Lace Bugs


In this family (Drake and Davis 1960), the entire dorsal surface, including the wings, has taken on an alveolar or reticulate appearance. Like tiny panes of glass, transparent membranes enclose the spaces between a complex lacework of cells. These may form inflated sacs or broad, winged expansions on the sides and rear of the prothorax, the latter extending forward over the head. The surface of some may be profusely spined in addition. Because they are generally small (BL usually less than 5 mm), one may appreciate this structure only when the bug is beneath the microscope.

Because of its economic importance, the family has received considerable taxo-nomic attention (Drake and Ruhoff 1960). All of the approximately 615 Latin American species (Drake and Ruhoff 1965) live on the foliage of trees and shrubs. Ordinarily, they congregate on the under-surfaces of leaves, and their sap-sucking, especially by members of the large genus Corythucha, occasionally causes harm to crops such as cotton. C. gossypii (fig. 8.2e) is a widely distributed injurious species with many hosts among the cultivated plants (Leonard and Mills 1931).

Blind, beetlelike members of the subfamily Vianaidinae are atypically smooth, only the surface being lightly punctate. They live symbiotically with ants underground (Drake and Davis 1960).

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