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15 February 2002


The Hyocephalidae are a small family of coreoid bugs that are restricted to Australia (Štys 1964; Carver et al. 1991; Schuh & Slater 1995). The family currently comprises two monotypic genera: Hyocephalus Bergroth and Maevius Stål, with two species, the second described only recently (Brailovsky 2002).

Bergroth (1906) described the first species, Hyocephalus aprugnus Bergroth, erecting a new subfamily of Coreidae, Hyocephalinae, for its inclusion. Bergroth (1912) subsequently assigned the hyocephalids to a coreid tribe. Reuter (1912) raised the group to family level, an arrangement followed by nearly all subsequent authors. Štys (1964) in his seminal work on the Hyocephalidae re-affirmed their family ranking. He proposed that that they hold an intermediary position in the Pentatomomorpha, sharing similarities with Lygaeidae, Largidae and Coreidae. Schaefer (1965, 1981) hypothesised a close relationship between Hyocephalidae and Stenocephalidae, and that together they hold a plesiomorphic position in the Coreoidea. Henry (1997) re-affirmed this sister-group relationship.

Little is known about the biology of hyocephalids. Slater (1982) reported that they are ground-dwelling, living under stones in sandy and gravelly areas. Kumar (1966; also listed by Schaefer & Mitchell 1983) speculated that Maevius indecorus Stål (as 'Hyocephalus nov.sp.') feeds on the ripe seeds of Acacia and Eucalyptus species. Hyocephalus aprugnus is found in temperate localities in South Australia and Western Australia. Maevius indecorus Stål is known from coastal Queensland.



Hyocephalids are large, parallel-sided, elongate bugs, which are mostly dark in colour. The head is elongate and tuberculate. The bucculae are enlarged, extending posteriorly to the eyes. The gula has a labial groove. The ocelli are reduced. The clypeus is compressed mesally. The pronotum is trapezoidal. The hemelytra has four main veins, with cross veins forming basal cells. Wing polymorphism is present, with macropterous and brachypterous morphs known. The external efferent system of the metathoracic glands is unique, possessing a bristle-like process originating from the ostiole. The venter of the abdomen, basally bears a pore bearing plate on each side. All spiracles are ventral in position. The trichobothria of abdominal segments V and VI are lateral in position and grouped together. The ovipositor is laciniate. The larval dorsal abdominal glands open between terga IV/V and V/VI. The male phallus lacks a vesica. (Štys 1964; Slater 1982; Carver et al. 1991; Schuh & Slater 1995)


General References

Bergroth, E. 1906. Aphylinae und Hyocephalinae, zwei neue Hemipteren-Subfamilien. Zoologischer Anzeiger 29: 644-649

Bergroth, E. 1912. New or little known Hemiptera, chiefly from Australia, in the American Museum of Natural History. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 31: 343-348

Brailovsky, H. 2002. A new species of Maevius Stål from Australia and some notes on the family Hyocephalidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 104(1): 41-50

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.

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

Kumar, R. 1966. Studies on the biology, immature stages, and relative growth of some Australian bugs of the superfamily Coreoidea (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Australian Journal of Zoology 14: 895-991

Reuter, O.M. 1912. Bemerkungen über mein neues Heteropterens-System. Öfversigt af Finska Vetenskaps-Societetens Förhandlingar 54A(6): 1-62

Schaefer, C.W. 1965. The morphology and higher classification of the Coreoidea (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Parts III. The families Rhopalidae, Alydidae, and Coreidae. Miscellaneous Publications of the Entomological Society of America 5: 1-76

Schaefer, C.W. 1981. The morphology and relationships of the Stenocephalidae and Hyocephalidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Coreoidea). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 74: 83-95

Schaefer, C.W. & Mitchell, P.L. 1983. Food plants of the Coreoidea (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 76: 591-615

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.

Štys, P. 1964. The morphology and relationship of the family Hyocephalidae (Heteroptera). Acta Zoologica Hungarica 10: 229-262


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)