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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Research Project #429988

Research Project: Systematics of Hemiptera and Related Groups: Plant Pests, Predators and Disease Vectors

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

2016 Annual Report

ARS is interested in performing research to increase and enhance the understanding of the systematics of aphids, leafhoppers, plant bugs, thrips, and termites important to agriculture, ornamentals, and the environment. Our Project Plan has four main objectives: Objective 1: Determine species boundaries; recognize, describe, and illustrate new and adventive species; develop identification keys; define relationships among the respective groups; and investigate host use and specificity of leafhoppers, true bugs, aphids, scale insects, and related groups that are pests of, or beneficial, to U.S. agriculture. Objective 2: Develop accurate species concepts for aphids using a holistic approach based on morphological and molecular data. Objective 3: Compile, organize, and post on web electronic databases and images of primary types of important aphids, leafhoppers, termites, thrips, and true bugs. Objective 4: Provide expert identifications of specimens submitted by stakeholders worldwide and manage assigned portions of the U.S. National Insect Collection.

ARS will undertake the taxonomic research on agriculturally and economically important aphids, leafhoppers, plant bugs, termites, and thrips, using both morphological and molecular data to create species concepts and develop hypotheses about relationships. This information will be used to develop comprehensive revisions, including generic and species diagnoses and descriptions, illustrations of adults and diagnostic characters using light and electron microscopy, and dichotomous identification keys that will facilitate accurate identification. This information will be made available through publications, including hard-copy books, online pdf files, websites, and other media. Timely, accurate identifications of aphids, bugs, leafhoppers, termites, and thrips submitted by APHIS/PPQ, other state and Federal agencies, and a wide range of researchers will be provided. Large portions of the United States National Collection of Insects will be maintained and expanded.

Progress Report
Substantial progress has been made in locating valid types and types of junior synonyms Rhopalosiphum (aphids) revision. Morphological measurements have been made for all specimens located to-date as part of a comprehensive world-wide treatment. Substantial progress has been made in describing Smillinae nymphs. All available genera, including those of Smiliini and Telamonini, have drafted descriptions, and descriptions of genera of three tribes have been finalized with identification keys to genera. Nearly 10,000 specimens of borrowed North American material and the USNM collection were sorted to genus and most to species. In addition, nearly 1,000 body measurements (eight structures) for about 90 species were taken. As of 10 June 2016, made 197 urgent identifications of Sternorryncha; 786 urgent identifications of Heteroptera; and 676 urgent identifications of Auchenorrhyncha. Total Hemiptera identified were 2,020 lots containing 2,944 specimens.

1. Catalog of the world Adelgidae. Adelgids are an insect family of major agricultural pest importance, but their placement within insect classification and their assigned scientific names are often confused. International collaborative efforts resulted in the publication of the adelgid catalog that identified over 100 species and helped to stabilize their nomenclature. The catalog will serve as a major reference for all researchers world-wide by confirming and clarifying species placement and their names. This important publication will be of wide interest to researchers in insect systematics, biological control, and quarantine and regulatory agencies where correct names are paramount for decision making or research.

2. Data matrix of New World nymphs of Membracidae. Membracids are common pests on crops such as coffee, avocado, maple, and citrus. Many specimens intercepted at the U.S. borders are immatures, yet there has been no comprehensive description of the genera occurring in the New World. A data matrix of 111 features of 420 species has been completed in support of the 5-year plan of describing the nymphs of New World membracid genera.

3. Completed a revision of the New World genus Heraeus with colleagues. This study included descriptions of two new genera and 30 new species, a phylogenetic analysis of relationships, and key to all species. Completed two important book chapters, one reviewing the Neotropical Lygaeoidea, which included diagnoses and a summary of the key literature for each taxon, discussions of economic importance, and keys to the families, subfamilies, tribes. Also, for the first time, all New World tropical genera and one reviewing the large family Miridae, which included diagnoses and a summary of the key literature for each taxon, discussions of economic importance, and keys to subfamilies and tribes.

4. Catalog of the world Membracoidea. Leafhoppers and treehopper species are important agricultural pests because they vector phytopathogens and dense oviposition in plant tissue can kill branches. For effective storage and communication on plant pests it is essential that everyone use the same names, yet new genus-species combinations and synonymies are reported individually in many disparate publications. The catalog of Membracoidea provides the classification framework for researchers, extension agents, and quarantine and regulatory agencies to communicate effectively. The data is periodically sent to several all-species online projects such as ITIS and the Encyclopedia of Life.


Review Publications
Favret, C., Havill, N.P., Miller, G.L., Masakazu, S., Victor, B. 2015. Catalog of the adelgids of the world (Hemiptera: Adelgidae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society. 534:35-54.
Miller, G.L., Jensen, A.S., Favret, C., Parmenter, R.R., Metz, M. 2016. The first report of the aphids of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico, USA. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 118(2):289-296.
Mckamey, S.H. 2016. A new species of Eutettix (Hemiptera, Cicadellidae, Deltocephalinae) from Wisconsin. ZooKeys. 557:79-83.
Mckamey, S.H., Porter, M.J. 2016. Immature of the New World Treehopper tribe Thuridini (Hemiptera: Membracidae: Smiliinae) with a new synonym, new combination, and new country record. ZooKeys. 557:85-91.
Dellape, P.M., Melo, M.C., Henry, T.J. 2016. A phylogenetic revision of the true bug genus Heraeus Stal 1862 (Hemiptera: Rhyparochromidae: Myodochini), with the description of two new genera and 30 new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 177:29-34.
Eger, J.E., Brailovsky, H., Henry, T.J. 2015. Heteroptera attracted to butterfly traps baited with fish or shrimp carrion. Florida Entomologist. 98:1030-1035.
Ferreira, P.F., Henry, T.J., Coelho, L.A. 2015. Chapter 10: Plant bugs (Miridae). True Bugs (Heteroptera) of the Neotropics. 237-286.
Henry, T.J. 2016. A new species of the stilt bug genus Gampsocoris from Senegal and a new generic combination for Gampsocoris gomeranus Wagner (Heteroptera: Berytidae: Gampsocorinae). Entomologica Americana. 122:24-30.
Henry, T.J., Dellape, P.M., Silva De Paula, A. 2015. Chapter 15. The Big-Eyed Bugs, Chinch Bugs, and Seed Bugs (Lygaeoidea). True Bugs (Heteroptera) of the Neotropics. 459-514.
Morales, M.G., Denno, B.D., Miller, D.R., Miller, G.L., Ben-Dov, Y., Hardy, N.B. 2016. ScaleNet: A literature-based model of scale insect biology and systematics. Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation. 24(1):112-142.