Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps



The Schizopteridae are a widely distributed dispsocoromorphan family of 44 genera and 229 species (Slater 1982, Zoological record 1980–1994, Henry 2009). Slater (1982) suggests that the world fauna is largely undescribed and estimates that over 1200 species exist. Schizopterids are mostly pantropical in distribution.

The schizopterids are very small bugs, ranging in size from 0.8 to 2 mm. They are mostly convex, sometimes flat and ovoid, usually with coleopteroid forewings, especially in females. The head is strongly deflexed. The eyes are usually large and ocelli are either present or absent. The first and second antennal segments are short and subequal, with the third and fourth segments elongate. The labium is 2, 3 or 4-segmented. The adults have omphalium metathoracic scent glands. The propleura are expanded ventrally, and envelop the procoxae and ventral parts of the head. The hind legs are modified for jumping. The tarsal formula is variable: in males it is either 2:2:3, 3:3:2 or 3:3:3 and in females either 2:2:2, 2:2:3 or 3:3:3. The male pygophore and parameres are asymmetrical. The female ovipositor is either well developed, reduced, absent or asymmetrical as in Pachyplagioides Gross.

Little is known of the biology of schizopterids, although all members are thought to be predaceous on small invertebrates. They are commonly collected in forest litter, pitfall traps or at light. Slater (1982) indicated that schizopterids are soil and litter inhabitants. Hill (1980) reported that Hypelosoma hickmani Wygodzinsky is found in rainforest litter, wet sclerophyll forest moss, wet subalpine heath, rushes, sedges and from Poa gunnii Vickery growing between dolerite boulders. He reported Pateena elimata Hill from grass habitats, in association with Enicocephalidae and weevils. Pateena polymitarior Hill is known from the tussock grass, Poa sieberana Sprengel. Hill (1984) concluded that the Hypselosomatinae are closely associated with wet habitats such as rainforest refugia and elevated bogs. Hill (1985a) also reported that species of Pateena Hill typically inhabit montane alpine wetlands and possibly have conservation status. Hill (1987) recorded Hypselosoma Reuter species from a variety of habitats, including Nothofagus Blume forests, rainforests, open forest leaf litter, Melaleuca Linnaeus leaf litter and long grasses. Hill (1990a) reported Pachyplagia Gross, mostly from rainforests, although P. australia Gross is an inquiline in the nests of the ant species, Brachyponera lutea (Mayr). Hill (1990b) indicated that Ogeria Distant may be associated with ants or termites.

Hill (1980–2004) has made extensive studies of the Australian Schizopteridae and described the majority of species. He revised the Tasmanian Schizopteridae, including the descriptions of two new species of a new genus, Pateena ,and a redescription of Hypselosoma hickmani (Hill 1980). He published a revision of the Australian Hypselosomatinae, describing six new genera and 21 new species (Hill 1984). He revised both Pateena, recognising four species restricted to south-eastern New South Wales and Tasmania (Hill 1985a), and Duonota Hill, recognising 12 Australian species from Queensland and New South Wales (Hill 1985b). He recorded the Schizopterinae genus Pinochius Carayon from tropical Queensland rainforest (Hill 1985c), a genus thought previously to be restricted to the Afrotropical Region. Hill (1987) reviewed the Australian Hypselosoma species, describing four new species from Queensland in a distinct species group with possible affinities to Oriental Hypselosoma species. He revised Pachyplagia, recognising seven species (Hill 1990a): P. australia is widely distributed in eastern Australia, and the remainder of the species are restricted to subtropical and tropical Queensland. More recently, Hill (1990b) reviewed Ogeria, described thirteen species from eastern Australia, and suggested a close relationship with Pachyplagia. He also revised Pachyplagioides Gross, recognising five species from Queensland (Hill 1992) and described a new genus Kaimon, including the description of 27 new species from New South Wales, Queensland and Northern Territory (Hill 2004).


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)
20-Aug-2015 SCHIZOPTERIDAE 18-Aug-2015 REVIEWED Lyn Randall
12-Sep-2014 SCHIZOPTERIDAE 10-Sep-2014 REVIEWED Dr Federica Turco
05-Dec-2012 05-Dec-2012 MODIFIED
15-Aug-2012 15-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
01-Oct-2010 01-Oct-2010 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)