Within the insect Order Hemiptera there are around 20,000 described leafhoppers and of these about 2,300 are in the subfamily Cicadellinae. They all feed from the sap of plants and some are of economic importance due to their spreading plant disease. The Cicadellinae are often known as Sharpshooters because of the way the excess sap is ejected forcefully from the body. For the past 2 years the Leverhulme Trust has financed a project to make digital images of world species and we now have 88% (around 2000 species) of the fauna imaged. These images will be made available through a web-based database as well as by the publication of a series of illustrated checklists to the world fauna. The first volume of images of species found in the Old World will be published as a BioTir volume in 2008.
In addition the EU Synthesys programme has enabled visits to most of the major museums in continental Europe where historic collections of this insect group are deposited. These visits, as well as contributing specimens to the project, have provided information leading to a series of research papers on this group of leafhoppers.Sharpshooter Leafhoppers of the World Database