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15 February 2002
The Lestoniidae are a monogeneric family of pentatomoid bugs that are restricted to Australia (Schuh & Slater 1995). At present only two species are known.
China (1955) in first describing lestoniids, concluded that they form a subfamily of the Plataspidae, based on characters of the hind wing venation and the 2-segmented tarsi. He also indicated that they differ in the form of the external efferent system of the metathoracic glands, the female abdominal spiracles, the lateral margins of the abdomen and the size of the scutellum. China & Miller (1959) elevated the group to family level. China (1963) again reviewed their systematic position and observed the presence of a single trichobothrium behind each spiracle on sterna V and VI. McDonald (1970) and Schaefer (1993) retained the familial ranking and argued that they are closely related to plataspids. Fischer (2000) reviewed the literature, and suggested affinities between the Lestoniidae and Acanthosomatidae. His conclusions were partly based on his hypothesis of homology of the lestoniid disc-like organ and the acanthosomatid Pendergrast's organ.
China (1955) first described Lestonia, as a monotypic genus, for L. haustorifera, based on a single specimen from an unspecified locality in New South Wales. McDonald (1969) described a second Lestonia species, L. grossi from Sydney.
Knowledge of the biology of Lestoniidae is limited. They are phytophagous and are mostly associated with the native Australian cypress pine genus, Callitris Vent. (Cupressaceae). They are cryptically coloured and difficult to distinguish in the field where they are found on the growing tips of their hosts (McDonald 1970; Gross 1975; Slater 1982). One of us [GC] has observed that L. haustorifera is found on a number of Callitris species across Australia, mostly in semi-arid habitats. The species is nearly always present in very low numbers.
Lestoniids are small, ovoid bugs, that are strongly convex dorsally and flattened ventrally. The anterior margins of the head, and lateral margins of the pronotum and hemelytra are strongly laminate. The dorsum is strongly punctate. The head is strongly declivent and laterally keeled. The two ocelli are small and widely separated. The antennae are 5-segmented, short and globose. The pronotum is large, with the anterolateral angles reaching the jugae. The scutellum is greatly enlarged, reaching the apex of the abdomen. The hemelytra have a broad clavus, the corium with a distinct R+M vein and two membrane veins. The tarsi are 2-segmented. A pair of disc-like organs are present on abdominal sternite VI. (McDonald 1970; Slater 1982; Schuh & Slater 1995; Fischer 2000)
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