Worcestershire Record No. 23 November 2007 p. 48


John Partridge

Encouraged by John Meiklejohn that leafhoppers are ‘do-able’ I started collecting some towards the end of the summer, and have been rewarded by finding quite a few that have not been recorded before in the county. Most of them are common, but on one of Rosemary Winnal’s Wyre Forest days (01.08.2007) I found a specimen of Athysanus argentarius, which various accounts suggested was restricted to the south-east in this country. During the following two months I found it in four locations round Redditch, which suggests that it is here in quantity. It is just about striking enough to be noticed in the net, so it may be a recent arrival. Further enquiries revealed that a distribution map had been published in: The Changing Wildlife of Great Britain and Ireland (ed. D.L. Hawksworth) 2001. This map shows the species still some distance from Worcestershire.

National distribution - pre-1960 in red, 1960-2000 in green, Worcestershire 2007 in yellow. Adapted from Hawksworth Athysanus argentarius head. Photo John Partridge

In October, Gary Farmer e-mailed me with news of a sighting of the Rhododendron Leaf Hopper, Graphocephala fennahi, at Witley Court (14.10.2007); it was a species that he had come across in the south of England on holiday, so he was familiar with it. I wasn’t, and looked it up on the web, so I was well primed to identify it when I saw one on a Walnut tree in Arley Arboretum on 21.10.2007. By another strange coincidence, this also has a distribution map in the above publication, showing that this species has moved at a similar rate. I have searched two locations in Redditch with rhododendrons, but not found any specimens. The grey-scale picture will not do the picture any justice, but you can find many images on the web, or on our web-site in a few month’s time. The RES Key Hemiptera, Cicadomorpha published in 1965 quotes “this American genus has been introduced into Britain, where it has spread fairly widely” and later “S. and C. England, as far N. as Cheshire.”

The Leafhoppers and Planthoppers of Germany says “This is a Nearctic species which was introduced probably with its host plants and which occurs in Europe at least since the 1930s, initially in England, since the 1970s also in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Germany…” So perhaps we just haven’t noticed it – or maybe you know different?

National distribution - 1960-2000 in green, Worcestershire 2007 in yellow. Adapted from Hawksworth Rhododendron Leaf Hopper, Graphocephala fennahi. Photo Gary Farmer


KIRBY P, STEWART A.J.A. & WILSON M.R. 2001. True bugs, leaf- and planthoppers and their allies. In: The Changing Wildlife of Great Britain and Ireland (ed. D.L. Hawksworth), pp. 262-299.  Taylor & Francis, London.
LE QUESNE WJ. 1965 Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, Vol. II, Part 2(a). Hemiptera, Cicadomorpha. Royal.Entomological.Society. London.
NICKEL, HERBERT 2003. The Leafhoppers and Planthoppers of Germany. Co-published by Pensoft Publishers, Sofia-Moscow, and Goecke & Evers, Keltern
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