Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Ground Bugs, Seed Bugs.

Salient features of adults. Terrestrial.

Phytophagous (mainly, on herbs), or predacious (?). Tiny to small; 2–8 mm long; fliers, or non-fliers; emitting repugnatorial liquid as a defence reaction; relatively stout bodied, or with narrow-elongate bodies; not stilt-legged; with conspicuous dark-and-pale banding on the antennae and legs (the common Heterogaster urticae, on nettles), or without conspicuous dark-and-pale banding of antennae and legs. Rostrum clearly separated ventrally from the prosternum by a sclerotized gula; 4 segmented. Antennae from the lower part of the head; longer than the head, readily visible from above; 4 segmented; non-aristate. Ocelli present (but sometimes hard to see when the head is coarsely sculptured). Metathorax with a scent-gland opening, comprising a funnel surrounded by a dull patch of elaborately sculptured cuticle, visible laterally on either side. Fore-wings well developed to vestigial or absent; in the resting insect lying more or less flat over the abdomen; when macropterous, differentiated into a basally thickened and a distally membranous region; of macropters, with a clavus. Membrane of the hemelytron with 4 or 5 veins reaching or almost reaching the margin. Tarsi 3 segmented. Pulvilli present. The abdomen without ventral silvery pubescence.

Hard-bodied insects, with red or yellow ground colour; usually with four longitudinal veins in the membrane of the hemelytron; the last two antennal segments never more slender than the second.

Taxonomy. Suborder Heteroptera; Lygaeoidea.

British representation. About 65 species in Britain; genera about 35. Acompus, Aphanus, Beosus, Chilacis, Drymus, Emblethis, Eremocoris, Gastrodes, Graptopeltus, Henestaris, Heterogaster, Ischnodemus, Ischnocoris, Kleidocerys, Lamproplax, Lasiosomus, Lygaeus, Macrodema, Megalonotus, Metopoplax, Nysius, Ortholomus, Pachybrachius, Peritrechus, Pionosomus, Plinthisus, Pterometus, Raglius, Rhyparochromus, Scolopostethus, Stygnocoris, Taphropeltus, Trapzonotus, Tropistethus, Xanthochilus. E.g., Lygaeus equestris (Black-and-red Bug).

Comments. The family includes important pests of pastures and cereals in some parts of the world.

Illustrations. • Lygaeus equestris (Black-and-red Bug: B. Ent. 481). • Lygaeus equestris (detail: B. Ent. 481). • Lygaeus equestris (dissection+legends: B. Ent. 481). • Lygaeus equestris: B. Ent. 481, legend+text. • Lygaeus equestris: B. Ent. 481, text cont.. • Henestaris laticeps (Curtis): B. Ent 596. • Henestaris laticeps: B. Ent 596, legend+text. • Henestaris laticeps: B. Ent 596, text cont.. • Ischnocoris, Macrodema, Pionosmus, Plinthisus, Stygnocoris, Tropistethus (Southwood & Leston). • Aphanus, Beosus, Graptopeltus, Pachybachius, Raglius, Rhyparochromus (Southwood & Leston). • Drymus, Ischnodemus, Megalonotus, Scolopostethus, Trapezonotus (Southwood & Leston). • Chilacis, Heterogaster, Kleidocerys, Peritrechus (with Berytinidae: Southwood & Leston). • Chilacis, Heterogaster, Iscnodemus, Kleidocerys, Megalonotus, Pachybrachius: Saunders, 1892.. • Acompus, Ischnocoris, Lasiosomus, Megalonotus, Peritrechus, Tropistethus: Saunders, 1892.. • Aphanus, Emblethis, Graptopeltus. Rhyparochromus, Trapezonotus: Saunders, 1892.. • Drymus, Eremocoris, Gastrodes, Lamproplax, Scolopostethus, Taphropeltus: Saunders, 1892.. • Lygaeus equestris and Nysius ericae, with Berytinidae and Rhopalidae: Saunders, 1892.. • Gastrodes abietum, with assorted unrelated taxa: Saunders, 1892..

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.