Kissing Bugs Reduviidae

The kissing bugs are so named because most of them are nocturnal species which feed on humans, often biting the faces of their sleeping victims. Another common name for them is conenoses, referring to the shape of the anterior part of the head (Fig. 5.2). Various common names in South America and where they are used locally

FIGURE 5.2 Triatomine species. (A) Rhodnius prolixus; (B) Triatoma infestans; (C) Panstronffyiusgeniculatus; (D) P. megistus. (Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History.)

include barbeiro, bicudo, or chup'ao (Brazil); vinchuca (Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina); bush chinch (Belize); chipo or pito (Colombia, Venezuela); chinchorro (Ecuador); chirimacho (Peru); and iquipito or chupon (Venezuela) (Schofield et al. 1987). They are all members of the subfamily Triatominae in the family Reduviidae.

Lent and Wygodzinsky (1979) wrote an excellent monograph on kissing bugs that includes a survey of the external structures, descriptions of triatomine species, and notes on the vector importance of each species. Triatomine biosystematics, including an assessment of the evolutionary history of the subfamily, were reviewed by Schofield (1988). Biology, taxonomy, public health importance, and control were reviewed by Schofield ct a I. (1987), Schofield and Dolling (1993), and Schofield (1994).

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