During the 1999-2000 season, researchers in Colombia discovered populations of a grassland spittlebug, Prosapia simulans, a pest previously known to occur only from Mexico to Panama. Grassland spittlebugs are a widely distributed complex of species ranging from Ontario, Canada to Panama that are damaging pests of graminoid crops, particularly sugarcane and forage grasses (ie, Brachiaria decumbens or "signal grass"). This report is the first documentation of this species, as well as the genus Prosapia, in South America.
Also in 1999, the sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari, was collected in Louisiana, a new distribution record for this species in the continental U.S. Further surveys demonstrated that M. sacchari had already spread throughout most of the sugarcane producing areas in Louisiana. The aphid was initially found in the U.S. during 1977 on sugarcane in Florida. Besides sugarcane, this pest is known to infest other grasses, including species in the genera Sorghum, Oryza, and Panicum, and has been postulated as a possible vector for the sugarcane mosaic virus.