Cicadella viridis (L.)   
(a leafhopper)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera (suborder Auchenorrhyncha) – leafhoppers, froghoppers, & cicadas

British distribution: Local in marshy places, probably throughout Britain.
World distribution: Widespread in Europe; northern Asia.

Cicadella viridis, Carmarthenshire, July 2006.

Leafhoppers (family Cicadellidae) are a large group of mostly small and inconspicuous insects on leaves of trees and other plants. Like other members of the Homoptera they are plant feeders with piercing and sucking mouthparts. They differ from the generally more familiar froghoppers (Cercopidae) in usually smaller size, weaker jumping ability and notably in possessing lines of bristles on their hind legs. Photographs of a very few distinctive species, including C. viridis, are included in the useful, if misleadingly-named, handbook by Chinery (2005).

Cicadella viridis is a relatively large (length 6-9mm) and distinctive species, with yellow on the head and pronotum (first thoracic segment) contrasting with the blue-green colour of the rest of the thorax and the forewings. Males may be strongly purplish. It is a species of fens and marshes, feeding on sedges (Carex), rushes (Juncus) and perhaps other plants (Nickel & Remane, 2002).

•   Chinery, M., (2005). Complete British insects, HarperCollins, London.
•   Nickel, H., & Remane, R. (2002). Check list of the planthoppers and leafhoppers of Germany, with notes on food plants, diet width, life cycles, geographic range and conservation status (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha and Cicadomorpha). Available online at
(last verified, 10.10.2010)

© A.J. Silverside
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