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1 December 2007 The Planthopper Genus Acanalonia in Florida with Notes on a Recently Introduced Species, A. excavata (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Acanaloniidae)
Susan Halbert, Lois B. O'Brien, Stephen W. Wilson
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Acanalonia excavata Van Duzee, described from Nicaragua, has been found at 4 localities in Florida. Although 6 species of Acanalonia have been reported from Florida, 2 species known from single disjunct records, A. concinnula Fowler and A. virescens Stål, are either in error, or finds have not been replicated. A key for the identification of the resulting 5 species known to occur in Florida is provided. The male and female genitalia of A. excavata are illustrated, and the placement of this species in the key to the United States species is indicated.

Six species of the planthopper genus Acanalonia (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Acanaloniidae) have been recorded from Florida: Acanalonia bivittata (Say), A. concinnula Fowler, A. conica (Say), A. pumila Van Duzee, A. servillei Spinola 1839 (=A. latifrons (Walker 1851)), and A. virescens Stål (Metcalf 1954; Freund & Wilson 1995). A seventh species, A. excavata Van Duzee, has been collected in 4 sites in Florida and represents a new record for the United States. Freund & Wilson (1995) reviewed the species of Acanalonia known to occur in the United States. The purpose of this paper is to note the introduction of a species new to the United States, to provide a key to the Florida species that includes A. excavata, and to evaluate and correct published distribution records for Florida.

Acanalonia excavata was described from Nicaragua by Van Duzee (1933) and has not been reported from any other locality since its original description. This species recently has been collected on 4 occasions in south Florida. Data for these specimens are as follows: FLORIDA: Miami-Dade County, Kendall, 25 IV 1997, coll. J. R. Martin (1 female); Coral Gables, 6 V 2000, coll. J. Brambila (1 male); Florida City, 9 VI 2004, coll. E. T. Putland (1 female); Miami, 25 X 2004, coll. E. T. Putland (1 female). Specimens are housed in the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville. Acanalonia excavata can be separated from the 18 species of United States Acanalonia by the produced head, pubescent frons, the presence of a strongly curved spine on the left side of the aedeagus, and the shape of the posterior margin of the female terminal abdominal sternite (Fig. 1, Fig. 2). This species will key to couplet 7 in Freund & Wilson's (1995) key to the Acanalonia species of the United States but can be separated from the similar species A. conica, A. clypeata, and A. saltonia by the characters of the head, aedeagus, and female venter. For comparative purposes, the male and female genitalia are illustrated in Fig. 2 from specimens with the following collecting data: NICARAGUA: 10-16 km W Managua, 18 X 1970, coll. E. Moore (male); Managua, 17 VII 1970, coll. L. H. Rolston (female). Acanalonia excavata is likely to be a recent introduction into Florida from Central America. Nothing is known about the biology of this planthopper; however, the other Acanalonia species that have been studied are widely polyphagous, particularly on woody plants (Wilson & McPherson 1980, 1981; Freund & Wilson 1995).

Acanalonia concinnula was described from Mexico by Fowler (1900) and reported from Venice, Florida by Ball (1933). The single male specimen, upon which the Florida record was based (housed at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.), was misidentified, as determined by comparison of China's illustrations of the holotype (housed at the Museum of Natural History, London, UK) published by Doering (1932). The Florida specimen is actually a pale form of A. bivittata. Thus, there is no evidence that this Mexican species occurs in Florida. Acanalonia concinnula is known from the states of Jalisco, Guerrero, Sinoloa, and Puebla in Mexico (Metcalf 1954, L.B.O., unpublished data). Acanalonia concinnula was recorded from Texas by Melichar (1901) whose specimens are supposed to be housed in museums in Stockholm, Paris, and Brussels. We know of no US specimens of this species in any collections in the United States.

Acanalonia virescens was described from Mexico by Stål (1864) and reported from Marco, Florida by Ball (1933). The male specimen upon which this record is based has not been found; thus, the presence of this species in Florida cannot be verified. Doering (1932) recorded this species only from Texas. There is no evidence that A. virescens occurs in Florida.

