Rice green leafhopper Nephotettix virescens (Distant) populations were collected in 1985 from fields planted with a leafhopper resistant rice, Oryza sativa cultivar IR64 in South Cotabato, Philippines. The populations were reared on IR64 for eight generations and tested on six cultivars, including susceptible TN1, moderately resistant IR26 and IR36, and resistant IR54, IR62, and IR64. Leafhoppers excreted larger amounts of basic honeydew, efficiently transmitted two tungro associated viruses, and showed greater population increase and lower nymphal mortality on all cultivars except IR62 than a greenhouse population reared on TN1. Nephotettix virescens were transferred and maintained on TN1, IR26, IR36, IR64, or a mixture of the four cultivars plus IR54 and IR56 in equal proportion. When the TN1-maintained colony was tested at the third generation, its feeding behaviour and tungro transmission rates on test cultivars were similar to those of the original population but amounts of basic honeydew excretion and the transmission rate on the resistant test cultivars were greatly reduced at the seventh or later generations. When the IR26-maintained colony was tested at the sixth, ninth, or 13th generation, it exhibited lower amounts of basic honeydew excretion on the resistant test cultivars but exhibited similar transmission efficiencies on other test cultivars. When the colonies maintained on IR36, IR64, or the cultivar mixture were tested similarly, their population characteristics and virus transmission efficiency were similar to the original population. These results indicate that N. virescens retain their ‘virulence’ to resistant cultivars when maintained on resistant cultivars, but quickly lose their ‘virulence’ when maintained on a susceptible cultivar. Colonies continuously reared on IR26, IR36 or IR64 showed ‘cross-virulence’ to many cultivars possessing a variety of genes for N. virescens resistance but often differed in feeding behaviour, virus transmission efficiency, and nymphal mortality on cultivars with the same genes for leafhopper resistance.