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15 February 2002


The Colobathristidae are a small tropical family of lygaeoid bugs that comprise 23 genera and 84 species (Schuh & Slater 1995; Zoological Record 1995–2001; Henry 2009).

Colobathristids were first considered as a family-group by Stål (1865), who ranked them as a subfamily of Lygaeidae sensu lato. Bergroth (1910) raised them to family status, indicating that the plate-like female genitalia are homologous with those found in the Coreidae. Subsequent authors have placed them within the Lygaeoidea and Coreoidea. Štys (1967) considered colobathristids to have close relationships with his 'malcid-line' of coreoids (Berytidae, Cymidae, Cryptorhamphidae, Malcidae Ninidae), based on abdominal tergal characters. Kumar (1968) supported this arrangement based on character states of the gut and salivary glands. Cobben (1968) indicated that the eggs are typical of those found in Coreoidea. Henry's (1997) phylogenetic classification of the Lygaeoidea established the Colobathristidae and Berytidae as sister-groups, based on the elongate clavate first antennal segment, armed scutellum, and posterior articulation of the metacoxae.

Horváth (1904) monographed the family and gave keys and descriptions to genera and species. Štys (1966a) recognised two subfamilies of colobathristids, the nominotypical subfamily Colobathristinae and the monogeneric Dayakiellinae. The Colobathristinae, with 22 genera and 81 species, are equally speciose in the tropics of the Oriental and Neotropical Regions. Štys (1966a, 1974) reviewed the most speciose genus, Phaenacantha Horváth, and described the morphology of the Australian species, Phaenacantha australiae Kirkaldy. Kormilev (1949, 1951), Carvalho & Costa (1989) and Froeschner (1981) reviewed aspects of the Neotropical colobathristid fauna. The Dayakiellinae comprise two species and are restricted to Indonesia (Štys 1966b). Coscaron & Delattre (2003) revised the genus Trichocenthrus Horváth from Ecuador and gave a key to species.

Sweet (2000) reviewed aspects of colobathristid biology and reported on the economic significance of the group. Colobathristids are phytophagous insects that feed mostly on grasses; a few species can cause crop loss. Illingworth (1921) described the biology and pest status of Phaenacantha australiae, at times considered a pest of sugarcane in Queensland. Myatt (1973) reported on an outbreak of this species on sugarcane in unseasonally dry conditions. Malipatil & Kumar (1975) described the egg and immature stages of this species and Kumar (1968) reported that it glues its eggs to the leaves of host plants.



Colobathristids are very slender, medium-sized to large bugs. They have a deeply punctate and pruinose body. The head is strongly declivent and the eyes are stylate. Ocelli are present. The antennae and labium are 4-segmented. The scutellum is long and narrow and sometimes armed with spines. The lateral margins of the hemelytra are weakly concave. The corium usually has a triangular apical cell. The claval commissure is absent. The membrane veins are reduced or obsolete. The evaporative areas are extensive occupying much of the venter of the thorax. Abdominal spiracles II–IV are dorsal, the remainder are ventral. The abdomen is strongly constricted basally. The ovipositor is reduced and plate-like and sternite VII is not split mesally. The spermathecal bulb has reduced flanges. The aedeagus has an elongate phallobase and tubular membranous vesica. Larval dorsal abdominal glands are present between terga III/IV, IV/V and V/VI. (Slater 1982; Štys 1966a, 1966b; Schuh & Slater 1995; Henry 1997)


General References

Bergroth, E. 1910. Remarks on Colobathristidae with descriptions of two new genera. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique (Comptes-rendus) 54: 297-303

Carvalho, J.C.M. & Costa, L.A.A. 1989. Chara para identificação do gêneros neotrópicos da família Colobathristidae (Hemiptera). Revista Brasileira de Biologia 49: 271-277

Cobben, R.H. 1968. Evolutionary Trends in Heteroptera. Part I. Eggs, architecture of the shell, gross embryology and eclosion. No. 151. Wageningen : Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation Mededeling 475 pp.

Coscaron, M. & Dellape, P.M. 2003. A new species of Trichocenthrus [Trichocentrus] from Ecuador (Heteroptera: Colobathristidae), with a key to the species of the genus. Zootaxa 213: 1-8

Froeschner, R.C. 1981. Heteroptera or true bugs of Ecuador: a partial catalog. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 1981(322): iv 1-147

Henry, T.J. 1997. Phylogenetic analysis of family groups within the infraorder Pentatomomorpha (Hemiptera: Heteroptera), with emphasis on the Lygaeoidea. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 90(3): 275-301

Horváth, G. 1904. Monographia Colobathrastinarum. Annales Historico-Naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici (Zoologica) 2: 117-172

Illingworth, J.F. 1921. The linear bug, Phaenacantha australica Kirkaldy: a new pest of sugar-cane in Queensland. Order Hemiptera. Family Lygaeidae. Queensland Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations Division of Entomology Bulletin 1921(14): 1-11 pls I-II

Kormilev, N.A. 1949. Notas sobre "Colobathristidae" neotropicales (Hemiptera) con la descripción de tres especies nuevas neotropicales. Acta Zoologica Lilloana 7: 369-383

Kormilev, N.A. 1951. Notas sobre "Colobathristidae" neotripicales (Hemiptera) con la descripción de tres géneros y siete especies nuevas. Revista Brasileira de Biologia 11: 63-84

Kumar, R. 1968. Aspects of the morphology and relationships of the superfamilies Lygaeoidea, Piesmatoidea and Pyrrhocoroidea (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Entomologist's Monthly Magazine 103: 251-261

Malipatil, M.B. & Kumar, R. 1975. Biology and immature stages of some Queensland Pentatomomorpha (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 14: 113-128

Myatt, O.W.D. 1973. Linear bug damage in the Herbert River district. The Cane Growers' Quarterly Bulletin 36: 134-135

Schuh, R.T. & Slater, J.A. 1995. True Bugs of the World (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Classification and Natural History. Ithaca : Cornell University Press xii 336 pp.

Slater, J.A. 1982. Hemiptera. pp. 417-447 in Parker, S.P. (ed.). Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms. New York : McGraw Hill Book Co.

Stål, C. 1865. Hemiptera Africana. Holmiae : Norstedtiana Vol. 2 181 pp.

Štys, P. 1966a. Morphology of the wings, abdomen and genitalia of Phaenacantha australiae Kirk. (Heteroptera, Colobathristidae) and notes on the phylogeny of the family. Acta Entomologica Bohemoslovaca 63: 266-280

Štys, P. 1966b. Revision of the genus Dayakiella Horv. and notes on its systematic position (Heteroptera; Colobathristidae). Acta Entomologica Bohemoslovaca 63: 27-39

Štys, P. 1967. Monograph of Malcinae, with reconsideration of morphology and phylogeny of related groups. (Heteroptera, Malcidae). Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae 37: 351-516

Štys, P. 1974. A synopsis of the genus Phaenacantha Horv. I. Subgenus Anorygma Horv. (=Tagalisca Horv.) (Heteroptera, Colobathristidae). Annales Historico-Naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici (Zoologica) 66: 225-234

Sweet, M.H. 2000. Seed and Chinch Bugs. pp. 143-264 in Schaefer, C.W. & Panizzi, A.R. (eds). Heteroptera of Economic Importance. Boca Raton : CRC Press 828 pp.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
15-Aug-2012 15-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)