Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Kallitaxila crini
(green tropiduchid)



Kallitaxila crini (green tropiduchid)


  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Kallitaxila crini
  • Preferred Common Name
  • green tropiduchid
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Kallitaxila crini is a species of planthopper which has been introduced to Guam, the largest of the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where it is a potential threat to an endangered tree species, Serian...

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Kallitaxila crini (Matsumura), 1914

Preferred Common Name

  • green tropiduchid

Other Scientific Names

  • Tambinia crini Matsumura, 1914

International Common Names

  • English: planthopper

Summary of Invasiveness

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Kallitaxila crini is a species of planthopper which has been introduced to Guam, the largest of the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where it is a potential threat to an endangered tree species, Serianthes nelsonii. There is very little information about the distribution range and invasiveness of this species. It has been reported to be present on Honshu and the Bonin Islands of Japan and has been recorded as an invasive species in New Caledonia, however its specific impact does not appear to be documented.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Fulgoroidea
  •                                 Family: Tropiduchidae
  •                                     Genus: Kallitaxila
  •                                         Species: Kallitaxila crini

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Previously known as Tambinia crini, this species was renamed Kallitaxila crini in 1971 (FLOW, 2016).


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Planthoppers are insects that feed on plants by sucking sap from the plant tissues using their stylets (Backus, 1985). In general, leafhopper adults are often narrow and angular in appearance (Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016a).

Planthoppers (superfamily Fulgoroidea) are characterized by morphological characters such as Y-shaped claval veins, placement of antennae and eyes, the number of spines on their hind legs and behavioural characteristics like feeding on phloem and jumping (O’Brien, 2002).

Individuals of the family Tropiduchidae, to which K. crini belongs, are generally 5-13 mm (O’Brien, 2002). They have a rounded rear edge of the scutellum. They also have a groove or fine line separating the apex of the mesonotum from the rest of the mesonotal disc (Liang, 2003).

Kallitaxila planthoppers have one complete and one incomplete carina on either side of pronotum between eye and tegula, and by their vertex with sublateral carinae that are distinct and stubby (Wang and Liang, 2011).

On the adult K. crini, there are two subcostal cells at the base of the oblique nodal line of transverse wing veinlets (Fennah, 1971). The vertex is more than 1.4 times as broad at base as long in the middle (Fennah, 1971). Fennah (1971) also describes the anal segment of the male as having apical angles, in side view, broadly subrectal-angulately rounded, and describes the phallobase of the aedeagus as not elevated distally.


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Specific information about the distribution of Kallitaxila crini is sparse. New South Wales Government (2016) suggests that there are a dozen species of Kallitaxila distributed between the Philippines and China (ITIS (2016) lists 16 species in the genus). 

FLOW (2016) lists the geographical distribution as Japan (Ogasawara-Shoto or Bonin Islands), citing Matsumura (1914) and Fennah (1971). K. crini is also reported to be on Honshu (Search System of Japanese Red Data, 2016).

K. crini has also been reported from Guam (US Fish and Wildlife Service 1994; Campbell, 2003) and New Caledonia (Jourdan, 2006) where it is considered invasive in both locations.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Bonin IslandPresentMatsumura, 1914; Fennah, 1971
-HonshuPresentSearch System of Japanese Red Data, 2016Saitama, Tokyo and Kanagawa


GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1994; Campbell, 2003
New CaledoniaPresent Invasive Jourdan, 2006

Risk of Introduction

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Planthoppers are small and inconspicuous, so wherever infected plant materials are transported, it is possible that these insects could be introduced and become established if conditions are favourable.


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Where it has been identified as a threat to Seriathes nelsonii in Guam, it is found in native limestone forest (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1994).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details

Biology and Ecology

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There is little available information on the genetics of planthoppers, although some phylogenetic studies are beginning to elucidate the relationships between the families in the superfamily, Fulgoroidea (Yeh et al., 2005).

Information on planthopper genetics is provided by Wilson et al. (1994), Urban & Cryan (2007), Cryan & Urban (2011) and Gnezdilov (2013).

Reproductive Biology

Most planthopppers lay their eggs in plant tissues, and some species, such as Kallitaxila granulata, have been found to adjust their patterns of egg distribution according to the host plant (Yang et al., 2001).            

