Απρίλιος 29, 2023

Spilostethus pandurus morphs

Spilostethus pandurus pandurus (Scopoli, 1763)

Europe, North Africa, Near East:

= ? Spilostethus pandurus militaris (Fabricius, 1775)

Though well characterized, there is a naming problem with this subspecies. Though, for the species, Scopoli's 1763 name pandurus prevails, it was Cimex militaris Fabricius 1775 that was used by Stål in 1868 as a type species to erect genus Spilostethus (by then, a subgenus only), before the two were strictly synonymised.
Scopoli's *pandurus* is coming from central Europe, while the precise location for Fabricius' militaris is unknown. It is therefore the same species, but possibly the same subspecies or not, than S. pandurus pandurus.

This subspecies was the one introduced in America, from an unknown origin.

Indian subcontinent:

Amila P. Sumanapala, Mannar, Sri Lanka, feb.04.2020

Somehow more greyish; back colour greyish red rather than truly red or brown-red; coriae veins infused with grey. Corial black pattern more a spot rather than a bar, often not reaching the outer corial margin, interrupted by the grey vein. Greenish yellow patterns on the pronotum fainted, sometimes missing.
Closer to S. hospes in overal aspect, due to the shape of corial black markings.

This morph is possibly either Spilostethus pandurus militaris (Fabricius, 1775), or unnamed.
Fabricius' original description only mentions "Asia", with no precision. It is therefore possible, either, that Fabricius' Cimex militaris is a synonym to S. pandurus pandurus (Scopoli, 1763), or, if originating from the Indian subcontinent, that this is still as a subspecies.

Spilostethus pandurus tetricus (Horváth, 1909)

Canary Islands endemic

Mario Finkel, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, jun-09 2022

A pretty dark subspecies, endemic to Canary Islands; outer corial margin is outlined with a dark line, at least on its apical half. Corial veins most often darkened too, sometimes also pronotal margins. The pronotal greenish yellow patches are somehow partly encased, usually not to the point of S. pandurus elegans.

Spilostethus pandurus elegans (Wolff, 1802)

Sub-Saharian Africa

Andre Harmse, Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, South Africa, nov-13 2022

A subspecies well defined by its unique pronotal pattern, and whitish or grey membrane. Pale yellowish pronotal spot vividly coloured, brightly contrasting, and well defined, outlined, sub-quadrate.
Quite dark, infused with grey, corial veins greyish, outer corial margin and pronotal margin usually still light. Darker ones can look close to light S. pandurus tetricus, in which cases the bigger, well defined, squared yellow pronotal patches, and the whitish membrane helps discriminating both.

Spilostethus pandurus asiaticus (Kolenati, 1845)

Madagascar endemic

Thierry Cordenos, Madagascar, dec-21 2022

Erroneously described by Kolenati from "Asia", rather a Madagascar endemic; a slender, strinkingly contrasted subspecies, with colour pattern red and black, usually with no grey and but very few yellow, if any. The most striking feature being the uniformly greasy black, unspotted membrane, that gives this subspecies an overall aspect close to that of a Spilostethus furcula (or even S. hospes). The entirely black scutellum (as for every S. pandurus) then provide the surest way to determinate (red tip in both S. furcula and S. hospes).

Posted on Απρίλιος 29, 2023 0455 ΜΜ by fabienpiednoir fabienpiednoir | 2σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Νοέμβριος 24, 2022

A Visual Guide to Indian Lygaeinae Identification

work in progress; any attempt to build a key is hard, as no current exhaustive list of the species present in India is available; but still, I felt this might be of some use here, providing help for Milkweed Bugs (subfam. Lygaeinae) identification in India, perhaps helping to build such a reference list that will allow the eventual creation of a key. Only the most common species are featured here, I will complete with time.


Two species occuring in India.
Spilostethus nymph are much easyly recognised by being the only genus in India bearing red patches on wing buds (the only other possibility being Haemobaphus from Southern Africa), though S. hospes can have entirely dark wing buds, that never happens in S. pandurus.

Spilostethus pandurus

Kanchan Verma, Raipur, CT, 2021

An almost cosmopolitan species, the only one in the genus that eventually reached America. Pretty variable, with at least three valid subspecies, the most well-known being S. pandurus elegans from Southern Africa, alongside with the rarer and more located S. pandurus asiaticus from Madagascar and S. pandurus tetricus from Canarias. There is a questionable synonymy between the typical nominal form(s ?) S. pandurus pandurus and S. pandurus militaris, from Europe, Northern Africa and Near East, that have likely never been formaly synonymised, and are more or less confused - and therefore rarely used.

