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The Leptopodidae are a highly derived family of leptopodomorphan bugs, comprising 32 genera and 39 species (Schuh et al. 1987; Polhemus & Polhemus 1987; Henry 2009; Polhemus, J.T. pers. comm.). The family is known from all major zoogeographic regions, with major centres of diversity in Madagascar, India and Australasia. Numerous species are widely distributed in the western Palaearctic Region, but few occur in the Western Hemisphere.

Leptopodidae are characterised by a delicate, elongate-ovoid body, and are usually over 2 mm in length. The head has four to six cephalic setae. The eyes are prominent and subpedunculate. Two ocelli are present on a raised tubercle. The labium is short and does not extend far beyond the prosternum. The antennae are extremely long and slender. The pronotum is enlarged, punctate, with an excavated posterior margin that covers the mesonotum. The metathoracic scent gland is well developed with two reservoirs and two osteoles. The tarsal formula is 3:3:3. Males have the phallotheca well sclerotised and the endosoma mostly membranous (Slater 1982). In the Leptopodinae, the forewing has two corial cells and four membrane cells, and the female genitalia are characterised by a plate-like ovipositor which is sometimes absent. In the Leotichiinae the ovipositor is intermediate between laciniate and plate-like states.

Leptopodids are predaceous and are frequently collected on vertical rock faces in streams. Sometimes they are taken in dry habitats away from water. Carver et al. (1991) report that Australian leptopodids frequently occur on the drier parts of rock walls and boulders, near or in fast flowing streams. Polhemus & Polhemus (1987) indicate that species of Valleriola Distant are warm-adapted, strong fliers and very quick. Monteith (1964) reports that Valleriola wilsonae Drake runs extremely rapidly on rocks which border fast flowing streams. In the Oriental Region, Leotichius Distant species are known from bat guano in caves.

Horváth (1911) established the classification of the Leptopodidae. Polhemus (1981a) analysed the relationships of the Leptopodomorpha and Schuh & Polhemus (1980) provided a cladogram of the groups, claiming that the Omaniidae is the sister-group of the Leptopodidae. They included the Leptosaldinae within the Leptopodidae as the sister group of the Leotichiini and Leptopodini. Drake & Hoberlandt (1951) gave a comprehensive checklist of the family and Schuh et al. (1987) provided a world catalogue. Regional works include Péricart's (1990) revision of the European leptopodids. Polhemus (1981b) revised the African leptopodids and included a checklist. Cobben (1987) described additional Afrotropical species. Polhemus & Polhemus (1991) described new leptopodid taxa from Madagascar. Polhemus & Polhemus (1987) revised the Australian leptopodids, recognising two Valleriola species, both restricted to Queensland. The genus Valleriola belongs to the Leptopodinae: Leptopodini.


General References

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.

Cobben, R.H. 1987. New African Leptopodomorpha (Heteroptera: Saldidae, Omaniidae, Leptopodidae), with an annotated checklist of Saldidae from Africa. II. New taxa of Saldidae (except the genus Saldula), Omaniidae, Leptopodidae, and a checklist of African shorebugs. Revue de Zoologie Africaine 101: 3-30

Drake, C.J. & Hoberlandt, L. 1951. Check list and distributional records of Leptopodidae (Hemiptera). Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae 26(373): 1-5

Horváth, G. 1911. Révision des Leptopodides. Annales Historico-Naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici (Zoologica) 9: 358-370

Monteith, G.B. 1964. Notes on the habitat and distribution of Valleriola wilsonae Drake in Queensland (Heteroptera: Leptopodidae). Journal of the Entomological Society of Queensland 3: 83-84

Péricart, J. 1990. Hémiptères Saldidae et Leptopodidae d'Europe occidentale et du Maghreb. Faune de France 77: 1-238

Polhemus, J.T. 1981. African Leptopodomorpha (Hemiptera: Heteroptera): a checklist and descriptions of new taxa. Annals of the Natal Museum 24: 603-619

Polhemus, J.T. 1981. The phylogeny of the Leptopodomorpha and relationship to other Heteroptera. Rostria Suppl. 33: 17-27

Polhemus, J.T. & Polhemus, D.A. 1987. The genus Valleriola Distant (Hemiptera: Leptopodidae) in Australia, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea with notes on zoogeography. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 26: 209-214

Polhemus, J.T. & Polhemus, D.A. 1991. A revision of the Leptopodomorpha (Heteroptera) of Madagascar and nearby Indian Ocean Islands. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 99: 496-526

Schuh, R.T., Galil, B. & Polhemus, J.T. 1987. Catalog and bibliography of Leptopodomorpha (Heteroptera). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 185: 243-406

Schuh, R.T. & Polhemus, J.T. 1980. Analysis of taxonomic congruence among morphological, ecological, and biogeographical data sets for the Leptopodomorpha (Hemiptera). Systematic Zoology 29: 1-26

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.


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)
05-Dec-2012 05-Dec-2012 MODIFIED
15-Aug-2012 15-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)