Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The Mediterranean seed bug Rhyparochromus saturnius is reported in North America for the first time based on collections from 17 counties in California. Although the specific habits of this bug are unknown, related members of the genus feed on fallen seeds. This species probably overwinters as adults and late-instar nymphs, mating likely occurs in early yspring, and eggs probably deposited in the soil in late spring. Although this species is not expected to be an agricultural pest, large populations have developed in some areas of California, where it frequently invades homes and becomes a nuisance. It is speculated that this species was inadvertently introduced into the United States on pallets of tile and other ceramics imported from southern Europe.
Technical Abstract: The Palearctic rhyparochromid Rhyparochromus saturnius (Rossi) [Lygaeoidea] is reported for the first time in North America based on collections from 17 counties in California. Literature pertaining to this adventive species is reviewed, notes on its habits are given, and descriptions and photographs of the adult and fifth-instar nymph are provided to help distinguish it from other North American Rhyparochromidae. It is speculated that R. saturnius was introduced in international commerce originating from the Mediterranean Region, most likely Italy or nearby countries.