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15 February 2002


The Cymidae are a lygaeoid family of nine genera and 54 species, which are found mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere (Slater 1964; Hamid 1975; Slater & O'Donnell 1995; Zoological Record 1995–2001). The nominotypical genus Cymus Hahn is also found in the Western Hemisphere. The family is represented in the Australian fauna by four genera and 10 species.

The classification of the cymids has been conjectural. Baerensprung (1860) first established the group at suprageneric level (Cymides) to include Cymodema Spinola and unrelated taxa, such as Oxycarenus Fieber and Artheneis Spinola. Stål (1862, 1865, 1874) initially included only Cymus Hahn but later included the cryptorhamphids and ischnorhynchines. Barber (1956) reclassified the group to include three tribes (Cymini, Ischnorhynchini and Ninini) and eleven genera. Stichel (1957), Ashlock (1957) and Usinger & Ashlock (1959) restricted the definition of the group, elevating the Ischnorhynchini to a separate subfamily, thereby restricting cymids to the Cymini (including cryptorhamphine genera) and Ninini. Ashlock (1957) also included the autapomorphic genus Epipolops Herrich-Schaeffer with cymids on the basis of characters of the male phallus. Southwood & Leston (1959) placed the cymines with the berytids, an action which has not been followed by subsequent workers.

Štys (1967) in a review of the Malcidae and related taxa, suggested that Cryptorhamphus constitutes a separate tribe, and that the Cymini and Ninini are morphologically distinct. Hamid (1975) revised the entire complex of genera, and partly established the Cymidae in its modern sense, recognising three tribes, the Cymini (Ashlockia Hamid, Cymodema, Cymus and Neocymodema Hamid), Ontiscini (Neocymus Hamid, Nesocymus Kirkaldy, Ontiscus Stål, Pseudocymus Van Duzee and Sephora Kirkaldy) and Ninini (Cymoninus Distant, Neoninus Distant, Ninomimus Distant, Ninus Stål and Paraninus Scudder). He redefined the Cryptorhamphinae to include Cryptorhamphus and Gonystus Stål and excluded Epipolops from the Cymini.

Henry (1997) grouped Cymini + Ontiscini in the family Cymidae, recogning the family as the sister-group to the Ninidae + Malcidae + Colobathristidae + Berytidae. In the Catalogue, we follow this arrangement, elevating the two tribes to subfamily status (Cyminae and Ontiscinae), with each comprising the genera designated by Hamid (1975).

The Cyminae include four genera and 40 species, most of which species occur in the Afrotropical, western Palaearctic and Nearctic Regions (Slater 1964; Hamid 1975; Slater & O'Donnell 1995; Péricart 1998). The group is represented in Australia by two species, both also found extralimitally: Cymus novaezelandiae Woodward occurs in New Zealand and temperate Australia, and Neocymodema sulicollis (Bergroth) occurs in the Oriental Region and tropical Queensland.

The Ontiscinae comprises five genera and 14 species. Four genera are endemic to the eastern Pacific (Hawaii and Marquesas). Ontiscus occurs in the Australian Region and the Philippines and contains nine species, six of which are found in Australia. Ontiscus vitinesis Kirkaldy also occurs in Fiji. Most of the endemic species of Ontiscus are found in temperate Australia, sometimes in xeric localities.

Hamid (1975) summarised the biology of Cymidae. They are known to be granivorous on monocots, primarily species of Cyperaceae and Juncaceae. Cymids often occur in the seed heads of their host plants and are usually cryptozoic, resembling the seeds. Polyphagy is probably common in the family as many species are known from a range of plant species. They are often associated with species of Carex Linnaeus, Cyperus Linnaeus, Juncus Linnaeus and Scirpus Linnaeus (Putschkov 1958; Hamid 1975; Péricart 1998).

