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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: THE PREDATORY MIRIDAE: A GLIMPSE AT THE OTHER "PLANT" BUGS

Author
item Henry, Thomas

Submitted to: Wings Published by the Xerces Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The family Miridae, commonly called plant bugs, is the largest of the true bug families containing over 10,000 species and about one third of all bugs in the world. The name plant bug naturally creates the image of a plant-feeding insect. Although many plant bugs, such as the lygus bugs and the cotton fleahopper, are important agricultural pests, a great number of species are predaceous. The extent of this feeding habit is so great that the family's common name-plant bug-approaches that of a misnomer. This article focuses on the predatory Miridae that feed on other arthroods. Examples are given for generalist predators, such as those that prey on mites, aphids, scales, and whiteflies, to more specialized predators, such as the jumping tree bugs that feed only on scale insects or other species that prey only on lace bugs. With renewed interest in reducing the use of pesticides, the potential for plant bug predators in integrated control programs is significant and this information will be very useful to integrated pest managers and biological control specialists.

Technical Abstract: The heteropteran family Miridae, commonly called plant bugs, is the largest of the true bug families, containing over 10,000 species, and about one third of all bugs in the world. The name plant bug naturally creates the image of a plant-feeding insect. Although many plant bugs, such as the lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) and the cotton fleahopper (Pseudatomoscelis seriatus), are important agricultural pests, a great number of species are predaceous. The extent of this feeding habit is so great that the family's common name-plant bg-approaches that of a misnomer. This article focuses on the predatory Miridae that can be categorized into two groups; generalists and specialists. Examples are given for generalis predators, such as species of Ceratocapsus, Deraeocoris, Macrolophus, and Phytocoris that prey on mites, aphids, scales, and whiteflies, to more specialized predators, such as the jumping tree bugs (Isometopinae) that feed only on scale insects or species Stethoconus that prey only on lace bugs. With renewed interest in reducing the use of pesticides, the potential for plant bug predators in integrated control programs is significant.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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