The smooth creamy-white maize leaf hopper eggs are elliptical and narrow, and approximately 0.3 to 0.5 mm long by 0.1 mm in diameter.
Early instar nymphs are pale green-yellow and are up to about half the size of the adult. Later instars look more like the adult insect with darker coloration appearing.
Adult maize leafhoppers are mostly pale yellow-green and very small (about 3mm long). Two small brown or black spots are found between the eyes on the front margin of the crown of the head. These leafhoppers have two small black spots and brown marks behind the eyes extending along the body. They have brown lines along the wings. The pronotum (plate-like covering of front segment of the thorax) also has dark markings and the dorsal surface of the abdomen has lateral dark banding. Females are distinguished by a black-tipped ovipositor (organ for depositing eggs).
The major concerns expressed about the maize leafhopper relate to its impact on maize but this does not seem to be its preferred host. Other hosts include those listed below: oats, finger millet, barley, rice, millets, sugarcane, sorghum and wheat.\damage
The feeding activities of the maize leafhopper do not cause much direct damage. It exerts its negative impact through its ability to transmit maize streak monogeminivirus (MSV) disease. This causes yellow streaks to appear on the leaf which can result in plant death, dieback or dwarfing. The main damage is to plants younger than six weeks. In severely affected plants, the plants appear pale green, yellow or white from a distance, and are stunted and produce small cobs with open husks.