Global biogeographic patterns of grassland Auchenorrhyncha

Therese Anne Catanach, Christopher H. Dietrich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Patterns of grassland biogeography were inferred using 3 tribes of leafhoppers (Deltocephalini, Paralimnini, and Hecalini) and a family of planthoppers (Caliscelidae). Previous biogeographic study of this biome has been based on ungulates or other groups which have either limited distributions, or a small number of taxa. Although little is known about the relationships between closely related lineages of insects occurring on the various grasslands of the world available studies suggest a much more complex biogeographic history than that elucidated by ungulates. The lineages selected for this study however are hyperdiverse and globally distributed, although genera and species have localized distributions, allowing for fine scale patterns also to be drawn. In addition to biogeographic patterns we tested theories regarding host specialization, and comparing distributional relatedness patterns to grasses. Presented here are phylogenetic analysis of each lineage based on 3 genes, and a biogeographic analysis for each lineage. Preliminary phylogenetic results based on DNA sequence data indicate that biogeographic patterns of grassland leafhoppers are more complex than those of previously studied groups of grassland organisms, with multiple invasions of various grassland regions within each lineage. Along with phylogenetic and biogeographic results this study has conservation implications. Grasslands are rapidly being destroyed and identifications of regions possessing many unique lineages would allow these regions to be targeted for further protection.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEntomology 2012
StatePublished - 2012


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