ASPECTS OF THE ECOLOGY OF SPITTLEBUGS (HOMOPTERA: CERCOPIDAE) IN NSUKKA, SOUTH EAST, NIGERIA

Vincent Chikwendu EJERE, Helen Tochi OKPARA

Abstract


Species type and pattern of distribution of spittlebugs was studied from 6th March to 15th December 2009 within the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus. Three spittlebug species namely, Deois flavopicta, Aphrophora saratogensis and Philaenus spumarius were identified within the University campus. Whereas A. saratogensis was most abundant in September, D. flavopicta occurred most in October while P. spumarius was most abundant in November. The population of nymphs was found to increase with increasing rainfall and declined as the dry season began. A total of thirty-two (32) host plant species consisting of grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees were identified as habitats for the three spittlebug species. Whereas D. flavopicta and A. saratogensis inhabited only grasses and herbs, P. spumarius inhabited a mixture of trees and shrubs. Although no obvious effect of the activities of D. flavopicta and A. saratogensis was noticed on host plants, there was flaking, deflowering and fruiting, as well as drying up effects on Ricinus communis during heavy invasion by larvae of P. spumarius.

 


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A Publication of Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.