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Jacobiasca formosana is an insect species belonging to the subfamily Typhlocybinae of the family Cicadellidae. Plant hosts include Gossypium (cotton) species and, notably, Camellia sinensis (Chinese tea plants). The species is distributed throughout East, Southeast, and South Asia (including in China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand).
Common names for J. formosana include the small green leafhopper, tea green leafhopper, or tea jassid. In Mandarin Chinese, the insect is referred to as 茶小綠葉蟬 (chá xiǎo lǜ yèchán) or 小綠浮塵子 (xiǎo lǜ fúchénzǐ). In Siyen Hakka, it is called 著涎 (Zhe xián), 著蜒 (Zhe yán), or 著煙 (Zhe yān). In Taiwanese, it is 浮塵仔 (phû-tîn-á), 蜒仔 (iân-á), 蝝仔 (iân-á), 烟仔 (ian-á), 趙烟 (tiō-ian), 跳仔 (tiô-á) or 青仔 (chhiⁿ-á).
Description and habits
The mature J. formosana are slender and yellowish-green with translucent wings with a body length of about 3 mm (0.1 in).
Use in tea production
J. formosana is important in the production of Taiwan's dongfang meiren tea. The tea, which is an oolong tea with a flavor likened to ripened fruit and honey, is made from leaves partially eaten by these insects. The insects, which thrive in warmer, pollution-free environments, suck the phloem juices of the tea stems, leaves, and buds, producing monoterpene diol and hotrienol which give the tea its unique flavor.
This process has inspired makers of other types of tea such as dongding oolong tea and the east coast black teas of Hualien and Taitung to withhold pesticide use in order to replicate this process in other teas. Similar action of jassids and thrips helps form the muscatel-like flavor of India's second flush Darjeeling tea.
- Dmitry A. Dmitriev. "Jacobiasca formosana (Paoli, 1932)" at 3I Interactive Keys and Taxonomic Databases. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- 茶小綠葉蟬 Taiwan Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute, Council of Agriculture. Retrieved 20 July 2012.(in Chinese)
- 台灣茶小綠葉蟬 [Taiwan tea leafhopper] (in Chinese)
- Jin, S; et al. (Sep 2012). "Characterization of EPG waveforms for the tea green leafhopper, Empoasca vitis Göthe (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), on tea plants and their correlation with stylet activities.". J Insect Physiol. 58: 1235–44. PMID 22750027. doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2012.06.008.
- 蓮霧小綠葉蟬 Taiwan Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute, Council of Agriculture. Retrieved 20 July 2012.(in Chinese)
- Kazufumi Yazaki. "Molecular Mechanism of Plant - Insect Interaction via Plant Volatile Compounds and its Application." Exploratory Research at the Institute of Sustainability Science, Kyoto University, 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Stephane Erler. "A Study of Oriental Beauty". Tea Masters Blog. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Bornali Gohain et al. "Understanding Darjeeling Tea Flavour on a Molecular Basis". Plant Molecular Biology 78.6 (2012), 577-597, DOI: 10.1007/s11103-012-9887-0 Retrieved 20 July 2012.