Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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15 February 2002


The Oxycarenidae are a cosmopolitan family of lygaeoid bugs comprising 23 genera and 147 species (Slater 1964a; Slater & O'Donnell 1995; Zoological Record 1995–2001). Four species of Oxycarenus Fieber are known from Australia.

Stål (1862) established the group at suprageneric level (as Oxycarenida). Lethierry & Severin (1894) first established the family Oxycarenidae. Most workers have ranked the group as a subfamily of Lygaeidae sensu lato. Some authors suggested that oxycarenids have affinities with the Idiostolidae (Schaefer 1966; Schaefer & Wilcox 1969) or Henicocoridae (Woodward 1968). Ashlock (1957) described the male genitalia and drew similarities with the Lygaeinae. Carayon (1964) described the female genitalia and suggested that reduction or loss of the spermatheca is characteristic for oxycarenids. Carayon (1984) reported the unique presence of abdominal sternal glands. Schaefer (1975) proposed monophyly of the group on the basis of reduced trichobothria.

Henry (1997) restored the family status of Oxycarenidae, establishing a sister-group relationship with the Artheneidae based on loss of abdominal laterotergites, presence of a phallothecal process and hexagonal eclosion fracture of the egg. This arrangement is followed in the Catalogue.

The Oxycarenidae are primarily an Eastern Hemisphere family, with most species found in the Palaearctic and Afrotropical Regions. Most genera comprise fewer than ten species. The nominotypical genus, Oxycarenus Fieber, has 54 species. The mostly Western Hemisphere genus, Anomaloptera Amyot & Serville, with 17 species, is the only other diverse genus (Ashlock & Slater 1988; Slater & O'Donnell 1995).

In the Australian fauna the family is represented by four species of Oxycarenus. Three of these are also found in New Caledonia or the Oriental Region (Slater 1975). Gross (1959) revised the Australian species and established the identity of the ubiquitous species, O. arctatus (Walker), O. bicolor Fieber and O. luctuosus (Montrouzier). Malipatil (1987) described O. westraliensis from the cool temperate areas of southern Western Australia. He also suggested that all species except O. bicolor are endemic. However, there is no evidence to support his notion that O. arctatus and O. luctuosus are not distributed extralimitally.

Oxycarenids have received surprisingly little taxonomic treatment. There is no monograph of the family and all works are regional in scope. Samy (1969) revised the African species of Oxycarenus and included an overview of morphology, distribution and host plants, and description of new subgenera. His subgeneric arrangement is followed by most workers. The Australian species belong to the nominotypical subgenus and this arrangement is followed in this Catalogue.

Péricart (1998) described the western Palaearctic fauna. Smaller regional works include Torre-Bueno (1946—Nearctic Region), Gross (1959—Australian Region), Slater (1964b—South Africa), Kerzhner (1964—former Soviet Union), Zheng et al. (1979—China) and Brailovsky & Barrera (1979—Mexico). Lethierry & Severin (1894), Slater (1964a) and Slater & O'Donnell (1995) catalogued the world fauna.

Oxycarenidae are seed-predators on plants (Sweet 1960). Péricart (1998) indicated that many species are xerophilic and polyphagous, and usually univoltine. He also provided detailed information on the biology and host associations of the western Palaearctic species. Many Oxycarenus species are found on plants belonging to the Malvaceae, Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae. Samy (1969) also reported species on plants of the Anacardiaceae, Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, Lamiaceae, Rosaceae and Solanaceae. A number of Oxycarenus species have been recorded as pests of cotton and other malvaceous crops (Samy 1969; Péricart 1998; Slater & Baranowski 1994). Péricart (1998) also reported that other extralimital oxycarenid genera are known from a range of plant families, including the Asteraceae (Metopoplax Fieber, Microplax Fieber), Cistaceae (Macroplax Fieber) and Rutaceae (Brachyplax Fieber). Kirkpatrick (1923) gave a detailed biology and an appraisal of the pest status of the Eastern Hemisphere species, O. hyalinipennis (Costa). Sweet (2000) reviewed the economically important species and described aspects of the biology of Australian Oxycarenus species.

The broadly distributed Australian Oxycarenus species are all found on cotton and are occasional economic pests (Froggatt 1923; Hargreaves 1948; Evans 1952; Hely et al. 1982). Oxycarenus arctatus and O. luctuosus have also been recorded from a range of other plants, including fruits such as oranges, Prunus species (plums, apricots and peaches), strawberries, and staples such as potatoes (Cantrell et al. 1983). Woodward (1984) reported O. arctatus feeding on cattle dung in drought conditions and Wilson & Flanagan (1990) reported O. luctuosus feeding on the seeds of introduced Sida Linnaeus species (Malvaceae).



Oxycarenids are small, flattened species, that are sometimes ant-mimetic. The dorsum is punctate. The head is porrect. The hemelytra are explanate. The lateral margins of the pronotum are rounded. The hind wings possess intervannals and lack a hamus. The second abdominal spiracles are dorsal and the remainder are ventral. The abdominal sutures reach the lateral margins. The spermatheca is reduced or absent, and non-functional. (Samy 1969; Péricart 1998; Schuh & Slater 1995; Henry 1997)


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

Ashlock, P.D. & Slater, A. 1988. Family Lygaeidae Schilling, 1829 (= Infericornes Amyot and Serville, 1843; Myodochidae Kirkaldy, 1899; Geocoridae Kirkaldy, 1902). The Seed Bugs and Chinch Bugs. pp. 167-245 in Henry, T.J. & Froeschner, R.C. (eds). Catalog of the Heteroptera, or True Bugs, of Canada and the Continental United States. Leiden : E.J. Brill xix 958 pp.

