A new genus of plant bug and four new species have been discovered in Australia

A new genus of plant bug and four new species have been discovered in Australia. The newly discovered insects, which belong to the family Miridae and the subfamily Phylinae, are described in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

Stephanie Leon and Christiane Weirauch, two entomologists from the University of California, Riverside, examined 761 specimens from museum collections and determined that some were mislabeled and were actually species that were not yet known to science.

The new genus is called Restiophylus. “Restio” comes from the host-plant association of most of its members with the plant family Restionaceae, and “phylus” indicates that it is classified in the subfamily Phylinae.

The four new species are R. hypolaenae, R. leptocarpi, R. lyginiae, and R. meeboldinae. R. hypolaenae is named for its association with plants in the genus Hypolaena. R. leptocarpi is named for its association with plants in the genus Leptocarpus. R. lyginiae is named for its association with plants in the genus Lyginia, and R. meeboldinae is named for its association with plants in the subgenus Meeboldina of the genus Leptocarpus.

Phylogenetic analysis of Restiophylus spp. based on parsimony (TNT), showing one of the six equally parsimonious trees. White numbers in black circles are jackknife support values (only values ≥ 40 shown), numbers above branches character numbers, and numbers below branches character state numbers. Tree statistics: L = 320, CI = 36, RI = 58. The classification indicated on the right is from Menard et al. (2014). Habitus images from various sources as mentioned in materials and methods. (From Leon and Weirauch 2015.)

Phylogenetic analysis of Restiophylus spp. based on parsimony (TNT), showing one of the six equally parsimonious trees. White numbers in black circles are jackknife support values (only values ≥ 40 shown), numbers above branches character numbers, and numbers below branches character state numbers. Tree statistics: L = 320, CI = 36, RI = 58. The classification indicated on the right is from Menard et al. (2014). Habitus images from various sources as mentioned in materials and methods. (From Leon and Weirauch 2015.)

Restiophylus species are currently the only arthropods that are documented to be closely associated with Australian restiid clade (Poales).

Habitus images, illustrations of male genitalia, scanning micrographs, an identification key, and distribution maps for the new species are provided in the article, as well as digital images and distribution maps for the hosts.

Source Entomology Today

Citation S. Leon, C. Weirauch, Restiid-Feeding Semiini (Hemiptera: Miridae: Phylinae) From Western Australia: Description and Phylogenetic Analysis of the New Plant Bug Genus Restiophylus, n. gen, Annals of the Entomological Society of America Nov 2015, DOI: 10.1093/aesa/sav105