Submitted to: Boletin de Entomolgia Venezolana
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 2, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Many plant diseases are spread by hemipteran insects of the family Cicadellidae (leafhoppers), causing hundreds of millions of dollars of crop loss annually worldwide. The tribe Megophthalmini is a widespread group of uncertain origin, and may prove important in the construction of a predictive higher classification, which is needed to effectively judge the pest potential of many leafhopper species. However, construction of a predictive classification of leafhoppers is hampered by major gaps in knowledge of various groups, including the Megophthalmini. This paper describes a new genus of the tribe, providing the first record of the group from South America and exhibiting novel features that provide evidence of relationship to other subfamilies. This paper will be important for research workers in the study of systematics and governmental workers (including APHIS) needing to recognize species not indigenous to the United dStates of America and, eventually, wishing to predict the pest potential o specific leafhoppers.
Jaita tachirensis, new genus and species, is described from the Andes mountains of Tachira, Venezuela, the first record of the tribe Megophthalmini in the New World south of Mexico. It's affinities to other world Megophthalminae, including to the Chilean tribe Evansiolini, are discussed. A key to the New World Megophthalminae genera is provided.