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15 February 2002
The Plataspidae are a family of pentatomoid bugs, restricted to the Eastern Hemisphere. They are primarily a tropical group with the greatest diversity occurring in the Oriental Region (Slater 1982, Schuh & Slater 1995). The family currently comprises reported that the family comprises about 56 genera and 560 species (Jessop 1983; Henry 2009; cf. Schaefer et al. 2000 who reported a world fauna of 150 species; this report is considered erroneous).
The plataspids were first accorded family status by Dallas (1851). Stål (1865, 1876) recognised the group as a subfamily of Pentatomidae, which was followed by most other early workers (e.g. Kirkaldy 1909). Leston (1952) revised the family level status (= Brachyplatidae), an arrangement which has been followed by most modern workers (e.g. Stonedahl & Dolling 1991; Carver et al. 1991—as Plataspididae; Schuh & Slater 1995). Stål (1876) provided a checklist of the fauna and a key to genera. Lethierry & Severin (1893) catalogued the world fauna, and this work was updated subsequently by Bergroth (1908, 1913). No intrafamilial classification has been proposed for the family and none is used in this Catalogue.
The Australian plataspids number two species of Brachyplatys Boisduval and sixteen species of Coptosoma Castelnau. There has been no modern treatment of Australian species, and only one species has been described since 1900. Most of the species are found in the tropical parts of Queensland, and a number of these species are also known from the Oriental Region and/or Melanesia.
Plataspids are phytophagous bugs that feed chiefly on legumes (Schaefer 1988). Davidová-Vilímová & Štys (1980) reported that Coptosoma Laporte species lay their eggs on leaves or stems of legumes. They also indicated that the larvae live in large aggregations. The only Australian host record is for Coptosoma aciculata Montandon which is known from the legume, Desmodium novaehollandiae latifolium F.Domin.
Schaefer et al. (2000) summarised information on the bionomics of the family and gave details of pest species. In the Oriental Region, plataspids are known as pests of crops such as soybeans, sugarcane, rice and sweet potato. Plataspids have not been recorded as pests in Australia.
Plataspids are ovoid bugs, which are strongly convex dorsally. The body is often shiny and variable in colour, mostly iridescent black or brown, or variolate. The head is often rounded, flattened and laterally keeled. The eyes are prominent. The antennae are 5-segmented and the labium is 4-segmented. The pronotum is subtrapezoidal, with the lateral margins divergent. The scutellum completely covers the abdomen and most of the hemelytra, with only the external part of the corium uncovered. The tarsi are 2-segmented. The larvae have dorsal abdominal gland openings between terga III/IV, IV/V and V/VI. (Miller 1956; Davidová-Vilímová & Štys 1980; Slater 1982; Schuh & Slater 1995)
Carver, M., Gross, G.F. & Woodward, T.E. 1991. Hemiptera (bugs, leafhoppers, cicadas, aphids, scale insects, etc.) [with contributions by Cassis, G., Evans, J.W., Fletcher, M.J., Hill, L., Lansbury, I., Malipatil, M.B., Monteith, G.B., Moulds, M.S., Polhemus, J.T., Slater, J.A., Štys, P., Taylor, K.L., Weir, T.A. & Williams, D.J.]. pp. 429-509 in CSIRO (ed.). The Insects of Australia. A textbook for students and research workers. Melbourne : Melbourne University Press Vol. 1 xiii 542 pp.
Kirkaldy, G.W. 1909. Catalogue of the Hemiptera (Heteroptera) with biological and anatomical references, lists of foodplants and parasites, etc. Prefaced by a discussion on nomenclature, and an analytical table of families. Cimicidae. Berlin : Felix L. Dames Vol. 1 xl 392 pp.
Schaefer, C.W., Panizzi, A.R. & James, D.G. 2000. Several small Pentatomoid Families (Cyrtocoridae, Dinidoridae, Eurostylidae [sic], Plataspidae, and Tessaratomidae. pp. 505-512 in Schaefer, C.W. & Panizzi, A.R. (eds). Heteroptera of Economic Importance. Boca Raton : CRC Press 828 pp.
Stål, C. 1876. Enumeratio Hemipterorum. Bidrag till en förteckning öfver aller hittills kända Hemiptera, jemte systematiska meddelanden. 5. Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Academiens Nya Handlingar, Stockholm 14(4): 1-162
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