The leafhoppers comprise by far the largest family within the Hemiptera, with approximately 19,500 described species in over 40 subfamilies (Oman et al. 1990a) of which the subfamily Cicadellinae comprises around 2,400 species in around 330 genera. The name “sharpshooter” for this group of xylem-feeding leafhoppers has increasingly been used especially in the USA. They are among the largest and most brightly coloured of the leafhoppers. Some species are important vectors of the xylem-limited bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which affects both citrus trees in Brazil as well as grapevines in southern USA.

The Cicadellinae, as currently defined, was revised by David Young (1915–1991) in three remarkable volumes (Young 1968a, 1977a, 1986a). The publication of these works has enabled the evaluation and description of additional genera and species, primarily by researchers in Brazil and China. The availability of these taxonomic monographs and subsequent publications, including the comprehensive catalogue (McKamey 2007) of all changes and additions from 1956 to mid-2006, has made the Cicadellinae a relatively well-known group.


This database was initially developed through funding provided by The Leverhulme Trust in 2010. 

The subsequent re-development of database (2019 -2021) has been undertaken as part of the BRIGIT project which was funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), by a grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Scottish Government.


Wilson M. R., Turner, J. A. & McKamey, S. H. 2020. Sharpshooter Leafhoppers of the World (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae subfamily Cicadellinae). Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Available online at [Accessed:  07/13/2024].

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A Brief History of Cicadelline Study

Linnaeus (1758a) described 4 cicadelline species in the genus Cicada, which included many other Auchenorrhyncha species, such as treehoppers, spittlebugs, planthoppers, and true cicadas. A first atte…

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Who Described the Species

Around 60 individuals have described species in the Cicadellinae since Linnaeus (1758a). However, around 65% of the total currently valid species (2,300 species) have been described by just 7 individ…

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The accumulation of specimens in any one museum is a result of geography, history, staff, and collectors. Despite the majority of species being found in the tropics of almost all of the world, Cicade…

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The higher classification of many groups of insects is in a state of constant discussion and different interpretation exist for many groups. The subfamily Cicadellinae is no exception.  Oman et al. (…

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