The glassy-winged sharpshooter is a large insect compared to other leafhoppers. Adults are about 1⁄2 inch long and are generally dark brown to black when viewed from the top or side. Wings are clear with red venation, but appear dark brown due to the body coloration beneath them. Before laying eggs, the female secretes a chalky white substance that she transfers to the upper wings forming white spots. After laying the eggs, she covers them with this chalky material by transferring it from the wings.