There has been taxonomic confusion about the status of A. latifrons (described from New Orleans LA, USA) and A servillei (described from Philadelphia PA, USA). Fennah (1971) determined that the type of A. latifrons corresponded to the description of A. servillei. However, it is doubtful that Fennah was able to examine the type of A. servillei because it was housed in Spinola's castle of Tassarolo until 1979 when it was moved to the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali in Turin, Italy (Casale 1981). Doering (1932) and Metcalf & Bruner (1930) used a specimen from Cuba as the basis for their concept of A. servillei (Fennah 1971). Fennah believed that this specimen was too large (13-15 mm) to be what Spinola described as A. servillei, which was 8.5 mm long. According to Fennah's (1971) description and key, the A. servillei of Metcalf & Bruner (1930) and Doering (1932) probably was A. ingens (Fennah). Ball (1933) also synonymized A. servillei and A. latifrons stating “[there] is certainly but a single large blunt-headed species of this genus occurring in the United States.” He compared specimens from Philadelphia, the type locality of A. servillei, with specimens from New Orleans, the type locality of A. latifrons, and found them to be the same species. However, he did not examine the types. He also synonymized A. servillei with a species from “Hayti”, which was later found to be distinct. Metcalf (1954) apparently ignored the synonymy. It is likely that Fennah (1971) was correct in his synonymy of A. latifrons with A. servillei (Freund & Wilson 1995); however, it would be necessary to compare specimens with the type of A. servillei to be absolutely certain. For the time being, we treat the Florida species as A. servillei.

So far, A. excavata is known only from Miami-Dade County. Acanalonia servillei, A. pumila, and A. conica appear to be distributed widely in Florida. FSCA distribution records are disjunct, probably representing localities of collecting activities rather than actual distribution of the insects. In general, based on FSCA specimens, A. bivittata may be a northern species that ranges into northern Florida, whereas A. pumila may be a Caribbean species that also occurs in peninsular Florida. However, Metcalf (1954) lists North Carolina as a location for A. pumila.

Key to the Acanalonia Species of Florida

  1. 1aVertex with a prominent median longitudinal carina

  2. 1bVertex without a prominent median longitudinal carina

  3. 2aDorsum with a pair of dark longitudinal stripes

  4. 2bDorsum without a pair of dark longitudinal stripes

  5. 3aBody less than 7 mm long; forewings hemispherical

  6. 3bBody greater than 7 mm long; forewings trapezoidal

  7. 4aHead extended anteriorly beyond the lateral carina greater than the horizontal length of an eye, in lateral view; frons with length/width ratio greater than 0.65; head declivent at most 10°; frons sparsely pubescent

  8. 4bHead extended anteriorly beyond the lateral carina less than the horizontal length of an eye, in lateral view; frons with length/width ratio less than 0.65; head declivent about 30°; frons densely pubescent


We thank Mr. David Ziesk, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville, for providing the automontage photographs and Dr. Stuart McKamey, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., for the loan of Ball's specimen from Florida. This is Entomology Contribution No. 1068, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Bureau of Entomology, Nematology, and Plant Pathology.

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Fig. 1.

Acanalonia excavata. A. Habitus, dorsal view. B. Habitus, lateral view.


Fig. 2.

Acanalonia excavata. A. Head, lateral view. B. Male, pygofer, anal tube, and aedeagus, left lateral view. C. Male, genital style, left lateral view. D. Female, terminal segments of abdomen, lateral view. E. Female, terminal segments of abdomen, ventral view. Arrows indicate diagnostic features (see text). Bar = 1 mm. Drawing by Stephen W. Wilson.

Susan Halbert, Lois B. O'Brien, and Stephen W. Wilson "The Planthopper Genus Acanalonia in Florida with Notes on a Recently Introduced Species, A. excavata (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Acanaloniidae)," Florida Entomologist 90(4), 690-692, (1 December 2007).[690:TPGAIF]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 December 2007
Acanalonia excavata
new record
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