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Genus Asarcopus Horváth, 1921

Overview - Asarcopus Horváth

Family Caliscelidae

Subfamily Caliscelinae

Tribe Caliscelini Amyot and Serville, 1843

Genus Asarcopus Horváth, 1921: 179.

Type species:  Asarcopus palmarum Horváth, 1921.

Synonyms: None.


Distribution: One species adventive into California & Texas; Afrotropical, Middle East.


Recognized species

There are 3 recognized species (1 of which has been introduced into California):

Asarcopus euthyphro Fennah, 1949 - South Africa, Botswana
Asarcopus palmarum Horváth, 1921: 179 - USA: CA, TX (adventive); Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Mali, Sudan
Asarcopus phaedo Fennah, 1967 - Namibia, Lesotho

Note: Texas record was found recently (Photo from Dec. 6 2015 on Bugguide).

Economic Importance:

Found on date palms.

Regarding Asarcopus palmarum,  Wakil et al. (2015: 185-186) state:

The issid bug feeds on the inflorescences stalks and on soft protected tissues of date palm at the frond bases (Blumberg 2008). However, it can also feed further along the rachis of unexpanded fronds. Adults are difficult to detect because they live between unexpanded fronds inside the crown of the palm. When populations are dense they may produce copious honeydew which attracts ants. Damage is first seen as speckling or small yellow blotches on newly emerging fronds (Howard et al. 2001; Downer 2009). In time, palms become stunted and frond loss increases giving the palm a tattered or sickly appearance.


Known host plants

Asarcopus palmarum - Caryota urens L. (palm, Arecaceae ), Phoenix dactylifera L. (Date Palm), Phoenix roebelenii O'Brien (dwarf date palm), Phoenix canariensis hort. ex Chabaud (Canary Island date palm), Washingtonia filifera (Linden ex André) H. Wendl.


Hosts from Wilson et al. 1994; plant names from USDA PLANTS.


Body with few sensory pits, head not weevil-like, legs not modified

Asarcopus palmarum (male photographs by Kimberley Shropshire, University of Delaware)

Asarcopus palmarum (Caliscelidae Caliscelinae Ommatidiotini)Asarcopus palmarum (Caliscelidae Caliscelinae Ommatidiotin)Asarcopus palmarum (Caliscelidae Caliscelinae Ommatidiotin)

Below are some images by Salvador Vitanza (see his El Paso Bugs) from Texas used by permission (see


 Asarcopus palmarum female Asarcopus palmarum female


Asarcopus palmarum male




Inspection on the bases of fruit bunches and fronds.

Molecular resources: As of this writing, no data for this genus appears on Barcode of Life or Genbank.


Selected references:

Ali, M.A.M. and A.E. Hussain. 1996. First record of the date bug, Asarcopus palmarum Horvath (Hemiptera: Issidae) in Egypt. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Egypt (A.R.E.) 74: 137-138.

Amyot, C. J. B. and J. G. A. Serville. 1843. Deuxième partie. Homoptères. Homoptera Latr. In Histoire naturelle des Insectes. Hémiptères. Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, Paris. P.: i-lxxvi, 1-676. Plate(s): 1-12. [See pp. 455-588 and pls. 9-12].

Bartlett, C. R., L. B. O’Brien and S. W. Wilson. 2014. A review of the planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) of the United States. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 50: 1-287.

Blumberg, D. 2008. Review: Date palm arthropod pests and their management in Israel. Phytoparasitica 36(5): 411-448.

Doering. K. C. 1939 [1940a]. A contribution to the taxonomy of the subfamily Issinae in America north of Mexico (Fulgoroidea: Homoptera. Part III. University of Kansas Science Bulletin. 26(2): 83-167.

Downer, J. 2009. What is wrong with pygmy date palms? Landscape Notes. University of California, Cooperative Extension, Ventura County, CA, USA. 22(1) (July 2009), 2 pp.

Fennah, R. G. 1949. New exotic Fulgoroidea. Annals and Magazine of Natural History. London. (Ser. 12) 2: 585-606.

Fennah, R. G. 1967. New and little known Fulgoroidea from South Africa (Homoptera). Annals of the Natal Museum 18(3): 655-714.

Gnezdilov, V. M. and T. Bourgoin. 2009. First record of the family Caliscelidae (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea) from Madagascar, with description of new taxa from the Afrotropical Region and biogeographical notes. Zootaxa 2020: 1-36.

Howard, F. W. 2001. Sap feeders on palms.  Pp. 199–232. In: F. W. Howard, D. Moore, R. M. Giblin-Davis, and R. G. Abad (eds.). Insects on palms. Wallingford: CABI Publishing, CAB International.

Horváth, G. 1921. Description d'un Fulgoride nouveau des dattiers. Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle de l'Afrique du Nord 12: 179-180.

Metcalf, Z. P. 1958. General Catalogue of the Homoptera. Fascicle IV, Fulgoroidea, Part 15, Issidae. Waverly Press, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland.

Mohammad, S.R.I. 2002 [Studies on the morphology and biology of the date bug, Asarcopus palmarum (Horvath) Homoptera: Issidae) as a new pest threatens date palms in el Bahria Oases Egypt]. Thesis, Master's of Science. Faculty of Commerce, Cairo University, Egypt.

Nakash, J. and M. Klein. 1991. Interference of the date bug, Asarcopus palmarum Horv. with the normal growth of date palms in Israel. Hassadeh 71: 1522-1523.[Hebrew, with English abstract]

O'Brien, L. B. 1988. Taxonomic changes in North American Issidae (Homoptera: Fulgoroidea). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 81(6): 865-869.

Wakil, W., J. Romeno Faleiro and T. A. Miller (eds.) 2015. Sustainable Pest Management in Date Palm: Current Status and Emerging Challenges. Springer, New York. xx+429 pp.

Wilson, S. W., C. Mitter, R. F. Denno and M. R. Wilson. 1994. Evolutionary patterns of host plant use by delphacid planthoppers and their relatives. In: R. F. Denno and T. J. Perfect, (eds.). Planthoppers: Their Ecology and Management. Chapman and Hall, New York. Pp. 7-45 & Appendix


Last edit March 14, 2016