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For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
For information on Wisconsin's rare invertebrates, contact:
Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Prairie Leafhopper (Polyamia dilata)



Prairie Leafhopper (Polyamia dilata), listed as State Threatened, is light gray to tan with wings shorter than the abdomen. Wings are veined with white and heavily margined with brown. The lower face is dark with pale arcs. Length 2.5-2.75 mm. It occurs in upland dry to dry-mesic bluff prairies, sand prairies, and sandy barrens supporting prairie grasses.

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 Prairie Leafhopper (Polyamia dilata). 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 Polyamia dilata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankGNR
Tracked by NHIY

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 light gray to tan leafhopper with wings shorter than the abdomen. Wings are veined with white and heavily margined with brown. The lower face is dark with pale arcs. Ocelli (simple eyes) are present with a black spot just interior to them. Length 2.5-2.75 mm. Found by vigorous sweepnetting of the grasses in appropriate habitat. This species resembles others of the genus, but usually lacks the dark head pattern of many other Polyamia. Specimens of suspected P. dilata must be sent to a specialist for identification.

Habitat: Inhabitants of upland dry to dry mesic bluff prairies, sand prairies, or sandy barrens supporting prairie grasses. The host plant is unknown but may be little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) or one of the panic grasses of the subgenus Dicanthelium.

State Distribution: Occurs in Crawford, Dane, Iowa, Jackson, LaFayette, Monroe, Pierce, and Sauk Counties of Wisconsin.

Phenology: Feeds on grasses like other prairie specialist leafhoppers. Univoltine in the Midwest, adults are present from early August through September. Females deposit eggs into the grass tissue. The species spends the winter in the egg stage.

Management Guidelines: Preliminary observations indicate that P. dilata is fire sensitive. This species has been found in Wisconsin primarily on prairie sites that have never been burned or have been burned no more recently than 5-6 years ago.



Prairie Leafhopper

Photo © Eric Maurer.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Prairie Leafhopper. Only natural communities for which Prairie Leafhopper is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Prairie Leafhopper. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Prairie Leafhopper occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, December 22, 2022