The planthopper family Delphacidae is a speciose lineage of phloem-feeding insects, with many species considered as pests of economic significance on essential world food commodities (including rice, maize, wheat, barley and sugar cane). Despite their economic importance, evolutionary relationships among delphacids, particularly those within the speciose tribe Delphacini, are largely unknown. Presented here are the results of a phylogenetic investigation of Delphacidae based on DNA nucleotide sequence data from four genetic loci (18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, wingless and cytochrome oxidase I) and 132 coded morphological characters. The resulting topologies are used to test the higher classification of Delphacidae and to examine evolutionary patterns in host-plant associations. Our results generally support the higher classifications of Delphacidae proposed by Asche, Emeljanov and Hamilton, and suggest that the rapid diversification of the Delphacini was associated with host shifts to, and within, Poaceae, and specifically from C3 to C4 grasses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science