Australian Biological Resources Study

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The Peloridiidae, or moss bugs, represent a single family within the suborder Coleorrhyncha, and comprise 17 genera and 36 species (Burckhardt 2009, 2011) , and are known from Chile, Patagonia, New Zealand, eastern Australia, Lord Howe Island and New Caledonia (Evans 1981; Zoological Record 1980–1994; Burckhardt 2009). In the Australian fauna, the family is represented by five genera and eight species. The distribution and morphology of Peloridiidae have long fascinated hemipterists and their phylogenetic position within the Hemiptera is conjectural.

Peloridiids are small, ranging in length from 2 to 4 mm, flattened and cryptozoic, with the body usually areolate. The head is transverse and opisthophagous (Myers & China 1929, Singh 1971, Hamilton 1981). The antennae are 3-segmented and not visible from above. The labium is free and 4-segmented. Brozek (2007) investigated the head structure of peloridiids. The pronotum is laterally expanded with variously shaped areolate cells (Evans 1939). Wing polymorphism is known and the hind wings are usually absent. The forewings are held flat over the abdomen and have variously shaped areolate cells. The ovipositor has three pairs of valves. The male genitalia are symmetrical (Woodward 1956). The larvae are either ovoid or flat (China 1962; Evans 1981; Slater 1982).

Peloridiids are found amongst mosses and liverworts, commonly in association with southern beech (Nothofagus Blume species) (Woodward 1956; Burckhardt 2009, 2011). Woodward (1956) reported that New Zealand peloridiids are found in habitats which are continuously moist, and characterised by high rainfall or mist. Peloridiids are primarily phytophagous on mosses. Helmsing & China (1937) and Evans (1981) reported that Hemiodoecus leai China is associated with the moss, Papillaria kermadecensis, and is commonly covered with the pycnidia of a fungus of the genus Uncinula. This association, however, is dubious (Grgurinovic, C. pers. comm.) and requires verification. The Australian species Howeria kingsmilli was collected from the moss Spiridens viellardii (Burckhardt 2009). In New Zealand, peloridiids are also associated with moss and lichens in Nothofagus forests (Lariviere et al. 2011). Other biological features of this moss bug include four larval instars and spring mating; eggs are probably its over-wintering phase.

Breddin (1897) described the first peloridiid species, Peloridium hammoniorum, from Tierra del Fuego, and suggested a possible relationship between peloridiids and Ochteridae. He placed the peloridiids in the Heteroptera on the basis of abdominal characters, tarsal segmentation and structure, and antennal articulation. China (1924) suggested that the family be placed in a suborder of its own, the Pseudohomoptera. Myers & China (1929) placed the peloridiids in the Homoptera, based on ancestral characters, particularly the absence of a gula. China (1962) supported this arrangement because they possess homopteran-like genitalia and a cicadellid-type pretarsus. Müller (1951) concluded that mycetomes of Hemiodoecellus fidelis (Evans) indicate a relationship with the Fulgoroidea. Pendergrast (1962) described the vascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive and nervous systems, as well as the mycetomes of a number of Australian and New Zealand species, and supported their placement in the Homoptera.

More recently, Hennig (1969), Schlee (1969), Hamilton (1981), Emeljanov (1987), Kristensen (1975, 1991) and Carver et al. (1991) indicated that the Peloridiidae are the sister-group of the Heteroptera. Kristensen (1975) regarded them as Heteroptera because they have a hemelytron-like forewing, CuP and anal veins fused, and the anal cone fused. Hamilton (1981), in a study of the rhynchotal head, suggested that the opisthognathous condition of peloridiids, though superficially similar to fulgoroids, indicates a sister-group relationship to the Heteroptera. He concluded that the peloridiids possess a gular plate, as well as Y-shaped or triangular genal pillars, and have a reduction in the size of the frons. Emeljanov (1987) showed that the structure interpreted by Hamilton (1981) as the gula is the hind wall of the hypopharynx, but he supported the above taxonomic arrangement on the basis of two synapomorphies—the wing coupling apparatus and overlapping of the claval margins in repose. In the Catalogue, we follow this arrangement, although we have not used the supra-subordinal category, the Heteropterodea, for the Peloridiidae and the Heteroptera, as suggested by Schlee (1969) and others. In an alternative arrangement, Popov (1981) placed the peloridiids in a distinct suborder, the Peloridiina, comprising the extant Peloridiidae and the extinct, early Mesozoic, Progonocimicoidea. He concluded that the Peloridiina separated in the Permian from primitive Cicadina.

Woodward (1952, 1956, 1958) revised the New Zealand peloridiids, listing six species in the genera Oiophysa Drake & Salmon and Xenophyes Bergroth. Evans (1981) increased the New Zealand fauna to three genera and 10 species. China (1962) revised the South American Peloridiidae, recognised six species and four genera. China (1924) described the first Australian species, Hemiodoecus leai from Tasmania, which is also widely distributed in south-eastern Australia. Two monotypic genera Hemiodoecellus Evans and Hemiowoodwardia Evans are also represented in the cool temperate parts of south-eastern Australia. The genus Hackeriella Evans comprises two species from tropical and subtropical Queensland. Evans (1959, 1967) studied the Lord Howe Island peloridiids, describing three species in the endemic genus Howeria Evans and suggested that the genus is related to Hemiodoecus China. Evans (1981) reviewed the world fauna, with emphasis on the Australian fauna, and described Oiophysella degenerata from New Caledonia. Burckhardt (2009) monographed the family Peloridiidae and described 4 new genera and 13 new species, as well as novel species level synonymies. He propsed that the three species of Howeria from Lord Howe Island are synonymous; however, we have found sufficient differences in morphology to maintain them as separate species (GC personal observation). Burckhard et al. (2011) revised the genus Xenophyes Bergroth and described 4 species within this taxon. Lariviere et al. (2011) revised New Zealand plerodiid fauna and provided key to species for this region. Currently (July 2012) eight genera and 12 species are listed for Australia.


