Aphididae, Coccidae and Aleurodidae). University of California Publications, Technical Bulletins, vol. 2. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. i-xiv, 1-902. [from Google books] [see p. 716 onward]

Webb, D. W. 1980. Primary insect types in the Illinois Natural History Survey collection, exclusive of the Collembola and Thysanoptera. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 32: 55-191. (p. 76, Otiocerus wolfii nubilus McAtee 1926]

Wheeler, A. G., Jr. and S. W. Wilson. 1996. Planthoppers of pitch pine and scrub oak in pine barrens communities (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 98: 100-108.

Wilson, S. W. and J. E. McPherson. 1980a. Keys to the planthoppers, or Fulgoroidea, of Illinois (Homoptera). Transactions of the Illinois Academy of Science 73(2): 1‑61.

Wilson, S. W. and J. E. McPherson. 1980b. The distribution of the Fulgoroidea of the eastern United States (Homoptera). Transactions of the Illinois Academy of Science 73(4): 7‑20.

Wilson, S. W. and J. E. McPherson. 1980c. A list of the Fulgoroidea (Homoptera) of southern Illinois. Great Lakes Entomologist 13(1): 25-30.

Wilson, S. W., C. Mitter, R. F. Denno, and M. R. Wilson.1994. Evolutionary patterns of host plant use by delphacid planthoppers and their relatives. In: R. F. Denno and T. J. Perfect, (eds.). Planthoppers: Their Ecology and Management. Chapman and Hall, New York. Pp. 7-45 & Appendix

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