Draeculacephala portola Ball 1927c: 35

Published in: Ball, E.D. (1927c) The genus Draeculacephala and its allies in North America (Rhynchota, Homoptera). The Florida Entomologist 11, 33–40.

Description & Identification

Medium to large, slender species.male 5.60—6.60 mm., female 6.70—8.50 mm. (Nielson, 1968)General color green. Crown light green with linear markings; pronotum light green around anterior and lateral submargins, dark green apically; elytra dark green with apex weakly reticulated, veins light green.(Nielson, 1968)Pygofer in lateral aspect about twice as long as wide, caudodorsal margin produced posteriorly to elongate lobe; aedeagus in lateral aspect with distinct dorsal tooth, slightly constricted below dorsal tooth, shaft broad medially and convergent distally in ventral aspect, notched apically; paraphyses symmetrical with two pairs of processes, terminal pair distinctly curved and twice as long as basal pair; style in dorsal aspect with sharp lateral spine at apex; female seventh sternum in ventral aspect with small, rounded spatulate process on caudal margin. (Nielson, 1968)This species is very similar to minerva in genital characteristics and is difficult to separate. (Nielson 1968)

Biology & Ecology

The biology of this species is not well known. In 1927, Ball (32) collected it from coarse grass, probably Spartina in Florida. It has been observed feeding and breeding on sugarcane in Louisiana (Ingram et al. 1951 [384]). (Nielson, 1968)


Ball 1927c: 35

Additional Images

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

Worldwide Distribution

United States,Canada,Mexico,Honduras,Cuba,Hawaii.It is distributed in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, and Hawaii; the last locality was a result of an introduction (Young and Davidson 1959 [882]). It is rather common in the Eastern and Central United States, becoming less abundant in the West, particularly in California. (Nielson, 1968)

North America

Distribution point data provided by GBIF.

Vector Status

Economic Crops


This species is a vector of chlorotic streak virus of sugarcane in Louisiana, Pierce’s disease virus of grape in California, and a suspect vector of phony peach disease virus in Georgia. In 1942, Abbott and Ingram (3) were first to report transmission of chlorotic streak virus. The leafhoppers were permitted a feeding period from 7 to 14 days on healthy plants exposed in cages containing diseased plants. After 7 months, 25 of 490 plants exposed in this manner exhibited typical symptoms of chlorotic streak. Transmission of this virus has not been confirmed.Under the name 'californica,” Freitag et al. in 1952 (287) demonstrated the transmission of Pierce’s disease virus of grape and indicated that the species was one of the most efficient vectors. Leafhoppers fed on diseased plants from 1 to 2 days and on test plants from 2 to 10 days. Fifty-seven percent of the test plants were infected with the virus. The species was also found to be naturally infective (Freitag and Frazier 1954 [286]).In experiments on the transmission of phony peach disease virus, Turner and Pollard in 1955 (793) used mixed populations of portola and balti Van Duzee. Since females were involved in one successful case of transmission, a positive identification was not possible. Confirmation has not been reported.(Nielson 1968)This species is considered an important vector, since it was involved in transmission of three distinct viruses and is the only reported leafhopper vector of chlorotic streak of sugarcane. Further tests are necessary to confirm this species as a vector of phony peach virus and chlorotic streak virus of sugar-cane.(Nielson 1968)

Plant Diseases


Cicadellidae Cicadellinae Cicadellini Draeculacephala Grape Membracoidea North America Sugarcane

Draeculacephala portola Ball 1927c: 35: Wilson M. R. & Turner J. A. 2021. Insect Vectors of Plant Disease. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Available online at http://insectvectors.science/vector/1773. [ Accessed:  28/06/2022 ].
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