Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 91, Issue 3, pp 957–972 | Cite as

Philaenus spumarius: when an old acquaintance becomes a new threat to European agriculture

  • D. Cornara
  • D. Bosco
  • A. Fereres


The unique color pattern polymorphism and the foamy nymphal case of the meadow spittlebug Philaenus spumarius have attracted the attention of scientists for centuries. Nevertheless, since this species has never been considered a major threat to agriculture, biological, ecological and ethological data are missing and rather scattered. To date this knowledge has become of paramount importance, in view of the discovery of P. spumarius main role in the transmission of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa in Italy, and possibly in other European countries. The aim of this review is to provide a state of the art about this species, with particular focus on those elements that could help developing environmental friendly and sustainable control programs to prevent transmission of X. fastidiosa. Moreover, recent findings on the role of the meadow spittlebug as vector of the fastidious bacterium within the first reported European bacterium outbreak in Apulia (South Italy) will be discussed.


Spittlebug Olive Almond Grapevine Control options Reservoirs Vectors 



Authors would like to acknowledge an EFSA procurement action on the information on biology and control of vectors of Xylella fastidiosa, the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 635646 POnTE (Pest Organisms Threatening Europe), and Grant Agreement No. 727987 XF-ACTORS.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias Agrarias, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, ICA-CSICMadridSpain
  2. 2.Università di TorinoDipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e AlimentariGrugliascoItaly
  3. 3.Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle PianteConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheTorinoItaly

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