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15 February 2002
The Tessaratomidae are a pentatomoid family found mostly in the tropics of the Eastern Hemisphere, with only a few species occurring in the Western Hemisphere (Piezosternum Amyot & Serville occurs in the Neotropics). The family comprises 55 genera and about 240 species worldwide (Rolston et al. 1993; Henry 2009). The family is represented in Australia by 12 genera and 18 species.
Stål (1865) first established a suprageneric grouping for tessaratomids, at subfamily level in the Pentatomidae. Horváth (1900) recognised nine tribes among tessaratomids and included keys to genera. Kirkaldy (1909) catalogued the world fauna, recognising 11 tribes. Leston (1955) largely followed Kirkaldy's classification, reducing some of the tribes to subtribes, and describing two new subtribes. The modern classification of the group is based chiefly on that of Kumar (1969). He divided the family into three subfamilies: the Natalicolinae, Oncomerinae and Tessaratominae; and he further subdivided the Tessaratominae into three tribes: Prionogastrini, Sepinini and Tessaratomini. This is the classification adopted by Rolston et al. (1993) and followed in this Catalogue. Schuh & Slater (1995) reviewed the systematics and biology of the family.
The extralimital subfamilies Natalicolinae and Tessaratominae are found across the Afrotropical and Oriental Regions. The nominotypical subfamily is the most diverse suprageneric group.
The Oncomerinae are the only tessaratomid subfamily represented in Australia. This subfamily is found broadly across the Australian Region and comprises 15 genera and 57 species (Sinclair 2000a), of which 12 genera (6 endemic) and 18 species (11 endemic) are present in Australia. Leston & Scudder (1957) revised the Australian fauna, and more recently Sinclair (2000a, 2000b) provided a revised generic classification of the subfamily.
The Australian tessaratomids are mostly tropical in distribution, with all species known from coastal Queensland, some of which extend to Melanesia and the Oriental Region. Lyramorpha Westwood (4 species) is the most speciose genus, and Musgraveia Leston & Scudder, Oncomeris Laporte and Stilidia Stål all contain two species. The other genera, Agapophyta Guérin, Cumare Blöte, Erga Walker, Garceus Distant, Peltocopta Bergroth, Rhoecocoris Bergroth and Tibiospina Sinclair are all represented by one species. Peltocopta crassiventris (Bergroth), a spectacular looking species from southern Queensland, is probably a rare species whose conservation status needs assessment.
Tessaratomids are exclusively phytophagous. Schaefer et al. (2000) reviewed the biology of the family and the economic importance of pest species. Schaefer & Ahmad (1987) listed host species, concluding that tessaratomids favoured plants belonging to the plant orders Rosales and Sapindales. Australian tessaratomids are known from a broad range of host families, including the Anacardiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Meliaceae, Mimosaceae, Myrtaceae, Palmae, Rhamnaceae, Rutaceae and Sapindaceae.
The Bronze Orange Bug, Musgraveia sulciventris (Stål), is a minor pest of citrus in Australia. Summerville (1935) described its biology in detail, reporting it as a pest of citrus in eastern Australia, where, on occasion, it occurs in very large numbers. The native hosts include the rutaceous plants, Atalantia glauca J.Hook and Microcitrus australis (Planch.). Early workers (Oliff 1892; Girault 1924; Hely 1938) commented on the pest status of this bug. Cant et al. (1996a, 1996b) recently reviewed its biology and provided information about its feeding, life history, pheromone and defensive secretions, reproduction, host associations and pest status.
Tessaratomids are large to very large, ovoid to elliptical bugs. The head is laterally keeled and often very small relative to the overall body size. The bucculae are very short. The antennae are 4 or 5-segmented. The labium is short, reaching the apices of the fore coxae. The scutellum is triangular and does not cover the corium. The veins of the membrane are not reticulate. The hind wings have a hamus. The external efferent system of the metathoracic gland is reduced. The tarsi are either 2 or 3-segmented. The abdominal spiracle of sternum II is fully exposed in most species. The aedeagus has up to four pairs of conjunctival processes. The larvae have dorsal abdominal glands between terga III/IV, IV/V and V/VI. (Slater 1982; Schuh & Slater 1995; Sinclair 2000a)
Cant, R.G., Spooner-Hart, R.N., Beattie, G.A.C. & Meats, A. 1996a. The biology and ecology of the Bronze Orange Bug, Musgraveia sulciventris (Stål) — a literature review. Part I — Description, biology, host species, and distribution. General and Applied Entomology 27: 19-29
Cant, R.G., Spooner-Hart, R.N., Beattie, G.A.C. & Meats, A. 1996b. The biology and ecology of the Bronze Orange Bug, Musgraveia sulciventris (Stål) — a literature review. Part II — Feeding, control, defensive secretions, pheromones, reproduction and aggregation. General and Applied Entomology 27: 30-48
Leston, D. 1955. A key to the genera of Oncomerini Stål (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae, Tessaratominae), with the description of a new genus and species from Australia and new synonymy. Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London B 24: 62-68
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.
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