The form occuring in India, though not formally described, is a Asian form differing slighly from the nominal one. Mostly with an Indomalayan distribution, it occurs westward from Persian Gulf and the East coast of Arabian Peninsula (with the central, desertic areas from the central Arabia appearing as a natural boundary, as the scarce populations from the western coast appear to be closer to that of Europe and Northen Africa, or transitional form), Pakistan (with a boundary and some transitional forms somewhere in Afghanistan), to Sulawesi Eastward, and is likely widely distributed in South to Himalaya in Pakistan, India, Thailand, Cambodge, and Vietnam (with but very few available data from Bengladesh and Myanmar, but unlikely missing from those country, so likely abundant there to), and extends southward on the Oceanic domains to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Sunda Islands.

S. pandurus is overall greater, up to 12, or even 13 mm ; pronotum pattern can bears two palish yellow-greenish spots between the dark fascia, sometimes missing, but never present in hospes. Scutellum is entirely black from base to apex. The membrane is dark, from black to greasy grey, with a white central macula, and a smaller basal spot, sometimes missing, especially on pale and/or withered specimens.
Asian forms differs from the nominal one by being overall darker, with greyish shading, the dark black patterns tending to be outlined by a grey marking that overlaps the light red coloured parts.
The transversal corial bars present on typical forms tend to be reduced, often not reaching inner corial margin and even outer corial margin, and looking closer to a more or less rounded spot.

S. pandurus feeds on a wide variety of plants, including many Asteraceae; as for many other "Milkweed Bugs", it appreciate Apocynaceae, that it is likely immune to toxins and can thrive on. In India often found (though alongside other species) on Calotropis procera.

Spilostethus hospes - "Darth Maul Bug"

Vivek Babu Girija, Kancheepuram, 2022

S. hospes is nicknamed "Darth Maul Bug" in Australia, a name that doesn't appear to be much in use in India, but tends to extand, due to the Internet community, and is due to its strikingly contrasted red and black pattern.

It is true that, in India, with S. pandurus on average more greyish, it will be most often easily recognised by its contrasting colours. (Oddly enough, this is not quite true in Australia where the name comes from, and where other Spilostethus species similarly colored such as S. pacificus or S. decoratus can happen...).

Tending to be slighly smaller (though no known precise measures from India are known) and more gracile, it seems close to the African (in expansion, and now extending up to Southern Europe) S. furcula, and is easily recognised by its scutellum always red at the apex (sometimes this very reduced in some Austro-Malayan populations, but always true for Indian ones), that, alongside with the similarly red clavi, builds an easily-recognisable " _/ " red pattern on the back.
Membrane is usually dark, but rarely really black, most often of a deep dark brown or grey, sometimes lighter (especially in some old/withered specimens), and always unspotted, that allows it to be easily distinguished from the nearby S. pandurus.
The corial pattern includes a rounded black macula on each coria, never reaching the corial margin (unlike the sibbling S. furcula, that bears a transversal dark bar extending from external margin most often to the inner one, but is not present in India).

Like S. pandurus, S. hospes also appreciates Apocynaceae, and both can often be met together on Calotropis procera. Another common host species in Asia is the Asteraceae Emilia sonchifolia.

Aspilocoryphus mendicus

Anubhav Agarwal , Kancheepuram, TN, 2019

Genus close to Graptostethus. Body densely covered with hairs, pronotum mostly dark greyished patterned, with two black spots on it. Red colour very reduced in this species. Can be distinguished from Graptostethus by the darker head, and the white spot on the membrane, that is connected with inner corial margin.

Posted on Νοέμβριος 24, 2022 0536 ΜΜ by fabienpiednoir fabienpiednoir | 3σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Νοέμβριος 07, 2022

Lygaeinae bibliography

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Brailovsky, H., 1984 - Revisión del género Latochrimnus Brailovsky (Hemiptera-Heteroptera-Lygaeidae-Lygaeinae). Anales del Instituto de Biología de la Universidad Nacional Autónomia de México, sería Zoología 55 (2): 111-128

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[in press] Petschenka, G., Halitschke, R., Roth, A., Stiehler, S., Tenbusch, L., Züst, T., Hartwig, C., Moreno Gámez, J. F., Trusch, R., Deckert, J., Chalušova, K., Vilcinskas, A. & Exnerová, A., 2020 - Predation drives specialized host plant associations in preadaptated milkweed bugs (Heteroptea: Lygaeinae)

