Home page   

Phylogeny and taxonomic revision of the genus Balacha

For my M. Sc. degree, I worked on the morphological phylogeny and taxonomic revision of the sharpshooter genus Balacha at Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro under the supervision of Dr. Gabriel Mejdalani.

The genus appears to be distributed in southern South America, and at lower latitudes they are restricted to higher altitudes. These critters are specialists on the Apiaceae genus Eryngium, which makes collecting them a pretty painful job.

Below are some of the results of this work and pretty photographs. You can find the complete work at:

Takiya, D. M. & Mejdalani, G. 2004. Taxonomic revision and phylogenetic analysis of the sharpshooter genus Balacha Melichar (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Cicadellini). Systematic Entomology 29(1): 69-99. Onlline version HERE.

Left: Grassland fields (1,800 m) at Serra do Itatiaia (Minas Gerais State, Brazil), where Balacha similis can be collected.
Right: General habitus of Eryngium host at Serra do Caparao (Minas Gerais State, Brazil) bearing B. similis (on photograph).

Phylogenetic relationships among Balacha species
(numbers beside clades = Jacknife percentages/Bremer index)

Map of distribution of Balacha species