Corn stunt leafhoppers

Dalbulus maidis and Dalbulus spp.

Nature of damage

  • Direct feeding and sucking of plant juices. Transmission of virus and spiroplasmas, including corn stunt spiroplasma (Sprioplasma kunkelii) resulting in corn stunt.


  • Sooty mold accumulation where leafhoppers deposit sticky honeydew while feeding.
  • Stunting and premature wilting of leaves.
  • Symptoms of corn stunt including chlorotic stripes on young leaves, leaf purpling, excessive tillering and cobbing and formation of barren cobs.

Factors favoring development

  • Continous, overlapping maize cropping.
  • Late planting where climatic conditions favor insect development.
  • Dry conditions.

Geographic distribution

  • Two of the pathogens for which this leafhopper is a vector, the corn stunt spiroplasma (Rio grande strain) and maize rayadofino virus, are distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical belts of the American continent.
  • The third, corn stunt mycoplasma (Mesa Central strain), is apparently restricted to the Mexican highlands.

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