Host records are documented for most Australian cymids, mostly involving species of Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, Restionaceae and Poaceae. Cymus novaezelandiae is known from three plant genera, including a grass. The host records of Ontiscus are varied, with O. australis Stål known from a sedge and grass, O. brevipilus Scudder from a restio, and O. obscurus Scudder from three genera of sedges. Slater (1976b) recorded C. novaezelandiae and Cymodema basicornis (Motschulsky) together on the same seed heads of Cyperus tenuiflorus Rottb.

Slater (1976a, 1976b) described the immature stages and habitat of O. brevipilis. Malipatil (1977) described the fifth instar larvae of four species of Ontiscus and discussed their biology. He reported that O. australis and O. brevis Hamid oviposit in the glumes of the racemes of the host plants. Péricart (1998) summarised the biology of eastern Palaearctic species, corroborating a polyphagous habit for cymids, with most species exhibiting a broad range of monocot hosts.



Cymids are small, elongate-ovoid insects that are densely punctate. The bucculae are short. Ocelli are present. The antennae and labium are 4-segmented. All abdominal spiracles are dorsal, except for the seventh which are ventral. One to three larval dorsal abdominal glands are found between terga III/IV, IV/V and V/VI. (Barber 1956; Hamid 1975; Schuh & Slater 1995; Henry 1997; Péricart 1998b)


General References

Ashlock, P.D. 1957. An investigation of the taxonomic value of the phallus in the Lygaeidae (Hemiptera-Heteroptera). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 50: 407-426

Baerensprung, F. 1860. Catalogus Hemipterorum Europae. Hemiptera Heteroptera Europaea systematice disposita. Berliner Entomologische Zeitschrift 4: 1-25

Barber, H.G. 1956. A new arrangement in the subfamily Cyminae. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 58: 282

Hamid, A. 1975. A systematic revision of the Cyminae (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) of the world with a discussion of the morphology, biology, phylogeny and zoogeography. Occasional Publications of the Entomological Society of Nigeria 14: 1-179

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

Malipatil, M.B. 1977. Immature stages of Ontiscus Stål (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae: Cyminae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 16: 321-326

Péricart, J. 1998. Hémiptères Lygaeidae Euro-Méditerranéens. Volume 2. Systématique: Seconde Partie. Oxycareninae, Bledionotinae, Rhyparochrominae (1). Faune de France 84B: I-III 1-453, 3 pls

Putschkov, V.G. 1958. Larvae of Hemiptera-Heteroptera. I. Lygaeidae. Entomological Review. Washington 37: 332-351

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. 1964. A Catalogue of the Lygaeidae of the World. Storrs : University of Connecticut xviii 1668 pp.

Slater, J.A. 1976a. The immature stages of Lygaeidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) of southwest Australia. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 15: 101-126

Slater, J.A. 1976b. The biology, distribution and taxonomy of some Lygaeidae of Southwest Australia (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 15: 129-151

Slater, J.A. & O'Donnell, J.E. 1995. A Catalogue of the Lygaeidae of the World (1960–1994). New York : New York Entomological Society xv 410 pp.

Southwood, T.R.E. & Leston, D. 1959. Land and Water Bugs of the British Isles. London : Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd xi 436 pp., 32 col. pls, 31 monotone pls.

Stål, C. 1862. Hemiptera mexicana enumeravit speciesque novas descripsit. Stettiner Entomologische Zeitung 23: 81-118, 273-281, 289-325, 437-462

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

Stål, C. 1874. Enumeratio Hemipterorum. Bidrag till en förteckning öfver aller hittills kända Hemiptera, jemte systematiska meddelanden. 4. Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Academiens Nya Handlingar, Stockholm n.f. 12(1): 1-186

Stichel, W. 1957. Illustrierte Bestimmungstabellen der Wanzen. II Europa (Hemiptera-Heteroptera Europae). Pentatomomorpha Lygaeoidea. Berlin : published privately pp. 60-96.

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

Usinger, R.L. & Ashlock, P.D. 1959. Revision of the Metrargini (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 17(1): 93-116


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)