Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2004
Publication Date: 3/15/2005
Citation: Wheeler, A.G., Henry, T.J. 2005. Description of the adult and fifth instar of a myrmecomorphic plant bug, Bicuspidatiella conica Maldonado (Hemiptera: Miridae: Deraeocorinae), with notes on its habits. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 107:209-213
Interpretive Summary: Plant bugs represent the largest family of true bugs. Many plant bugs, such as lygus bugs, are important pests causing significant economic losses to agricultural crops. In contrast, a growing number of other plant bugs are recognized as important predators and are considered beneficial. The plant bug treated in this paper is one of the beneficial bugs. This paper provides descriptions of the adult and last instar nymph and observations on the behavior and feeding habits of a poorly known species from Puerto Rico that feeds on mealybugs and scale insects. This information will assist researchers in identifying this species and will aid agricultural specialists involved in evaluating predators for use in the biological control programs of crop pests.
Technical Abstract: The deraeocorine plant bug Bicuspidatiella conica Maldonado, belonging to a monotypic genus in the tribe Hyaliodini, is known from five adults taken at three localities in Puerto Rico. Previous biological information consists only of a record from guava (Psidium guajava L.). The fifth instar and adult of this myrmecomorphic mirid, collected at Cayey, Puerto Rico, are described and figured. The species is found on laurel amarillo (Nectandra turbacensis (Kunth) Nees) in association with the formicine ant Myrmelachista ramulorum Wheeler, the ant-attended mealybug Nipaecoccus nipae (Maskell) (Pseudococcidae), the soft scale Coccus moestus De Lotto (Coccidae), and an unidentified whitefly (Aleyrodidae). Bicuspidatiella conica, a member of an almost exclusively predacious group, feeds on ant-attended sternorrhynchans.