Gall formation by a spittlebug, Aphelaenus nigripectus (Aphrophoridae: Auchenorrhyncha; Homoptera)


Dr Shinji Sugiura, Laboratory of Forest Ecology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502 Japan. Email:


Few spittlebug species are gall formers, but the Homoptera as a whole contain many gall-forming species in many families. Nymphs of a spittlebug, Aphelaenus nigripectus (Aphrophoridae, Auchenorrhyncha, Homoptera), were observed to induce leaf-roll galls on cherry trees (Prunus speciosa, P. × yedoensis and Ppendula cv. pendula (Rosaceae)) in late April in Kyoto, Japan. Aphelaenus nigripectus nymphs aggregated on the ventral surface of the young leaves, fed on the ventral (abaxial) midvein, and excreted masses of froth in the rolled leaves. In a field experiment, it was discovered that feeding of Anigripectus nymphs can induce rolling of the cherry leaves, and that the rolled leaves may provide protection from desiccation to A. nigripectus nymphs. This is the first record of gall-forming habits in Japanese spittlebugs.