Leafhopper, any of more than 10,000 species of brightly colored leaping insects, found worldwide. Leafhoppers range in length from 2 to 25 mm (0.06 to 1 in) and have piercing, sucking mouthparts for feeding on the juices of vegetation. In doing so, they may also transmit viral and fungal diseases from plant to plant and can cause extensive damage to shrubs, field crops, and fruit trees. A sweet liquid called honeydew-composed of unused sap and other excretions-that they exude from their anus is eaten by ants and other insects. Leafhoppers lay eggs in leaves and stems. Among the 700 species found in the United States are the grape, potato, lateral, and banded leafhoppers.
Scientific classification: Leafhoppers belong to the suborder Homoptera. They constitute the family Cicadellidae (formerly Jassidae).