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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Spider-Commensal Plant Bug Genus Ranzovius (Heteroptera: Miridae: Phylinae) Revised: Three New Species and a Revised Key, with the Description of a New Sister Genus and Phylogenetic Analysis

item Henry, Thomas

Submitted to: Acta Societatis Zoologicae Bohemicae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Plant bugs, or Miridae, represent the largest and most economically important group of true bugs in North America. Numerous species are important agricultural pests, including lygus bugs, the cotton fleahopper, and various species of grass bugs. A growing number of plant bugs also are being recognized as valuable predators of other insects, including lepidopterous larvae, aphids, scale insects, and thrips. This paper presents the descriptions of three species new to science in a genus that is intimately associated with the webs of certain spiders. As a result of this revisionary work, a closely related new genus is recognized to hold three previously misplaced North American conifer-feeding plant bugs. Study of the relationships of these bugs indicate that they evolved from a North American ancestor and subsequently spread southward into more tropical areas. This information will be of use to researchers working on biological control and all aspects of integrated pest management.

Technical Abstract: The new species Ranzovius bicolor and R. brailovskyi from Oaxaca and Morelos, Mexico, and R. stysi from Parana, Brazil, are described and associated with spiders of the genus Anelosimus Simon (Theridiidae). Ranzovius mexicanus Distant is syonymized under R. moerens (Reuter), the type of the genus, which is redescribed and associated with Anelosimus jucundus (O.P.-Cambridge). The new genus Psallovius, considered sister to Ranzovius, is described to accommodate the three conifer-inhabiting phylines, Psallus flaviclavus Knight, P. piceicola Knight, and P. rubrofemoratus Knight. Keys to the species of Ranzovius and Psallovius are given to facilitate recognition, and a phylogenetic analysis is provided to help infer relationships. It is hypothesized that Psallovius and Ranzovius evolved from a Nearctic ancestor, with Ranzovius radiating southward into the Neotropics.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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