North American Fulgoridae

Lanternflies or fulgorid planthoppers

(Despite the name, they do not emit light)

Pyrops sp. (Photo by Julie Urban, I think from Sarawak, Malaysia.)

Pyrops sp. (Photo by Julie Urban, I think from Sarawak, Malaysia.)

Fulgoridae, often called lanternflies, consist of approximately 143 genera and 716 species at present (Bourgoin 2016). The higher classification of Fulgoridae has not been recently revised, although Emeljanov (1979) has reviewed the relationship between the Fulgoridae and Dictyopharidae.  Urban and Cryan (2009) found Fulgoridae and Dictyopharidae to be sister groups and that the assignment of some basal genera to family was problematic. Urban and Cryan (2009) provided the first molecular phylogeny of Fulgoridae, demonstrating that head processes are repeatedly gained and lost over evolutionary time. Since the higher classification of Fulgoridae is partly based on the presence and nature of the head process, a reassessment of the higher categories is needed.

Fulgoridae is represented in America north of Mexico by 9 genera and 17 species, all of which occur in the southwest with fewer species in other regions.


Distribution of Fulgoridae in the US (from Bartlett et al. 2014).

Fulgorids are large, mostly tropical planthoppers. In North America, they mostly exceed 7 mm, although tropical forms can reach 95 mm. Aside from size, they can be recognized by the reticulate venation of the hindwings, and usually the forewings, which are often opaque and held tectiform (tent-ike). Some genera (e.g., Amycle, Rhabdocephala and Scolopsella) have an elongate head process. The second tarsomere of the hind leg bears a row of teeth, a feature shared with Dictyopharidae and basal planthoppers, but in contrast to the derived families.

Kramer (1978) revised Cyrpoptus and O’Brien (1988) provided a key to New World genera and species with head processes. The species Alphina glauca and Calyptoproctus marmoratus are nomenclaturally and taxonomically problematic.  These species belong in the same genus, but neither Alphina or Calyptoproctus is appropriate.  Also, it is possible that Alphina glauca and Calyptoproctus marmoratus are the same species, but the type specimen of Alphina glauca (from Brownsville, Texas) is misplaced, and 2 similar species (presumably undescribed) are known from extreme southern U.S. and Mexico (as far south as Chiapas). this situation is the subject of an ongoing study.

Of the 9 native genera of Fulgoridae found north of Mexico, most have congeners in Central America, except Rhabdocephala (which is monotypic). Lycorma delicatula (White, 1845) was recently detected in Pennsylvania and is now (perhaps temporarily) part of our fauna.

The majority of Fulgoridae feed on trees and woody shrubs through the bark, but a few taxa are grass feeding (e.g., Amycle, CyrpoptusRhabdocephala). Most fulgorids have been reported from a single host species (Wilson et al. 1994). We have observed Poblicia fuliginosa feeding on winged sumac (Rhus copallinum L., Anacardiaceae) in the east and reared nymphs on Baccharis sarothroides A. Gray (Asteraceae) in Arizona, where it may also be found on Brickellia (Asteraceae). Itzalana submaculata was found on Baccharis in Texas, with nymphs found in September and adults in September, October and May.  The biology of Rhabdocephala brunnea has been described by Wilson and Wheeler (1992). The nymphs of this species feed on Muhlenbergia porteri Scribn. ex Beal (Poaceae); it may be bivoltine. The biology and immature forms of the eastern species Amycle vernalisCyrpoptus belfragei, and C. reineckei have been described from the exotic Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees (weeping lovegrass, Poaceae) and other grasses, and these species appear to be bivoltine (Wilson & Wheeler 2005).

The taxonomy of Fulgoridae north of Mexico, as it currently stands, can be summarized as follows:

(A key to genus will be added later).

Amyclinae Metcalf, 1938
Amyclini Metcalf, 1938
Amycle Stål, 1861 (Type species Fulgora (Episcius?) amabilis Westwood, 1842).
Rhabdocephala Van Duzee, 1929 (Type species Rhabdocephala brunnea Van Duzee, 1929).
Scolopsella Ball, 1905 (Type species Scolopsella reticulata Ball, 1905).

