Location: Systematic Entomology LaboratoryTitle: Phylogenetics and evolutionary morphology of the Neotropical true bug genus Epipolops (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Geocoridae) Author
Submitted to: Systematic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2013
Publication Date: 10/10/2013
Citation: Rengifo-Correa, L., Brailovsky, H., Henry, T.J., Morrone, J.J. 2013. Phylogenetics and evolutionary morphology of the Neotropical true bug genus Epipolops (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Geocoridae). Systematic Entomology. 1-14. Interpretive Summary: Big-eyed bugs, recognized by their kidney-shaped or stalked eyes, are a worldwide group of largely predatory true bugs. Many, such as geocoris bugs, are among the most important predators in U.S. agriculture ecosystems, feeding on the eggs and larvae of existing pest species. The relationships of many, however, are not well understood. A phylogenetic analysis of the known species and data from two newly discovered species of one genus in this group was conducted to help infer their evolutionary history, and an identification key is presented to help distinguish species. This information will allow a broad range of Federal, state, and university researchers to better understand the relationships of these bugs and how to identify them.
Technical Abstract: Species of Epipolops Herrich-Schaeffer (Hemiptera: Geocoridae), comprising the largest genus of Pamphantinae, are among the most bizarre true bugs because of their striking morphology. To elucidate evolutionary morphology in Epipolops, a phylogenetic analysis was performed using 17 species and 36 adult morphological characters. Two cladograms were obtained under equal and implied weight analyses, showing slight differences between them. Two new species, E. stridulatus, sp.n. and E. univallunus, sp.n., are described, and E. meridionalis Pirán is resurrected from synonymy with E. frondosus Herrich-Schaeffer. A key to the known species of Epipolops is provided. The systematic relevance of the unique characters of the genus is discussed and the sequence of character state transformations for both anterior and posterior lateral processes of pronotum are optimized on the cladograms obtained under implied weights. Species of Epipolops are found in the Neotropical region and the Mexican Transition Zone, with some clades and species distributed in Mesoamerica and certain South American subregions.