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608-266-4340

Red-tailed Prairie Leafhopper (Aflexia rubranura)


Overview

Overview

Red-Tailed Leafhopper (Aflexia rubranura), a leafhopper Endangered in Wisconsin, inhabits dry to wet-mesic prairies with the host plant, prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis).

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Red-tailed Prairie Leafhopper (Aflexia rubranura). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.


Documented locations of Aflexia rubranura in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2?
Global RankG2
Tracked by NHIY
WWAP SGCN

Species guidance


Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication PUB-ER-085-99 (now out-of-print).

Identification: A flightless insect, less than 4.0 mm in length, with pale yellowish coloration accented by a series of dark, transverse bands across the head and pronotum in a brick-like pattern. About 10% of early flight females have wings. The male has two red spots near the tail, thus the name red-tailed leafhopper. Found by vigorous sweep netting of the host plant.

Habitat: Inhabitants of dry to wet-mesic prairies with the host plant, prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), the species appears to be absent from prairies in southwestern Wisconsin.

State Distribution: Occurs in Dane, Fond du Lac Iowa, Green Lake, Jefferson, Kenosha, Monroe, Sauk, Walworth, and Waukesha Counties of Wisconsin.

Phenology: The leafhopper is specific to prairie dropseed, on which it lives and feeds. Bivoltine (2 generations) in southeastern Wisconsin, adults of the first generation are present from mid-June to mid-July, and the second generation of adults is present late August through September. In northwestern Wisconsin, the species is univoltine with adults during late July to mid-August. Females deposit eggs into the grass tissue. Newly hatched nymphs resemble adults and mature through several stages changing in size and proportion. It is unclear where on the plants the adults and nymphs are usually located. Apparently, eggs overwinter in stems of the dropseed plants.

Management Guidelines: Red-tailed leafhopper populations appear to recover slowly after fire, taking the populations 2-4 years to rebound. Univoltine populations are slower to recover. The leafhoppers have been found to survive on burned sites in very low numbers and recovery is largely by migration from unburned areas. As a flightless insect, the leafhopper travels slowly from unburned areas and such refugia must include enough prairie dropseed to sustain the population. Grazing reduces prairie dropseed. Mowing seems to have little effect on leafhopper populations and can be useful to remove woody plants encroaching on the prairie but does not remove the thatch buildup that eventually reduces prairie dropseed.

Photos/Video

Photos


Red-tailed Prairie Leafhopper

Photo © Eric Maurer.


Last revised: Thursday, May 04, 2017