Oncometopia orbona (Fabricius 1798a: 520)

Broad-headed sharpshooter

Basionym: ? orbona Fabricius, 1798
Published in: Fabricius, J.C. (1798a) Ryngota. In Entomologiae Systematicae Supplementum. Hafniae, Proft et Starch. pp. 511–524.

Description & Identification

Very large, robust species. male 11.50—12.50 mm., female 12.00—12.80 mm. (Nielson, 1968)General colour light brown to nearly black. Crown and pronotum light brown with black markings, surface coarsely rugulose; elytra brown to black, apex brown. (Nielson, 1968)Pygofer in lateral aspect about as long as wide, caudal margin broadly convex, ventral margin with long spine projecting posteriorly; aedeagus in lateral aspect with large ventral spine, recurved, elongate, attenuated apically; aedeagal shaft with broad projection extending dorsad and narrow constricted distal process, distal process with sharp spine at apex, ventral surface of aedeagal shaft with sagittal groove; style in dorsal aspect simple, apex truncate; female seventh sternum in ventral aspect with caudal margin trilobed. (Nielson, 1968)This species is related to and sometimes confused with nigricans, but can be separated by the aedeagus with a very broad ventral process and a short curved process distad of the aedeagal shaft. (Nielson 1968)

Biology & Ecology

The biology of this species was thoroughly studied by Turner and Pollard in 1959 (1959). Their results are summarized here. Host plants included 47 species in 25 families upon which it fed and 18 species in which it laid eggs. Preference for sunflower, hollyhock, okra, lambsquarters, ash, oak, silktree, and crapemyrtle was noted and peach was particularly favored in the spring and fall. This species overwintered as adults in wooded areas and moved into peach orchards and to trees and shrubs around homesteads in the early spring. In the summer, feeding was generally confined to herbaceous plants growing in open fields, then in the fall populations moved into peach orchards and other areas inhabited by trees and shrubs. When hosts were abundant, it was a solitary feeder, but it became gregarious when host plants were scarce. Studies in the insectary revealed that the species mated only once and laid eggs that hatched in about 12 days. Herbaceous plants were preferred over woody plants for oviposition. The average length of the nymphal stage in the first generation was 57.1 days, second generation 60.3 days, and through the fourth instar in the third generation 39.4 days. Adult longevity averaged 56 to 68. days among generations. Two generations and a partial third were produced. (Nielson, 1968)


(Fabricius 1798a: 520)


? undata Fabricius, 1794
Oncometopia undata (Fabricius, 1794)
Proconia undata (Fabricius, 1794)
Tettigonia undata (Fabricius, 1794)
? orbona Fabricius, 1798
Parametopia orbona (Fabricius, 1798)
Proconia orbona (Fabricius, 1798)
Tettigonia orbona (Fabricius, 1798)

Common Names (full list)

Broad-headed sharpshooter
Source: Catalogue of Life Checklist

Additional Images

Images provided by GBIF data providers. We cannot verify that identifications are correct.

Worldwide Distribution

United States,Brazil(Metcalf Cat.),United States(Young 1968a).This is a predominant species in the Southeastern and Central United States. In 1959, Turner and Pollard (794) recorded it from Florida north to Maryland and west to Illinois, Missouri, and Texas. Schroder (670) reported it from northern Mexico in 1959. It may also occur in Arizona. (Nielson, 1968)

North America
South America

Distribution point data provided by GBIF.

Vector Status

Economic Crops


This species is a vector of phony peach disease virus and Pierce’s disease virus of grape in Georgia. In 1949, Turner (792) first reported the transmission of phony peach disease virus by this species under the name of 'Oncometopia undata (Fabricius).” Confirmation was obtained by Turner and Pollard in 1959 (795), who found that the species was the most efficient (33.0 percent) vector tested among four other leafhopper species. The vector became infective after an acquisition feeding period of 1 day, but usually required 3 to 4 days. The latent period of the virus in the insect was about 15 days. Tests indicated that this species was capable of transmitting the virus naturally, although as a vector it was not considered as efficient as coagulate. In 1962, Kaloostian et al. (408) reported this species as a vector of Pierce’s disease virus of grape in Georgia. Transmission was accomplished after a 3-day acquisition feeding period and a 21- to 105-day transmission feeding period.(Nielson 1968)This species is considered second in importance as a vector of phony peach disease virus and of some importance as a vector of Pierce’s disease virus of grape in Georgia.(Nielson 1968)

Plant Diseases


EFSA, 2019.

Pest categorisation of non-EU Cicadomorpha vectors of Xylella spp.

Nielson, M. W. 1968b. The leafhopper vectors of phytopathogenic viruses (Homoptera, Cicadellidae). Taxonomy, biology and virus transmission.


EFSA, 2019.

Pest categorisation of non-EU Cicadomorpha vectors of Xylella spp.

Nielson, M. W. 1968b. The leafhopper vectors of phytopathogenic viruses (Homoptera, Cicadellidae). Taxonomy, biology and virus transmission.


Cicadellidae Cicadellinae Grape Membracoidea North America Oncometopia Peach Proconiini South America Phony peach disease Pierce's disease Xylella fastidiosa

Oncometopia orbona (Fabricius 1798a: 520): Wilson M. R. & Turner J. A. 2021. Insect Vectors of Plant Disease. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Available online at http://insectvectors.science/vector/1762. [ Accessed:  28/11/2023 ].
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