Clastoptera achatina

Pecan Spittlebug


Clastoptera achatina, Spittlebug image

 

Family: Clastopteridae

Subfamily: Clastopterinae

Length: Males 3.7 - 4.3 mm. Females 4.4 - 5.0 mm

 

Clastoptera achatina varies greatly in abdundance from year to year. In some years it constitutes a major pest of pecan and hickory trees, while in other years the damage is much less. Tedders (1995) described an outbreak of Clastoptera achatina in Georgia: "Adults were so numerous that they could be heard jumping within the trees, and many came to rest on clothing and skin of observers."

Tedders attempted to clarify older records that seemed to confuse Clastoptera achatina with Clastoptera obtusa. After studying many specimens, Tedders found the most reliable way to separate the two species is to examine the pronotum. It is pale unicolorus in C. achatina, but has some dark markings in C. obtusa. Tedders determined that C. achatina is the only spittlebug that infests pecan trees in eastern North America; C. obtusa is a pest of a number of tree species but not pecan.

In C. achatina, Tedders found that in Georgia at least, the largest males (4.3 mm) were always smaller than the smallest females (4.4 mm).

The most common predators of this species are True Bugs, especially those in the Plant Bug family. Other families that prey on the Pecan Spittlebug include Stink Bugs and Assassin Bugs. Tedders found no evidence of parasites on nymphs or adults, but he did find the exit holes of parasites in the eggs.


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