Leafhoppers and planthoppers are among the most abundant group of insects. They all feed from plant tissue using their piercing and sucking mouthparts, and many are important pests of crop plants spreading diseases during their feeding. Many of the crops most affected by planthopper and leafhopper-borne diseases are those which significantly impact subsistence farmers in the developing world, including coconut, rice, potato, maize, sugarcane. However, few comprehensive identification keys are available to them and details of pest species are mostly scattered in specialist literature.
The aim of the project is to provide a comprehensive and accessible guide to the leafhopper and planthopper vectors of phytoplasma, bacteria and virus diseases. The datasheets will be aimed at both professional use as well as by workers in developing countries seeking to find accurate information on identification. The approach to be taken of web-based and published handbook will make dissemination easy, flexible and inexpensive. The work will directly assist in identification of known vectors but should also lead to more rapid progress in discovering further vector species.