Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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15 February 2002


The Pachygronthidae are a moderate-sized family of monocot-feeding lygaeoid bugs presently comprising 13 genera and 78 species (Slater & O'Donnell 1995; Zoological Record 1995–2001). They are found in all major zoogeographic regions and are largely tropical and subtropical in distribution. The Australian fauna comprises six genera and ten species.

Stål (1865, 1870, 1874) provided the first synthesis of the suprageneric group. From Distant (1882) onwards, pachygronthids have largely been considered to form a subfamily of the Lygaeidae sensu lato. Slater (1955) reviewed the group and considered it to have a basal phylogenetic position within Lygaeidae. Henry (1997) raised the subfamily to family level, as Pachygronthidae, and established the Blissidae as their sister-group.

Stål (1874) recognised two tribes among pachygronthids: Pachygronthini and Teracrini. Slater (1955) claimed that these tribes are dissimilar morphologically, but did not dispute a close relationship, based primarily on the ventral position of the abdominal spiracles. These two tribes are raised to subfamily and the classification used in the Catalogue is as follows: Pachygronthidae: Pachygronthinae and Teracrinae.

The Pachygronthinae have a circumtropical distribution. Slater (1955) divided the nominotypical genus, Pachygrontha Germar, into eight species-groups, which are mostly restricted to either the eastern Palaearctic, Oriental, Afrotropical or Neotropical Regions. The Australian fauna is relatively depauperate and composed of five pachygronthine species (2 endemic), most of which are confined to the tropics. Pachygrontha bipunctata bipunctata (Stål) is also widespread throughout the Eastern Hemisphere tropics. Slater (1955) argued that the Australian Pachygrontha species are an extension of the Oriental fauna. The subfamily is also represented in Australia by the monotypic endemic genus Magninus Distant, which is restricted to coastal areas (Albany and Warren River) of south-western Western Australia.

The Teracrinae comprise seven genera and 22 species (Slater 1964; Slater & O'Donnell 1995), and, aside from Phlegyas (Western Hemisphere), are found in the Eastern Hemisphere, particularly in the tropics. Opistostenus Reuter and Stenophyella Horváth have Indo-Pacific distributions and each is represented in Australia by an endemic species. Darwinocoris Slater and Stenophlegyas Slater are endemic monotypic genera; D. australicus Slater is restricted to southern Western Australia (King George's Sound) and S. woodwardi Slater is known from disjunct locations in Queensland.

Slater (1955, 1956, 1962, 1978) reviewed the Australian fauna, describing two new genera and four species. Aside from the ubiquitous Stenophyella macerta Horváth, pachygronthids are not well represented in museum collections.

Knowledge of the biology of Pachygronthidae is very limited. Most species are monocot-feeders and are thought to be 'up-on-plant' seed-predators. They are known from plant species of the Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Restoniaceae. In Australia Pachygrontha robusta Slater is known from the widespread sedge genus Gahnia J.R.&G.Forst; one of us [GC] has also found undetermined species of Pachygrontha associated with Gahnia species. Darwinocoris australicus Slater is known from the restio, Leptocarpus coangustatus Nees. Stenophyella macerta is one of the most abundant heteropterans in Australia and is commonly taken when sweeping grasses. Malipatil & Kumar (1975) and Slater (1976a, 1976b) provided biological notes on Australian pachygronthids.



Pachygronthids are slender, elongate species, that are generally pale in colour. The head is declivent and the bucculae are short. The antennae are elongate and filiform or weakly fusiform. The first segment either greatly exceeds the clypeus (Pachygronthinae) or barely reaches the apex of the clypeus (Teracrinae). The pronotum is trapeziform, usually with a shallow transverse impression medially. The forefemora are incrassate and are armed with prominent spines. The costal margins of the hemelytra are not explanate and do not extend over the connexiva. The hemelytral membrane possesses simple veins that are neither anastomising nor connected by cross-veins. Most species are macropterous, although brachypterous morphs are known. All the abdominal spiracles are ventral. The abdominal sutures are straight and extend to the lateral margins. The male parameres are symmetrical and either have a tuft of sensory hairs (Pachygronthinae) or lack them (Teracrinae). (Slater 1955; Schuh & Slater 1995; Henry 1997)


General References

Distant, W.L. 1882. Insecta. Rhynchota. Hemiptera-Heteroptera Vol. 1. pp. 193-208 in Godman, F.D. & Salvin, O. (eds). Biologia Centrali-Americana (Zoology). London : R.H. Porter Part 17.

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

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. 1955. A revision of the subfamily Pachygronthinae of the World (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Philippine Journal of Science 84: 1-160 4 pls

Slater, J.A. 1956. Notes on Australian Pachygronthinae with the description of a new genus (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 67: 21-24 1 pl.

Slater, J.A. 1962. Darwinocoris a new genus of Pachygronthinae from Australia with a description of the type species, D. australicus sp. n. (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Journal of the Entomological Society of Queensland 1: 44-45

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. 1978. The status of Pachygrontha solieri (Montrouzier) with the description of a new species from the New Guinea area (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Journal of Natural History 12: 529-533

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. 1865. Hemiptera Africana. Holmiae : Norstedtiana Vol. 2 181 pp.

Stål, C. 1870. Enumeratio Hemipterorum. Bidrag till en förteckning öfver aller hittills kända Hemiptera, jemte systematiska meddelanden. 1. Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Academiens Nya Handlingar, Stockholm n.f. 9(1): 1-232

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


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)