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Psyche
Volume 2012, Article ID 930975, 19 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/930975
Research Article

Life History of the Camelthorn Gall Leafhopper, Scenergates viridis (Vilbaste) (Hemiptera, Cicadellidae)

1Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya St. 123, 117647 Moscow, Russia
2Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Zoological Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, D-24098 Kiel, Germany

Received 28 December 2011; Accepted 8 February 2012

Academic Editor: Ai-Ping Liang

Copyright © 2012 Roman Rakitov and Esther Appel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The world’s only member of Hemiptera Auchenorrhyncha known to form true galls, the leafhopper Scenergates viridis (Vilbaste) (Cicadellidae), transforms leaves of camelthorn (Alhagi maurorum Medikus, Fabaceae) into pod-like chambers, up to 35 mm long, inside which individual leafhoppers develop, mate, and lay eggs. At the study site 40 km SE of Bukhara (Uzbekistan), two generations develop annually. First-instar nymphs cause young leaves to fold along the midrib. The subsequent development takes place inside the tightly closed growing gall, plugged at both ends with a mixture of leafhopper excrement, brochosomes, and crushed exuviae. These plugs act as mechanical barriers and sticky traps for intruders. The inner surface of the gall, lined with brochosomes and wax platelets, is hydrophobic. Adult males emerge from their galls and squeeze into female galls. Fertilized females insert an average of 146 eggs under the gall’s inner epidermis and remain inside, possibly protecting the brood, until they die. The walls of the galls containing eggs are approximately three times thicker than regular leaves. The galls are subject to predation by Gelechiidae caterpillars; the eggs of the leafhopper are parasitized by two species of Trichogrammatidae and one Mymaridae (Hymenoptera), and its larvae by one species of Pipunculidae (Diptera).