Entomologically famous, evolutionarily unexplored: The first phylogeny of the lanternfly family Fulgoridae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea)

Julie M. Urban, Jason R. Cryan

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46 Scopus citations


Lanternflies (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) are frequently used as examples of unusual morphological evolution, with some species (such as the peanut-headed bug, Fulgora laternaria Linnaeus) also ubiquitously cited as icons of tropical insect biodiversity. Despite that entomological notoriety, the phylogeny of this charismatic planthopper family has never before been studied. Presented here are the results of a phylogenetic investigation of Fulgoridae based on DNA nucleotide sequence data from five genetic loci (18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, histone 3, wingless, and cytochrome oxidase I). The resulting topologies are used to test the higher classification of Fulgoridae, which is based primarily on characters associated with the curious head morphology of many included species. Analyses include a taxonomic sample of 69 fulgorid species representing 46 (of 110) genera, 10 (of 11) tribes, and all 8 currently recognized subfamilies. Results of this study: (1) demonstrate the need for a revised classification of Fulgoridae, particularly at the higher taxonomic levels; (2) suggest that the genus Zanna is excluded from a monophyletic Fulgoridae; (3) indicate that there have been multiple losses of the extended head process across fulgorid evolution, with what appears to be convergence (in shape and/or loss) in distantly related lineages; and (4) suggest two alternative biogeographic hypotheses to explain the distribution of extant Fulgoridae, with either an Old World origin and a single subsequent colonization of the New World, or a contemporaneous diversification of Old and New World lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-484
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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