Poiocerinae Haupt, 1929
Poiocerini Haupt, 1929
Calyptoproctina Metcalf, 1938
Alphina Stål, 1863 (Type species Alphina nigrosignata Stål, 1863).
Calyptoproctus Spinola, 1839 (Type species Fulgora elegans Olivier, 1788)
Cyrpoptus Stål, 1862 (Type species Cyrpoptus suavis Stål, 1862)

Poiocerina Haupt, 1929
Alaruasa Distant, 1906 (Type species Poiocera lepida Spinola, 1839).
Itzalana Distant, 1905 (Type species Itzalana formosa Distant, 1905).
Poblicia Stål, 1866 (Type species Poeocera misella Stål, 1863).

Aphaeninae Blanchard, 1847
Aphaenini Blanchard, 1847
Lycorma Stål, 1863 (type species Aphana imperialis White, 1846).

Pyrops probably candelaria (Linné, 1758) from China (photo by Dawn Chang).

Pyrops probably candelaria (Linné, 1758) from China (photo by Dawn Chang).


Phrictus quinquepartitus from La Selva, Costa Rica (Photos by Brian Cutting, University of Delaware). Photo on top on the trunk of a tree is how you would usually find them; photo on the bottom provides a better look, but they usually don't sit on branches.

Phrictus quinquepartitus from La Selva, Costa Rica (Photos by Brian Cutting, University of Delaware). Photo on top on the trunk of a tree is how you would usually find them; photo on the bottom provides a better look, but they usually don’t sit on branches.

Online Resources

There are lots of photos of Fulgoridae online since they are striking insects.  I’ll post references here as I encounter them.

Selected References

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.

Bourgoin, T. 2016. FLOW (Fulgoromorpha Lists on The Web): a world knowledge base dedicated to Fulgoromorpha. Version 8, updated 2016-09-15. (accessed Sept. 15, 2016).

Bourgoin, T. and L. Arnaud. 2004. Une nouvelle espece de Fulgore: Phrictus buechei n. sp. (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha, Fulgoridae). Bulletin de la Societé Entomologique de France 109(2): 183-184.

Bourgoin, T. and L. O’Brien. 1994. Review of the genus Odontoptera Carreno (Homoptera: Fulgoridae) with description of a new species. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 87(5): 516-522.

Brailovsky, H. and C. R. Beutelspacher. 1978. Una nueva especie de Fulgora Linneo (Homoptera: Fulgoridae) de Mexico. Anales del Instituto de Biologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico 49:175-182.

Caldwell, J. S. 1945. Neotropical lanternflies of the genus Phrictus in the United States National Museum with descriptions of four new species. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 96(3194):1 77-184.

Cheng, C. L. and C. T. Yang. 1996. Antennal sensory plaque organs of Fulgoridae (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Chinese Journal of Entomology 16(3): 187-207.

Cheung, W.W.K. 1981. Ultrastructural and functional differentiation of the Malpighian tubules of the lantern bug Pyrops candelaria Linn. (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Cytologia (Tokyo) 46(1-2): 241-254.

Cheung, W.W.K. 1983. Light and electron microscopic observation of the midgut sheath and anterior diverticulum of the lantern bug, Pyrops candelaria Linn. (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Cytologia (Tokyo) 48(2): 333-342.

Cheung, W.W.K. and A. T. Marshall. 1981. Scanning and transmission electron microscopic observations on the oenocytes of the lantern bug, Pyrops candelaria Linn. (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Bulletin of the Institute of Zoology Academia Sinica (Taipei) 20(2): 69-72.

Cheung, W.W.K. and A. T. Marshall. 1982. Ultrastructural and functional differentiation of the midgut of the lantern bug, Pyrops candelaria Linn. (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Cytologia (Tokyo) 47(2): 325-339.

Chew Kea Foo, S. and T. Porion. 2007. Une nouvelle espèce de Saiva Distant, 1906 (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Fulgoridae) du Sabah, Est Malaisie. Cahiers Scientifiques 12: 5-7.

Chew Kea Foo, S., T. Porion, and C. Audibert. 2010. Egregia marpessa: nouveau genre et nouvelle espèce de Fulgoridae de Bornéo (Hemiptera : Fulgoromorpha). Les Cahiers du Musée des Confluences. Etudes Scientifiques 1: 43-50.

Choi, D. H., K. H. Kim and Y. K. Jang. 2011. Agonistic interactions between nymphs of Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae). Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology 14(1): 21-25.

