Species Account

BM(NHM).1988.343; Male; 'Wake Co. Raleigh, N Carolina, US'

BM(NHM).1988.343; Female; 'Wake Co. Raleigh, N Carolina, US'

BM(NHM).1988.343; Male; 'Wake Co. Raleigh, N Carolina, US'
NMW Image No. E000788

Xyphon flaviceps (Riley 1880a: 78)

Membracoidea : Cicadellidae

Yellow Headed Sharpshooter

Diseases Transmitted

Distribution Map
(simplified continental distribution)
Geographical Distribution:
North America

Recorded Distribution(s):
It is found primarily in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States. Nottingham in 1932 (570) recorded it from South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Loui¬siana, Virginia, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Records of this species from California, Arizona, and Mexico are erroneous. (Nielson, 1968)

Xyphon flaviceps (Riley 1880a: 78)
Diseases Transmitted Pathogen Type
Crops Affected by Xyphon flaviceps (Riley 1880a: 78)
Rice Citrus Carrot
Barley Apple Tomato
Maize (Corn) Pear Potato
Sugarcane Elm Strawberry
Wheat Palms Rubus
Sorghum Grapevine Papaya
Other (grasses/cereals) Ornamentals Peach

This species is a vector of Pierce’s disease virus of grape in the Southeastern United States. Stoner et al. in 1951 (764) first recorded the species as a suspect vector of this virus in Florida, but actual transmission of the virus was not accomplished until later (Stoner 1953 and 1953) [760, 761]. Both natural and experimental transmissions of the virus from diseased grape to healthy grape and alfalfa plants were demonstrated. In 1957, Crall and Stover (148) confirmed transmission of the virus, in which 31 percent of the grape plants tested became diseased.
(Nielson 1968)

T his species was not considered as effective in transmitting the virus as other vector species. However, it is considered an important vector in view of its association with bermudagrass in vineyards and its ability to transmit the virus naturally.
(Nielson 1968)

Identification Plates
Xyphon flaviceps

Under Development

Under Development

Under Development

Under Development

Under Development

Under Development

Under Development

Under Development

Under Development

Plate 1
Species Description

Medium size, slender species. Length of male 4.30—4.90 mm, female 5.00—6.00 mm.

General color yellowish red with pronounced venation. Crown light reddish; pronotum yellowish red; elytra yellowish brown, reticulated at apex, veins dull yellow.

Pygofer in lateral aspect twice as long as wide, caudodorsal margin produced posteriorly to convex lobe; aedeagus in lateral aspect simple, narrowed apieally, small tooth near base on dorsal margin, shaft platelike, broad basally, somewhat narrowed distally and notched apically in ventral aspect; gonopore apical; aedeagal processes symmetrical; style in dorsal aspect simple, sharply narrowed distally; female seventh sternum in ventral aspect with middle of caudal margin slightly produced posteriorly.

Species Diagnosis

From fulgida, to which it is similar in genital characteristics, flaviceps can be separated by the aedeagus with the shaft broad basally and narrowed distally.

(Nielson 1968)


Host Plant Activity Period (Months) Dormancy Generations
- -
Eggs -
Nymphs -
Adult -
One per year -
Continuous -
Variable -
Xyphon flaviceps (Riley 1880a: 78)

Higher taxonomy

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Superfamily Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Hemiptera
Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha
Infraorder: Cicadamorpha
Membracoidea Cicadellidae
Subfamily: Cicadellinae
Xyphon flaviceps (Riley 1880a: 78)
Nielson, M. W. 1968b. The leafhopper vectors of phytopathogenic viruses (Homoptera, Cicadellidae). Taxonomy, biology and virus transmission. United States Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin . 1382 386 pp.
Record last updated - 12/09/2019