Brailovsky, H. & Barrera, E. 1979. Contribución al estudio de los Hemiptera-Heteroptera de Mexico. VXI. La subfamilia Oxycareninae (Lygaeidae), con descripción de una nueva expecie. Folia Entomologica Mexicana 41: 81-93

Cantrell, B.K., Donaldson, J.F., Galloway, I.D., Grimshaw, J.F. & Houston, K.J. 1983. Survey of beneficial arthropods in potato crops in south-east Queensland. Queensland Journal of Agricultural and Animal Science 40: 109-119

Carayon, J. 1964. La spermathèque et les voies génitales femelles des Lygaeidés Oxycareninae [Heteroptera]. Revue Française d'Entomologie 31: 196-218

Carayon, J. 1984. Les Androconies de certains Hémiptères Scutelleridae. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France ns 20: 113-134

Evans, J.W. 1952. The Injurious Insects of the British Commonwealth (except the British Isles, India and Pakistan): with a section on the control of weeds by insects. London : Commonwealth Institute of Entomology vii 42 pp.

Froggatt, W.W. 1923. Insect pests of the cultivated cotton plant. No. 3.—Cotton stainers and other plant bugs. Agricultural Gazette of New South Wales 34: 209-212

Gross, G.F. 1959. On the Australian species of coon bugs Oxycarenus Fieber, Heteroptera: Lygaeidae). Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 13: 359-368 pl. XLI

Hargreaves, H. 1948. List of Recorded Cotton Insects of the World. London : Harrison & Sons Ltd 50 pp.

Hely, P.C., Pasfield, G. & Gellatley, J.G. 1982. Insect Pests of Fruit and Vegetables in NSW. Melbourne : Inkata Press 312 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

Kerzhner, I.M. 1964. Order Hemiptera (Heteroptera). pp. 684-845 in Bei-Bienko, G.Y. (ed.). Keys to the Insects of the European USSR. Apterygota, Palaeoptera, Hemimetabola. Leningrad : Zoological Institute, Academy of Sciences of the USSR Vol. 1.

Kirkpatrick, T.W. 1923. The Egyptian cotton seed bug (Oxycarenus hyalinipnennis (Costa)). Its bionomics, damage and suggestions for remedial measures. Bulletin, Ministry of Agriculture, Egypt, Technical and Scientific Service 35: 1-107

Lethierry, L. & Severin, G. 1894. Catalogue Général des Hémiptères. Tome II. Hétéroptères Coreidae, Berytidae, Lygaeidae, Pyrrhocoridae. Bruxelles : F. Hayez 277 pp.

Malipatil, M.B. 1987. A new species of Oxycarenus Fieber from Australia (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 4: 39-41

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

Samy, O. 1969. A revision of the African species of Oxycarenus (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Entomologiske Meddelelser 121(4): 79-165

Schaefer, C.W. 1966. The morphology and higher systematics of the Idiostolinae (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 59: 602-613

Schaefer, C.W. 1975. Heteropteran trichobothria, (Hemiptera-Heteroptera). International Journal of Insect Morphology and Embryology 4: 193-264

Schaefer, C.W. & Wilcox, D. 1969. Notes on the morphology, taxonomy, and distribution of the Idiostolidae (Hemiptera-Heteroptera). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 62: 485-502

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

Slater, J.A. 1964b. Hemiptera (Heteroptera): Lygaeidae. pp. 15-228 in Hanström, B., Brinck, P. & Rudebeck, G. (eds). South African Animal Life. Results of the Lund University Expedition in 1950–1951. Stockholm : Almqvist & Wiksell Vol. 10.

Slater, J.A. 1975. On the biology and zoogeography of Australian Lygaeidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) with special reference to the southwest fauna. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 14: 47-64

Slater, J.A. & Baranowski, R.M. 1994. The occurrence of Oxycarneus hyalinipennis (Costa) (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae) in the West Indies and new Lygaeidae records for the Turks and Caicos Islands of Providencialis and North Caicos. Florida Entomologist 77(4): 495-497

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.

Stål, C. 1862. Synopsis Coreidum et Lygaeidum Sueciae. Öfversigt af Kongelige Vetenskaps-Akademiens Förhandlingar, Stockholm 19: 203-225

Sweet, M.H. 1960. The seed bugs: a contribution to the feeding habits of the Lygaeidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 55: 317-321

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.

Torre-Bueno, J.R. de la 1946. A synopsis of the Hemiptera-Heteroptera of America north of Mexico. Part III Family XI — Lygaeidae. Entomologica Americana NS 26: 1-141

Wilson, C.G. & Flanagan, G.J. 1990. The phytophagous insect fauna of the introduced shrubs Sida acuta Burm.F. and Sida cordifolia L. in the Northern Territory, Australia. Australian Entomological Magazine 17: 7-15

Woodward, T.E. 1968. A new subfamily of Lygaeidae (Hemiptera-Heteroptera) from Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London B 37: 125-132

Woodward, T.E. 1984. The plant-sucking bug Oxycarenus arctatus (Walker) (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae) developing in cattle dung in drought and post-drought conditions. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 23: 147-148

Zheng, L.-Y., Zou, H.G. & Hsiao, T.Y. 1979. New species of Chinese Lygaeidae (II) Ischnorhynchinae, Oxycareninae, Pachygronthinae (Hemipt.-Heteroptera). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica 4: 362-368


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)