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New Stilt Bug
By Luis Pons
July 24, 2002
Two new species of stilt bugs, a common
and diverse group of insects that includes both friend and foe to agricultural
crops, have been discovered by an Agricultural Research Service scientist.
Entomologist Thomas J. Henry of the
Entomology Laboratory, Washington, D.C., has described a species new to
science from VietnamYemmatropis erectus. He found this predatory
stilt bug at the Bernice Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, among specimens
that had been collected by scientists during a faunal survey of Southeast Asia.
Another new species recognized by Henry, Hoplinus paulai, is--like
most stilt bugs--poorly known. The genus Hoplinus is found from the western
United States and Canada south to Argentina and southern Brazil and Chile. But
H. paulai is known only from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
Stilt bugs are a relatively small group of unusual hemipterans, or true
bugs, that possess long, slender legs, leathery front wings and membranous hind
wings. Most notably, their legs and antennae are often longer than their
While some are beneficial and prey on crop pests such as aphids, mites,
cotton budworm and tomato hornworms, others are serious pests of tomato, cotton
and cacao. Despite the abundance of some stilt bugs, the habits and hosts of
most species are unknown.
According to Henry, recognition of these stilt bugs will assist quarantine
and regulatory agencies in halting potentially important foreign species from
entering the United States.
Read more about this finding in the
July issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U. S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.