Identification of Neotropical Nogodinidae

Nogodinids are a small, odd family of mostly tropical planthoppers, consisting of lacy-winged Ricaniid-like forms as well as opaque-winged Issid-like forms. In the new world, the family is found throughout Central and South America, with a single species adventive in the US (Florida). This post seeks to clarify identification of the "Ricaniid-like" species of the subtribe Nogodinina.

Above: some examples of neotropical Nogodinidae. Photos © Rich Hoyer ( @birdernaturalist ) some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA)

While there are not many genera concerned in this group and identification is not complicated, most of the relevant documentation was written in German. Due to this, I produce here in English an illustrated key to the genera of Nogodinina, modified from Schmidt 1919. In Central America, all species will key to either one of the first two genera here; the remaining genera are exclusively South American.

1a. Four main veins arise from the basal cell (fig 1): Nogodina
1b. Three main veins arise from the basal cell (fig 2) . . . . . . . . . . 2

Fig 1: Nogodina venation at basal cell

Fig 2: Biolleyana venation at basal cell

2a. Transverse veins in the clavus (fig 3, in red): Biolleyana
2b. Clavus lacking transverse veins . . . . . . . . . 3

3a. Tegmina (forewings) 1.5 times as long as wide at the widest point; apical edge truncated; costal edge strongly bent; costal membrane with more than ten transverse nerves (fig 3, in blue). . . . . . . . . .4
3b. Tegmina twice as long as wide at the widest point, apex not truncated; costal edge not sharply bent; less than 10 transverse nerves in the costal membrane: Orthothyreus

4a. Medial cell with transverse vein: Neovarcia
4b. Medial cell lacking transverse vein (fig 3, in yellow): Varciopsis

Fig 3: Biolleyana pictifrons, © @jsatler, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC), photo modified to highlight veins in the clavus (red), in the costal membrane (blue), and the median cell (yellow)

As stated above, Central American species will key to either Nogodina (one species) or Biolleyana (three species). All five genera may be found in South America. As the majority of observations on iNat are of the genus Biolleyana though, I present here a simplified key to the species in that genus.

1a. Transverse veins in costal membrane few (under 15), widely spaced (fig 4): Biolleyana costalis. Costa Rica to Ecuador
1b. Transverse veins in costal membrane numerous (more than 15), dense (fig 5). . . . . . . . . . 2

2a. Wings weakly maculated, yellowish; most conspicuous mark a bold spot near the stigma (fig 5): Biolleyana fenestra. Costa Rica to Panama
2b. Wings heavily maculated with black (fig 3): Biolleyana pictifrons. Mexico to Costa Rica

Fig 4 (left): Biolleyana costalis; Fig 5 (right): Biolleyana fenestra. Photos © Rich Hoyer ( @birdernaturalist ) some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA)

I hope this post is useful in differentiating these neotropical hoppers. I intend to create future posts aiming to aid in identification, so if there is anything I can do to clarify things better please let me know! And if you want to see more Nogodinids on iNat, here you go.

Posted by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster, January 24, 2019 17:24


Awesome - thanks for posting this! Was just in Costa Rica, but unfortunately didn't find any of these critters.

Posted by kschnei over 3 years ago (Flag)

Jealous! I'm sure you found lots of other good stuff as you tend to do, look forward to seeing it !

Posted by psyllidhipster over 3 years ago (Flag)

Mostly a birding trip, but got about 20-30 insect observations, mostly things at lights at night...

Posted by kschnei over 3 years ago (Flag)

Great! Thank you for all your efforts!

Posted by wongun over 3 years ago (Flag)

Thanks a lot, also for your ID - but with this journal I could replicate the species identification

Posted by carnifex over 3 years ago (Flag)

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