Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/13/2008
Publication Date: 1/27/2009
Citation: Henry, T.J., Pena, J.E., Long, D., Acevedo, F. 2009. Stethoconus praefectus (Hemiptera: Miridae): First North American records of an Old World predatory plant bug preying on avocado lace bug, Pseudascysta perseae (Hemiptera: Tingidae), in Florida. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 111:98-105. Interpretive Summary: Plant bugs are the largest family of true bugs and contain numerous agriculturally important species. Many plant bugs, such as lygus bugs and cotton fleahopper, are important pests causing millions of dollars damage to crops. In contrast, a growing number of other plant bugs are being recognized as predatory and are considered beneficial. This report presents the first North America record of an Asian plant bug that was found in South Florida preying on the avocado lace bug, a widespread pest that causes enormous losses to avocado in the United States each year. This newly detected plant bug, only the second known specialist of lace bugs in North America, has great potential for helping to control the avocado lace bug in Florida, Georgia, and California. In this paper, we describe and provide illustrations of the adult to help distinguish it from other plant bugs and give preliminary observations on its habits and lace bug consumption. This information will be useful to all researchers and other agricultural specialists involved in the biological control of lace bugs.
Technical Abstract: The plant bug Stethoconus praefectus (Distant), a member of the subfamily Deraecorinae and tribe Hyaliodini, is reported in North America for the first time based on specimens collected on avocado, Persea americana L., in South Florida. This predatory mirid, observed feeding on the avocado lace bug, Pseudacysta perseae (Heidemann), is only the second lace bug specialist established in the Western Hemisphere. The adult is diagnosed and redescribed; photographs of the adult, SEM photomicrographs of selected structures, and illustrations of male genitalia are given to help distinguish this species; and preliminary observations on feedings habits and prey consumption of avocado lace bug are provided.