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Schneider, N., 2020 - Premières mentions d'Oxycarenus lavaterae (Fabricius, 1787), de Tropidothorax leucopterus (Goeze, 1778) et de Stephanitis takeyai Drake & Maa, 1955 (Insecta, Hemiptera, Heteroptera) au Luxembourg. Bulletin de la Société des Naturalistes luxembourgeois 122: 99-102

Scudder, G. G. E., 1962 - LXXXIII. Lygaeidae in Basilewsky, P. & Leleup, N, Mission Zoologique de L'I.R.S.A.P. en Afrique Orientale (1957) - Résultats Scientifiques. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale - Sciences Zoologiques 112 : 54p

Scudder, G. G. E., 1965 - Neacoryphus Scudder, a new genus of Lygaeinae (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 62: 34-37

Simanton, W. A. & Andre, F., 1936 - A Biological study of Lygaeus kalmii Stål (Hemiptera-Lygaeidae). Bulletin of the Brooklyn Entomological Society 30 : 99-107

Slater, A., 1985 - A Taxonomic Revision of the Lygaeinae of Australia (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 52 (8-9): 301-481

Slater, A., 1988 - A New Genus and Two New Species of Lygaeinae (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 61 (3): 308-316

Slater, A., 1992 - A Genus Level Revision of Western Hemisphere Lygaeinae (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae)with Keys to Species. The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 55 (1): 1-56

Slater, A. & Baranowski, R., 1990 - Lygaeidae of Florida. Arthropods of Florida and neighboring areas volume 14, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 211 pp.

Slater, A. & Baranowski, R., 2001 - Melanopleuroides dominicanus, a new Lygaeinae genus and species from the Dominican Republic (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae).Florida Entomologist 84 (1): 131-132

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Posted on Νοέμβριος 07, 2022 0817 ΠΜ by fabienpiednoir fabienpiednoir | 4σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Ιανουάριος 19, 2022

Απρίλιος 23, 2021


Spilostethus longulus :

Salalah, Oman, by Moayed Salim Bahajjaj

Desertical species, often found on the ground, under the host plants, such as Calotropis procera. In North Africa, Arabia and Near East. Elongated, head is red with black patterns. Apex of scutellum is red.

Spilostethus macilentus

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, by nickypegg

Much similar to S. longulus, to the point it was, at first, confused with it by its author, Carl Stål. A Southern African species, differs from longulus by its overall, darker habit. Head mostly black, apically and basally around the eyes, with either a "Y"-shaped red pattern, or but a simple, faint, red patch. Scutellum red apically.

Posted on Απρίλιος 23, 2021 0749 ΠΜ by fabienpiednoir fabienpiednoir | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Μάρτιος 17, 2021

Lygaeinae de Guyane

Oncopeltus cingulifer / sandarachatus

Deux espèces difficiles à distinguer, qui ont fait l'objet de confusion par le passé. Oncopeltus sandarachatus n'ayant jamais été rapporté de la région, il s'agit probablement ici plutôt d'O.cingulifer, mais dans l'attente de trancher, je mentionne ici les deux noms.

Craspeduchus variegatus

Posted on Μάρτιος 17, 2021 0723 ΜΜ by fabienpiednoir fabienpiednoir | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Ιούνιος 04, 2020

Genus Erythrischius in North America

Oncopeltus sandarachatus / Oncopeltus cingulifer.

Orlando, by Andrew Lamb, August 28th 2017

Two very close species, hard to distinguish. The key features remains unclear, and subspecies or varieties have been described, that are not necessarly of some taxonomic importance. It is not impossible that, in the future, observations refered to both the two would have to be reviewed in the light of new discoveries.
O'Rourke's subspecies antillensis poses problems that should be examed.

Smaller, on average : 9-12 mm, about the size of a Lygaeus sp.. The size remains by far the simplest way to distinguish from O. fasciatus. Appears to be the most common Oncopeltus species in Florida, with Oncopeltus fasciatus more uncommon.

More slender, often with a contrasting bright red head. Pronotal pattern also slighly different, though pretty variable, in many case more enlarged on the posterior margin, often reaching the posterior angles. Last three abdominal segment bright red, visible ventrally only on adults, making ventral view often easier to identify than dorsal ones.


Posted on Ιούνιος 04, 2020 0344 ΜΜ by fabienpiednoir fabienpiednoir | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο