Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Firebugs, Cotton Stainers.

Salient features of adults. Terrestrial.

Phytophagous (in Britain associated with Malva). Small to large; 8–11 mm long; fliers, or non-fliers (usually, in Britain); emitting repugnatorial liquid as a defence reaction; relatively stout bodied; not stilt-legged. Rostrum clearly separated ventrally from the prosternum by a sclerotized gula. Antennae longer than the head, readily visible from above; 4 segmented; non-aristate. Ocelli absent. 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, or conspicuous, but much shorter than the abdomen; in the resting insect lying more or less flat over the abdomen; differentiated into a basally thickened and a distally membranous region, or more or less uniform in texture (the membranous part often undeveloped); with a clavus. Pulvilli present. The abdomen without ventral silvery pubescence.

A brightly coloured insect, black-and-red. Rare.

Taxonomy. Suborder Heteroptera; Lygaeoidea.

British representation. 1 species in Britain; genera 1. Pyrrhocoris. E.g., P. apterus (Masked Bug).

Comments. The family includes ‘Cotton Stainers’ notorious pests of cotton crops (‘Cotton Stainers’).

Illustrations. • Pyrrhocoris apterus (Masked Bug: B. Ent. 465). • Pyrrhocoris apterus (detail: B. Ent. 465). • Pyrrhocoris apterus (dissections: B. Ent. 465). • Pyrrhocoris apterus (legend+text: B. Ent. 465). • Pyrrhocoris apterus (text: B. Ent. 465, cont.). • 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.’.