Comparison of the life histories of two dicot-feeding Pissonotus planthoppers (Hemiptera: Delphacidae)
Bossert, Aaron Joseph
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Two species of in the planthopper genus Pissonotus (Homoptera: Delphacidae), P. piceus Van Duzee and P. delicatus Van Duzee, although physically very similar, feed on very different host plants in very different habitats. Pissonotus piceus feeds exclusively on a semiaquatic plant, whereas P. delicatus feeds on a dry upland adapted plant. In this study collection data were used to develop descriptions and keys to P. piceus nymphal instars. These data were also used to demonstrate that P. piceus populations respond to habitat disruption with an increase in the macropterous wing form. Field and greenhouse observations from 2009 and 2010 were used compare life histories and behaviors of P. piceus, which has few sap feeding competitors and numerous predators, to P. delicatus, which has numerous sap feeding competitors and few predators. Field collections were used to assess the insect and spider communities of the two respective host plants.