Physiology and Phenology

Most planthoppers feed by sucking sap from phloem, some feed on fungi (Wilson et al., 1994). They generally move slowly to avoid detection by predators, but are agile and can move forwards, backwards and sideways like a crab (Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016a). Both larvae and adults are able to move in this distinctive sideways direction, and this distinguishes them from most other insects (Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016b). They can also hop to escape danger and to move from plant to plant (Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016a).

Planthoppers undergo gradual metamorphosis from larvae (nymphs) that look more and more like the adults after each moult, and gradually develop wings that begin as tiny wingbuds (Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016b).


Some planthoppers are vectors of plant viruses, bacteria and phytoplasmas (Wilson, 2005; Wilson and Turner, 2010).


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Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
15 -22

Notes on Natural Enemies

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In general, planthoppers are predated by some beetles, lacewings, damsel bugs and spiders (Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016a).

Planthoppers may be affected by parasitoids, for example Kallitaxila granulata eggs in Hawaii, USA, were found to carry Chaetomymar sp. (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) and Telenomus sp. (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) (Yang et al., 2001).

Impact Summary

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Environment (generally) Negative

Impact: Environmental

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Jourdan (2006) includes K. crini in a table of "Invasive Species in the Caledonian Archilpelago" but details on the impact of the species are not provided.

Impact on Biodiversity

K. crini has been introduced to Guam in the Mariana Islands where it is a suspected herbivore of Serianthes nelsonii (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1994; Wiles et al., 1996), a critically endangered (IUCN, 2016) tree species which is endemic to Guam and Rota.

Risk and Impact Factors

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  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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K. crini is similar to K. auster, K. boninensis and K. suturalis, being distinguished by the number of subcostal cells on wings and the ratio of width to length in the middle of the vertex (Fennah, 1971).  

Kallitaxila planthoppers can be distinguished from similar genera (Nesotaxila, Kallitambinia and Tambinia) by their one complete and one incomplete carina on either side of pronotum between eye and tegula, and by their vertex with sublateral carinae that are distinct and stubby (Wang and Liang, 2011).

Prevention and Control

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Biological control

Introducing natural parasitoids and predators, and providing predators with alternative food sources for when planthopper populations are low, has been suggested as a way to control some planthoppers that are important agricultural pests (Weintraub and Wilson, 2010).

Chemical control

Planthoppers can be controlled by applying insecticidal soap when the insects are immature (Missouri Botanical Gardens, 2016a). Insecticides that can be used against planthoppers include: botanical pyrethrins, carbaryl (Sevin), malathion, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, bendiocarb (Turcam, Closure), disulfoton (Disyston), and acephate (Orthene) (Missouri Botanical Gardens, 2016a).

Monitoring and Surveillance

Many leafhoppers are attracted to yellow sticky traps which should be placed close to the foliage of the crop (Missouri Botanical Gardens, 2016a). Populations can be monitored with sticky traps and low populations can be managed using these traps (Missouri Botanical Gardens, 2016a).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Information about the suborder Auchenorrhyncha is out of date and sparse, with the complete species having been described in only a few countries (O’Brien, 2002).

Very little information on the specific biology and life history of K. crini has been identified.


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Backus EA, 1985. Anatomical and sensory mechanisms of leafhopper and planthopper feeding behavior. In: The leafhoppers and planthoppers [ed. by Nault LR, Rodriguez JG]. New York, USA: John Wiley & Sons, 163-194.

Campbell RK, 2003. Guam. Invasive alien species in the Austral-Pacific Region, National reports and directory of resources [ed. by Shine C, Reaser JK, Gutierrez AT]. Cape Town, South Africa: The Global Invasive Species Programme.

Chinery M, 1993. Field Guide to Insects of Britain and Northern Europe. London, UK: Harper Collins, 320 pp.

Cryan JR; Urban JM, 2011. Higher-level phylogeny of the insect order Hemiptera: is Auchenorrhyncha really paraphyletic? Systematic Entomology, 37(1):7-21.

Fennah RG, 1971. Insects of Micronesia. Homoptera : Fulgoroidea. Supplement. Insects of Micronesia, 6(8):563-609.