General References

Boudreaux, H.B. 1979. Arthropod Phylogeny with Special Reference to Insects. New York : John Wiley & Sons viii 320 pp.

Breddin, G. 1897. Hemipteren. pp. 10-13 in Michaelsen, W. (ed.). Ergebnisse der Hamburger Magalhaensischen Sammalreise, 1892/93. Herausgegeben vom naturhistorischen Museum zu Hamburg. Hamburg : L. Friederischen & Co. II. Arthropoden 36 & 2 unnumbered pp.

Brozek, J. 2007. Labial sensillae and the internal structure of the mouthparts of Xenophyes cascus (Bergroth 1924) (Peloridiidae: Coleorrhyncha: Hemiptera) and their significance in evolutionary studies on the Hemiptera. pp. 35-42 in Cichocka, E. (Ed.). [Monograph aphids and other hemipterous insects, 13.] Monografia mszyce I inne pluskwiaki, 13. Lublin : The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin pp. 1-226.

Burckhardt, D. 2009. Taxonomy and phylogeny of the Gondwanan moss bugs or Peloridiidae (Hemiptera, Coleorrhyncha). Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 56(2): i-viii, 173-235

Burckhardt, D., Bochud, E., Damgaard, J., Gibbs, G.W., Hartung, V. Lariviere, M.-C., Wyniger, D. & Zuercher, I. 2011. A review of the moss bug genus Xenophyes (Hemiptera: Coleorrhyncha: Peloridiidae) from New Zealand: systematics and biogeography. Zootaxa 2923: 1-26

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.

China, W.E. 1924. A new genus of Peloridiidae (Hemiptera) from Tasmania. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine 60: 199-203

China, W.E. 1962. South American Peloridiidae (Hemiptera-Homoptera: Coleorrhyncha). Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 114: 131-161

Emeljanov, A.F. 1987. Phylogeny of Cicadina (Homoptera, Cicadinea) based on comparative morphological data. Trudy Vsesoyuznogo Entomologicheskogo Obshchestva 69: 19-109 [In Russian]

Evans, J.W. 1939. The morphology of the thorax of the Peloridiidae (Homopt.). Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London B 8: 143-150

Evans, J.W. 1959. The Peloridiidae of Lord Howe Island (Homoptera: Coleorrhyncha). Records of the Australian Museum 25: 57-62

Evans, J.W. 1967. The biogeographical significance of the Peloridiidae (Homoptera: Coleorrhyncha) and a new species from Lord Howe Island. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 79: 17-24

Evans, J.W. 1981. A review of present knowledge of the family Peloridiidae and new genera and new species from New Zealand and New Caledonia (Hemiptera: Insecta). Records of the Australian Museum 34: 381-406

Hamilton, K.G.A. 1981. Morphology and evolution of the rhynchotan head (Insecta: Hemiptera, Homoptera). The Canadian Entomologist 113(11): 953-974

Helmsing, I.W. & China, W.E. 1937. On the biology and ecology of Hemiodoecus veitchi Hacker. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 10 19: 473-489

Hennig, W. 1969. Die Stammesgeschichte der Insekten. Frankfurt am Main : Waldemar Kramer 436 pp.

Kristensen, N.P. 1975. The phylogeny of the hexapod orders. A critical review of recent accounts. Zeitschrift für Zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung 18: 391-412

Kristensen, N.P. 1991. Phylogeny of extant hexapods. pp. 125-140 in CSIRO (ed.). The Insects of Australia. A textbook for students and research workers. Melbourne : Melbourne University Press Vol. 1 xiii 542 pp.

Lariviere, M.-C., Burchardt, D. & Larochelle, A. 2011. Peloridiida (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coleorrhyncha). Fauna of New Zealand 67: 10-74

Müller, H.J. 1951. Über die intrazellulare Symbiose der Peloridiidae Hemiodoecus fidelis Evans und ihre Stellung unter der Homopterensymbiosen. Zoologischer Anzeiger 146: 150-167

Myers, J.G. & China, W.E. 1929. The systematic position of the Peloridiidae as elucidated by a further study of the external anatomy of Hemiodoecus leai China. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3: 282-294

Pendergrast, J.G. 1962. The internal anatomy of the Peloridiidae (Homoptera: Coleorrhyncha). Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 114: 49-65

Popov, Y.A. 1981. Historical development and some questions on the general classification of Hemiptera. Rostria Suppl. 33: 85-99

Schlee, D. 1969. Morphologie und Symbiose; ihre Beweiskraft für die Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen der Coleorrhyncha (Insecta, Hemiptera). Phylogenetische Studien an Hemiptera IV: Heteropteroidea (Heteroptera + Coleorrhyncha) als monophyletische Gruppe. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde 210: 1-27

Singh, S. 1971. Morphology of the head of Homoptera. Research Bulletin of the Punjab University ns 22: 261-316

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.

Woodward, T.E. 1952. Two new species of Peloridiidae from New Zealand (Homoptera: Coleorrhyncha) with additional locality records for the family. Records of the Canterbury Museum 6: 181-189

Woodward, T.E. 1956. On Australian and New Zealand Peloridiidae (Homoptera: Coleorrhyncha). Papers of the Department of Entomology University of Queensland 1(3): 31-56

Woodward, T.E. 1958. A new species of Peloridiidae (Homoptera: Coleorrhyncha) with a key to the New Zealand species. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 85: 687-693 pl. 50


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)
08-Aug-2013 08-Aug-2013 MOVED
05-Dec-2012 05-Dec-2012 MODIFIED
15-Aug-2012 15-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)