Taxonomy and Biology of Jumping Plant Lice INSECTA, HEMIPTERA, PSYLLOIDEA

This research project involves the taxonomic revision of jumping plant lice, based on recently collected material from around the world and the collections of various museums.

Jumping plant lice, or psyllids, are small insects that feed on plant sap. They are related to aphids.

Around 4,000 species have been described globally. Based on undescribed material housed mainly in the collections of the Natural History Museums of Basel and London, we estimate that the actual number of extant species is more than twice this number.

Jumping plant lice are significant pests in agriculture and forestry; they are used as biological control agents of invasive weeds. As they secrete honeydew collected by bees and they constitute a suitable group for the study of cospeciation of insects and plants. For these reasons, the taxonomic study of these insects is important, in addition to the need to record and describe the global organismal diversity.

Several taxonomic revisions and faunistic projects are under way, encompassing the fauna of the entire planet.