FLOW, 2016. Hemiptera Databases. Tropiduchidae. Fulgoromorpha Lists On the Web.

Gnezdilov VM, 2013. Contribution to the taxonomy of the family Tropiduchidae Stal (Hemiptera, Fulgoroidea) with description of two new tribes from Afrotropical Region. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift, 60(2):179-191.

ITIS, 2016. Integrated Taxonomic Information System online database.

IUCN, 2016. The IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.

Jourdan H, 2006. Invertebrates menacing for the Neo-Caledonian archipelago recommendations for their prevention. (Les invertebres menacants pour l'archipel neo-caledonien: recommandations pour leur prevention). Invasive species in the Neo-Caledonian archipelago. IRD.

Liang A-P, 2003. A New Genus of Tropiduchidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) from China and Vietnam, with Description of Eggs. The Florida Entomologist, 86(3):361-369.

Matsumura S, 1914. Contribution to the knowledge Fulgoriden Japan. (Beitrag zur Kenntnis Fulgoriden Japans). Annales Historico - Naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici. Budapest, 12. 261-305.

Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016. Hempitera-Leafhoppers & Planthoppers, suborder Auchenorrhyncha (includes cucadas, spittlebugs, treehoppers). Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.

Missouri Botanic Garden, 2016. Leafhoppers and planthoppers. Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.

New South Wales Government, 2016. Genus Kallitaxila Kirkaldy. Industry and Investment New South Wales. New South Wales, Australia.

Norris A, 2015. The planthopper nymph's dazzling style of protection. Mother Nature Network.

O'Brien, 2002. The wild wonderful world of Fulgoromorpha. Denisia 04, zugleich Kataloge des OÖ. Landesmuseums, Neue Folge, 176, 83-102.

Search System of Japanese Red Data, 2016. Kallitaxila crini. Japan: NPO Wildlife Survey Association, NPO Corporation Envision Environmental Protection Office.

Urban JM; Cryan JR, 2007. Evolution of the planthoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 42(2):556-572.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1994. Recovery Plan for Serianthes nelsonii. Recovery Plan for Serianthes nelsonii. Portland, Oregon, USA: US Fish and Wildlife Service, 60 pp.

Wang R; Liang A, 2011. Taxonomic review of the genus Tambinia Stal (Hemiptera, Fulgoromorpha, Tropiduchidae) with descriptions of four new species from the Pacific region. Zookeys, 132:13-31.

Weintraub PG; Wilson MR, 2010. Control of Phytoplasma Diseases and Vectors. In: Phytoplasmas: Genomes, Plant Hosts and Vectors [ed. by Weintraub PG, Jones P]. Wallingford, UK: CABI publishing, 233-249.

Wiles GJ; Schreiner IH; Nafus D; Jurgensen LK; Manglona JC, 1996. The status, biology, and conservation of Serianthes nelsonii (Fabaceae), an endangered Micronesian tree. Biological Conservation, 76(3):229-239.

Wilson MR; Turner JA, 2010. Leafhopper, Planthopper and Psyllid Vectors of Plant Disease. Wales, UK: Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museum Wales, Department of Biodiversity & Systematic Biology.

Wilson SW, 2005. Keys to the families of Fulgoromorpha with emphasis on planthoppers of potential economic importance in the Southeastern United States (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha). Florida Entomologist, 88(4):464-481.

Wilson SW; Mitter C; Denno RF; Wilson MR, 1994. Evolutionary patterns of host plant use by delphacid planthoppers and their relatives. In: Planthoppers: Their Ecology and Management [ed. by Denno, R. F. \Perfect, T. J.]., New York: Chapman and Hall, 7-45.

Yang P; Alyokhin A; Messing R, 2001. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society, 35. 77-83.

Yang PJ; Alyokhin A; Messing R, 2002. Patterns of oviposition and parasitism of eggs of Kallitaxila granulata (Homoptera: Tropiduchidae), a newly invasive planthopper in Hawaii. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society, 35. 77-83.

Yeh WB; Yang CT; Hui CF, 2005. A molecular phylogeny of planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) inferred from mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences. Zoological Studies, 44(4):519-535.


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16/05/2016 Original text by:

Vicki Cottrell, Consultant, UK

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