Plant bugs

Miridae. Leaf bugs.

The best-known plant bugs are the many species that cause direct harm from their feeding. Damage often takes the form of rough, hard, gall-like lesions (stigmonosis) on the surface of valued leaves (especially on tobacco), fruit (commonly cacao), or tender stems. Chief among the offending genera are Lygus, Engytatus, and Monalo-nion. Although members of the family are widely recognized for their depredations among field crops, many are beneficial predators of aphids and other injurious insects. A widespread crop pest is the tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris, fig. 8.2c).

For the most part, these are small (BL less than 10 mm in most), elongate bugs with the hemielytra characteristically "broken" or angled sharply downward at the base of the membrane. A small notch (cunneus) at this point, only one or two cells in the veins of the hemielytral membrane, and lack of ocelli are also family characteristics. Their bodies are slightly flattened, soft, and frequently have brightly colored, elongate stripes or harlequin patterns. Many species, especially in the subfamily Mirinae, are ant mimics (see Heteropterans, above).

This is the largest family of heteropterans, with several thousand species in the Neotropics (Carvalho 1957-1960).


Carvalho, j. C. M. 1957-1960. A catalogue of Miridae of the world (Hemiptera). Mus. Nac.

Rio de |aneiro Arch., Pt. 1, 44: 1-158; Pt. 2, 45:1—216; Pt. 3, 47: 1-161; Pt. 4, 48: 1-384; Pt. 5, 51-194.

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