Saturday 19 January 2013

New species of Leafhopper from Laos, southeast Asia.

Leafhoppers (Cicadellidae) are small members of the True Bug Order Hemeptera, with specialized mouthparts for sucking sap. They are extremely abundant across the globe, with over 20 000 described species. Many species are considered to be agricultural pests, both for the damage they do to crops, and for the plant diseases that they can spread.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 8 November 2012, Wu Dai of the Key Laboratory of Plant Protection Resources and Pest Management at the Entomological Museum at Northwest A&F University and Chris Dietrich of the Illinois Natural History Survey at the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign describe a new species of Leafhopper from Laos in Southeast Asia.

The new species is placed a new genus, Tardrabassus, which is a combination of the names of three previously described genera, Tartessus, Drabescus, and Iassus; it has a mixture of features seen in each of these three genera, which make its exact taxonomic position hard to assess. It is given the specific name pakneunensis, after the village where it was discovered, Pak Neun in Luang Prabang province. Tardrabassus pakneunensis is a 10-10.8 mm dark brown Leafhopper with yellow markings on its body and orange markings on its head. Only the male is known.

Tardrabassus pakneunensis in dorsal (top) and lateral (bottom) views. Scale bar is 1 mm. Dai & Deitrich, (2012).

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