Proceedings: Animal Sciences

, Volume 96, Issue 5, pp 517–525 | Cite as

Newer trends in the biosystematics of Membracidae

  • K S Ananthasubramanian


Membracids, in general, display a very few morphological characters of taxonomic value. Many species exhibit remarkable intraspecific variations, in addition to sexual dimorphism and cornuate polymorphism that makes it difficult to allocate them to their respective taxa, unless a long series of male and female individuals belonging to the same population are available for examination. The male genitalia, although of value in the diagnosis of higher categories of the Membracidae, find limited application at the species level. The nymphal characters, especially those of the fifth immature stage, are very useful in the identification of the species, but nymphal materials are not available except for a few species, and the host plants of many species remain unknown. In recent years, it has become imperative to consider the ecophysiological aspects of these insects for a better and precise understanding of their systematics. The host plant specificity of some species of membracids, the mutual association of a particular species of membracids with a particular species of ants and the parasite-host interaction involving certain chalcidoid egg parasites of membracids are considered with a view to evaluate their role in the membracid taxonomy. The impact of differential reproductive potential in terms of host diversity, the allochronic differences in mating and initiation of oviposition, and the differences in the relative growth patterns with particular reference to the polymorphic speciesOxyrhachis tarandus (Fabricius) on 5 species is investigated.


Membracidae host-plant specificity ant-attendance 


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • K S Ananthasubramanian
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyLoyola CollegeMadrasIndia

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