T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Hopper (Sage hopper) Eupteryx melissae

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Auchenorrhyncha
Superfamily: Cicadoidea
Family: Cicadellidae
Subfamily: Typhlocybinae
Tribe: Typhlocybini
Subtribe: Eupterygina
Genus: Eupteryx
Species: E. melissae
Binominal name: Eupteryx melissae
Common names: Sage Leafhopper, Herb Leafhopper, Tree Mallow Hopper, Chrysanthemum Leafhopper.

Eupteryx melissae is an adventive leafhopper native to Western Palaearctic (Europe, North Africa, northern and central parts of the Arabian Peninsula, and part of temperate Asia, to the Ural Mountains). It is now widespread through out the world. It is the commonest leafhopper to occur on sage hence its common name ‘Sage Leafhopper’. Its other hosts are lavender, mints, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, lemon balm, mallow, catmint, horehound, dead-nettle and the Phlomis species.
The adult Eupteryx melissae is about 3mm in length, and the body is white with brown patches. The distinguishing features of this leaf hopper are three dark spots on the upper surface of the head and six smaller spots along the anterior of the pronotum. On the scutellum there are two triangular dark spots.
Adults may remain active throughout the year in sheltered situations. They are very active and will jump when disturbed allowing them to escape predators with ease.

Eupteryx melissae lays eggs on the underside of a leaf in the veins and petioles. The eggs are so small they can not be detected with the naked eye. The larvae emerge a creamy white colour and develop dark bands as they get older. There are 5 instar stages. Nymphs are much less active than adults and are usually found under the leaves next to veins. 
Eupteryx melissae can have several generations during the summer months and the species in harsh conditions over winters as eggs on host plants.

An adult Eupteryx melissae (3mm) on a sage leaf.