Lunate flat bug

Aradidae, Mezirinae, Dysodius lunatus.

The extraordinarily depressed shape of this bug (fig. 8.2d) and its family relatives constitute an adaptation primarily for life on or under the bark of dead trees. These bugs also possess tremendously long (maxillary) stylets for sucking the juices of fungi that grow well in their habitat. These structures are coiled up within the head when not in use.

The integument is fluted, scored, tu-berculate, and very coarsely roughened, which, with its somber colors, gives the insect such a resemblance to the substrata of lichens, eroded wood, and such mottled surfaces that it is not easily seen. Specimens are usually found exposed on the bark of trees but are detected with difficulty because of their cryptic form and color (Silberglied and Aiello 1980).

This species is the best-known representative of 472 species of Aradidae in the Neotropics (Kormilev and Froeschner 1987, Usinger and Matsuda 1959). It is very large by family standards (BL to 15 mm) and has scallops on the margins of the abdomen and the sides of the prothorax, the latter greatly produced anteriorly as broad, platelike lobes, rounded on the outer margins and extending forward well beyond the level of the eyes. Adults have complete wings.

References

Kormilev, N. A., and R. C. Froeschner. 1987. Flat bugs of the world: A synonymic list (Heteroptera: Aradidae). Entomography, Sacramento. Silberglied, R., and A. Aiello. 1980. Camouflage by integumentary wetting in bark bugs. Science 207: 773-775. Usinger, R. L., and R. Matsuda. 1959. Classification of the Aradidae (Hemiptera-Heterop-tera). Brit. Mus. Nat. Hist., London.

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