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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SYSTEMATICS OF HEMIPTERA AND RELATED GROUPS: PLANT PESTS, PREDATORS, AND DISEASE VECTORS

Location: Systematic Entomology

Title: Brachyrhynchus membranaceus (Fabricius), an Old World flat bug (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Aradidae) newly discovered in the Western Hemisphere

Authors
item Henry, Thomas
item Perez-Gelabert, D. -
item Steiner, JR., W. -
item Heiss, E. -

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2013
Publication Date: October 6, 2013
Repository URL: http://entsocwash.org/
Citation: Henry, T.J., Perez-Gelabert, D., Steiner, Jr., W.E., Heiss, E. 2013. Brachyrhynchus membranaceus (Fabricius), an Old World flat bug (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Aradidae) newly discovered in the Western Hemisphere. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 115(4):342-348.

Interpretive Summary: True bugs belonging to the family Aradidae are often called flat bugs because of their strongly dorsally ventrally flattened bodies. Most flat bugs are found under the loose bark of rotting trees where they feed on fungi, using their extremely long mouth parts--held coiled inside the head--that may be several times the length of their bodies. Although most species are not considered pests, one flat bug causes serious damage in Europe by feeding on the phloem and xylem of healthy pine trees. In this paper, we report an Old World flat bug for the first time in the Western Hemisphere. This species, previously known from the South Pacific and southeastern Asia has been discovered on several Caribbean Islands and in Central America. It is known to feed on fungal mycelia and has caused damage to bracket fungi being grown for medicinal purposes. Photographs of the adults and a diagnosis are provided to help distinguish this newly discovered flat bug from all other species occurring in the Western Hemisphere. This paper will be of interest to researchers working with mushrooms and other fungi and the dynamics of forest decomposition.

Technical Abstract: The Old World aradid Brachyrhynchus membranaceus (Fabricius), belonging to the subfamily Mezirinae, is reported for the first time from the Western Hemisphere. Since 2005, eight specimens have been intercepted at United States ports-of-entry in international commerce from Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Jamaica. Eventual study of specimens from the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Panama allowed us to confirm that this flat bug is established in the New World. Diagnostic information and illustrations of the adult male and female are provided to help distinguish this Old World aradid from other New World Mezirinae. Host associations and habits are discussed.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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