Constant, J. 2004. Fulgoridae of Madagascar: description of a new species representing a new genus, key to the genera and list of the species (Homoptera: Fulgoromorpha: Fulgoridae). Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique Entomologie 74: 29-34.

Constant, J. 2009. A new species of Polydictya from Sumatra and notes on P. Chantrainei Nagai et Porion, 2004 (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Fulgoridae). Annales Zoologici 59(3): 293-296.

Constant, J. 2010. Review of the Australian genus Desudaboides Musgrave with descriptions of four new species (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Fulgoridae). Zootaxa 2351: 39-48.

Constant, J. 2010. The lanternfly genus Penthicodes: key to the species and review of the “Ereosoma group” with two new species and one new subspecies (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Fulgoridae). Zootaxa 2523: 1-26.

Constant, J. 2011. The genus Birdantis Stål in Australia (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Fulgoridae). Zootaxa 2885: 44-54.

Constant, J. and H. T. Pham. 2008. A new species of Polydictya from Vietnam (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha, Fulgoridae). Nouvelle Revue d’Entomologie 25(1): 27-31

Costa-Neto, E. M. 2007. Fulgora laternaria Linnaeus, 1758 (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) na concepção dos moradores do povoado de Pedra Branca, Santa Terezinha, Bahia, Brazil. Revista de Ciências Ambientais 1: 36-56.

Costa-Neto, E. M. and J. M. Pacheco. 2003. “Head of Snake, Wings of Butterfly, and Body of Cicada”: Impressions of the Latern-Fly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) in the Village of Pedra Branca, Bahia State, Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology 23(1): 23-46.

Emeljanov, A. F. 1979. [The problem of family distinction between the Fulgoridae and the Dictyopharidae (Homoptera, Auchenorrhyncha)] Trudy Zoologicheskogo Instituta 82: 3-22. [Russian]

Emeljanov, A. F. 2004. A new genus and tribe of Strongylodematinae (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Zoosystematica Rossica 13(1): 52.

Emeljanov, A. F. 2007. A new species of Capocles Emeljanov from South Africa (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Zoosystematica Rossica 16(1): 23-24.

Emeljanov, A. F. 2011 A new genus and a new species of lanternflies of the subfamily Cladyphinae (Homoptera, Fulgoridae). Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie 90(1): 159–165 (In Russian; English in Entomological Review 91(4): 484–489).

Frantsevich, L., A. H. Ji, Z. D. Dai, J. T. Wang and S. N. Gorb. 2008. Adhesive properties of the arolium of a lantern-fly,Lycorma delicatula (Auchenorrhyncha, Fulgoridae). Journal of Insect Physiology 54(5): 818-827.

Goemans, G. 2006. The Fulgoridae (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha) of Guatemala. In: E.B. Cano, (ed.). Biodiversidad de Guatemala. Volume 1. Publicado por la Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala. Pp. 337-344.

Goemans, G. and L. B. O’Brien. 2005. Villala Goemans and O’Brien, a new genus of Fulgoridae (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha) with three new species from Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 40(2): 149-153.

Han, J. M., H. Kim, E. J. Lim, S. Le, Y. J. Kwon and S. Cho. 2008. Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Fulgoridae: Aphaeninae) finally, but suddenly arrived in Korea. Entomological Research 38: 281-286.

Hoffman, R. L. 2004. Calyptoproctus marmoratus, a striking planthopper, arrives in Virginia from parts south (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Banisteria 23: 48-49.

Hogue, C. L. 1984. Observations on the plant hosts and possible mimicry models of ‘lantern bugs’ (Fulgora spp.) (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Revista de Biologia Tropical 32(1): 145-150

Hogue, C. L., T. W. Taylor, A. M. Young and M. E. Platt. 1990 [dated 1989]. Egg Masses and first instar nymphs of some giant Neotropical planthoppers (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Revista de Biologia Tropical 37(2): 211-226.

Johnson, L. K. and R. B. Foster. 1986. Associations of large Homoptera (Fulgoridae and Cicadidae) and trees in a tropical forest. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 59:415-422.

Kim, H. J., M. Y. Kim, D. H. Kwon, S. W. Park, Y. R. Lee, H. Y. Jang, S. H. Lee, S. H. Lee, J. H. Huang, K. J. Hong and Y. W. Jang. 2011. Development and characterization of 15 microsatellite loci from Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae). Animal Cells and Systems 15(4): 295-300.

Kim, J. G., E. H. Lee, Y. M. Seo and N. Y. Kim. 2011. Cyclic behavior of Lycorma delicatula (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) on host plants. Journal of Insect Behavior 24(6): 423-435.

Knull, D. J. and J. N. Knull. 1947. Two new Amycle (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 60: 397-400.

Kramer, J. P. 1978. Taxonomic study of the American Planthopper genus Cyrpoptus (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea: Fulgoridae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 91(1): 303-335.

Kuznetsova, V. G., A. Maryanska-Nadachowska and A. F. Emeljanov. 2009. A contribution to the karyosystematics of the planthopper families Dictyopharidae and Fulgoridae (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha). European Journal of Entomology 106(2): 159-170.

Lallamand, V. 1959. Revision des especies Africaines de la famille Fulgoridae. Companhia Diamantes Angola, Servicos Culturais 41: 37-123.

Lallemand, V. 1956. Contribution à l’étude des Fulgoridae (Hemiptera) (1e note). Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique 32(39): 1-7.

Lallemand, V. 1962. Hellerides guineae n. sp., n. gen. aus New Guinea (Homoptera, Fulgoridae, Aphaeninae). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde 95: 1-3.

Lallemand, V. 1963. Revision des Fulgoridae (Homoptera). Deuxième partie. Faunes Asiatique et Australienne. Mémoires de l’Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Deuxième Série 75: 1-99.

Lallemand, V. 1960. Contribution à l’étude de la famille Fulgoridae (2ème note). Zeitschrift der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft 12: 138-139.

Lee, J. E., S. R. Moon, H. G. Ahn, S. R. Cho, J. O. Yang, C. M. Yoon and G. H. Kim. 2009. Feeding behavior of Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) and response on feeding stimulants of some plants. Korean Journal of Applied Entomology 48(4): 467-477.

Lee, J. S., I. K. Kim, S. H. Koh, S. J. Cho, S. J. Jang, S. H. Pyo and W. Choi. 2011. Impact of minimum winter temperature onLycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) egg mortality. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology 14(1): 123-125.

Leong, T. M., D. H. Murphy and L. Leong. 2009. Records of the lantern bug, Laternaria oculata (Westwood, 1839), (Homoptera: Fulgoridae: Fulgorinae) in Singapore, with notes on Zanna nobilis (Westwood, 1839). Nature in Singapore 2: 495–501.

Liang, A. P. 1998. Nomenclatorial notes on the oriental lantern fly genus Pyrops Spinola (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Fulgoridae). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica 23(1): 41-47.

Mason, R. T., H. M. Fales, T. H. Jones, L. B. O’Brien, T. W. Taylor, C. L. Hogue and M. S. Blum. 1989. Characterization of fulgorid waxes (Homoptera: Fulgoridae: Insecta). Insect Biochemistry 19(8): 737-740.

Metcalf, Z. P. 1947. General Catalogue of the Homoptera. Fascicle IV Fulgoroidea. Part 9 Fulgoridae. Smith College, Northhampton, Massachusetts.

Mukherjee, T., S. Mukherjee and D. L. Mohn. 2006. New record and redescription of Zanna dohrni (Stål) from Bakhrahat, West Bengal, India (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Genus 17(3): 323-326

Nagai, S. and T. Porion. 1996. Fulgoridae 2. Catalogue Illustré des Faunes Asiatique et Australienne [Fulgoridae 2: Illustrated Catalogue of the Asiatic and Australian Fauna]. Fédération Francaise des Sociétés de Sciences, Venette. 80 pp.

Nagai, S. and T. Porion. 2004. Fulgoridae 2. Supplement 2: New Fulgoridae from South-East Asia. Hillside Books, Canterbury. 14 pp.

Nagai, S. and T. Porion. 2002. Fulgoridae 2. Supplement 1: New Fulgoridae from South-East Asia. Hillside Books, Canterbury. 15 pp.

Naskrecki, P. and K. Nishida. 2007. Novel trophobiotic interactions in the lantern bugs (Insecta: Auchenorrhyncha: Fulgoridae). Journal of Natural History 41(37-40): 2397-2402.

Nast, J. 1950. New genera and species of Neotropical Fulgoridae in the collection of the British Museum (Homoptera). Annales Musei Zoologici Polonici 14(11): 167-175.

Nast, J. 1951. Some remarks on Neotropical Fulgoridae with descriptions of new genera and species (Homoptera). [Kilka uwag nad neotropikalnymi Fulgoridae wraz z opisami nowych rodzajów i gatunków (Homoptera)]. Annales Musei Zoologici Polonici 14(19): 268-279.

O’Brien, L. B. 1985. New synonymies and combinations in New World Fulgoroidea (Achilidae, Delphacidae, Flatidae, Fulgoridae: Homoptera). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 78(5): 657-662.

O’Brien, L. B. 1988 New World Fulgoridae, part 1: genera with elongate head processes. Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs 12: 135-170.

Porion, T. 1994. Fulgoridae I: catalogue illustre de la faune americaine. Sciences Nat, Venette.

Porion, T. 1994. Synonymie dans le genre Phrictus (Hemiptera, Fulgoridae). Bulletin de la Societe Sciences Natural 82: 39.

Poulton, E. B. 1982. The alligator-like head and thorax of the tropical American Laternaria laternaria L. (Fulgoridae: Homoptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of London 7:68-70.

Salazar-Ossa, G. and J. A. Salazar-E. 2007. Algunas curiosidades morfológicas dentro de la familia Fulgoridae Dumeril, 1839 (Insecta: Homoptera). [Some morphological curiosities within the Fulgoridae Dumeril, 1839 family (Insecta: Homoptera)]. Boletín Científico Centro de Museos, Museo de Historia Natural 11: 261-270.

Sato, M. and S. Nagai. 1994. Taxonomic notes on the southeast Asian species of the genus Fulgora (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Transactions of the Shikoku Entomological Society 20(3-4): 307-314.

Song, Z. S., T. Bourgoin and A. P. Liang. 2011. Review of the Oriental monotypic genus Pibrocha Kirkaldy (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha, Fulgoridae, Dorysarthrinae). ZooKeys 132: 1-12.

Tan, J. C. 1995. Investigation of fulgorid planthoppers (Fulgoridae) in the tea gardens of Hunan province. Journal of Tea Science 15(1): 33-37.

Tomaszewska, W. 1996. The type material of family Fulgoridae (Homoptera) in the Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS, Warsaw. Bulletin of the Museum And Institute of Zoology Pas 1 1996: 79-84.

Urban J. M. and J. R. Cryan. 2007. Evolution of the planthoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 42(2): 556-572.

Urban J. M. and J. R. Cryan. 2009. Entomologically famous, evolutionarily unexplored: The first phylogeny of the lanternfly family Fulgoridae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50: 471-484.

Urban J. M. and J. R. Cryan. 2012. Two ancient bacterial endosymbionts have coevolved with the planthoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). BMC Evolutionary Biology doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-87

Wang, J. B. and W.W.K. Cheung. 1997. Electron microscopy studies on the a-bacteroids in the fat bodies of the lantern bugPyrops candelaria Linn. (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Parasitology Research 83(5): 499-503.

Wang, J. B. and W.W.K. Cheung. 1998. Multiple bacteroids in the bacteriome of the lantern bug Pyrops candelaria Linn. (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Parasitology Research 84(9): 741-745.

Wang, S. Z. and J. Z. Song. 1995. A new species of Fulgoridae in China. Acta Agriculturae Boreali-Sinica 10(1): 99-100.

Wilson, S. W. and A. G. Wheeler jr. 1992. Host plant and descriptions of nymphs of the planthopper Rhabdocephala brunnea (Homoptera: Fulgoridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 85(3): 258-264.

Wilson, S. W. and A. G. Wheeler jr. 2005. An African grass, Eragrostis curvula (Poaceae), planted in the southern United States recruits rarely collected native planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Dictyopharidae, Fulgoridae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 113(3-4): 174-204.

Wilson, S. W. and L. B. O’Brien. 1986. Descriptions of nymphs of Itzalana submaculata Schmidt (Homoptera: Fulgoridae), a species new to the United States. Great Lakes Entomologist 19(2): 101-105.

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.

Xu, S. L. and D. Z. Qin. 2012. Two new record species of the family Fulgoridae (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea) from China. Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica 37(1): 232-235.

Zolnerowich, G. 1992. A unique Amycle nymph (Homoptera: Fulgoridae) that mimics jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 100(3): 498-502.

last edit 28 Sept. 2018

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