Commercial sugarcane is derived from the island of New Guinea, although it is now grown in many parts of the tropical world. In New Guinea many different insects may be found feeding on native sugarcane. Among them many species of the Delphacid planthopper genus Perkinsiella are found only on sugarcane. One species almost destroyed the Hawaiian sugar industry 100 years ago, when it was accidentally imported. Another genus, Eumetopina has around 15 species found only on sugarcane in New Guinea and elsewhere in SE Asia, of which perhaps 10 are undescribed. One described species is known in PNG to spread a disease to sugarcane. Current research work in Australia is attempting to assess the risk of this species and the disease to the Australian sugar industry.
The outputs of this project will be to provide a taxonomic revision of the species and to describe new species, based on fieldwork carried out in Indonesia and by others in PNG and on specimens loaned from various museums, in Australia and in Hawaii.