blueberry leafhopper

(Scaphytopius magdalensis)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed


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not listed


not listed


Common and widespread in North America east of the Rocky Mountains


Two generations: April to September (North Carolina)


Forest edges, open woodlands, and shrubby areas


Total Length: to 3 16 (3.75 to 4.8 mm)

Male: average (4.5 mm)

Female: average 3 16 (4.8 mm)


Deltocephalinae is the largest subfamily of leafhoppers, representing 6,683 species in 923 genera. Many of these species are disease vectors, transmitting pathogens to economically important plants.

Blueberry leafhopper is common and widespread in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. It is known to occur in Minnesota, though no records of it in the state are available. It is found in forest edges, open woodlands, and shrubby areas, especially where its preferred host blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) is found. In addition to blueberry, its hosts include elm, grape, various ornamentals, and in the south, palm. In northeast North America it is an important vector of the phytoplasma, a virus-like pathogen, that causes the disease blueberry stunt.

Adults are dark brown and to 3 16 (3.75 to 4.8 mm) long. Females on average are 3 16 (4.8 mm) long, males a little smaller, (4.5 mm) long. The body is flattened laterally and tapered, appearing somewhat wedge-shaped from above. The background color is brownish-yellow (clay-colored) but it is so heavily speckled with dark brown that the overall color appears to be dark brown.

The head is angular and is flattened above. There are two large compound eyes and two tiny simple eyes (ocelli). The crown of the head, the only part visible when viewed from above, is triangular, flat, and narrower than the exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum). It is moderately pointed at the tip and about 1.5 times longer than the distance between the eyes. It is dark brown overall and has several milky-white or pale markings, including a longitudinal line (midline) from the tip about one-third the length of the crown; a thin line on each side of the midline; and a broken line near each lateral margin. The face, not visible from above, is dark brown. The cheeks (genae) are broadly expanded and extend behind the compound eyes. The antennae are short and bristle-like.

The pronotum does not extend over the abdomen. It is brown to reddish-brown with milky-white margins and five milky-white longitudinal lines. The plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is large, triangular, and dark brown to orange, with a pair of milky-white lines.

There are two pairs of wings, and they are held tent-like, almost vertically over the body when at rest. The forewings (hemelytra) are thickened, are longer than the body, and completely cover the sides of the body. On the female, the ovipositor extends beyond the wingtips. The hemelytra are comprised of a narrow area (clavus) behind the scutellum when the hemelytra are closed; and the remaining, broad, marginal area (corium). They are dark brown overall with numerous milky-white spots that are well-defined and at least partially bordered with dark brown. The leading margin of each hemelytron is milky-white and crossed by several bold dark lines. The tip is broadly rounded and has a black band and a white margin. The hindwings are thin, membranous, a little shorter than the hemelytra, and concealed beneath the hemelytra.

The legs are yellow. The fourth segment (tibia) of each hind leg has two rows of comb-like spines. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to a foot, has three segments.


Sharp-nosed leafhopper (Scaphytopius acutus) is darker overall and has a yellowish face.

Larval Food

Same as adult

Adult Food

Plant juices from the leaves of blueberry, elm, grape, and various ornamentals

Life Cycle




Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 29, 30.

Blueberry leafhopper is known to occur in Minnesota, but no records of it in the state can be found.


Disease Vector
Blueberry leafhopper is an important vector in northeastern United States of the phytoplasma, a virus-like pathogen, that causes the disease blueberry stunt.



Hemiptera (true bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids and allies)


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Auchenorrhyncha (free-living hemipterans)









Cicadellidae (leafhoppers)














Scaphytopius vaccinium











The thickened basal portion of the front wing that lies between the clavus and the membrane of insects in the family Hemiptera.



The forewing of true bugs (Order Hemiptera), thickened at the base and membranous at the tip. Plural: hemelytra.



The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.



Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.



A long needle-like tube on the abdomens of some female insects, used to inject eggs into soil or plant stems.



The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.



The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.



The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).






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Created: 1/20/2019

Last Updated:

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