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FLORA AND FAUNA
A new genus of plant bug, plus 4 new species from Australia
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 11, 2015


This is Restiophylus lyginiae, one of four new species of plant bugs found in Australia. Image courtesy Entomological Society of America. For a larger version of this image please go here.

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.

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.

The full article, "Restiid-Feeding Semiini (Hemiptera: Miridae: Phylinae) From Western Australia: Description and Phylogenetic Analysis of the New Plant Bug Genus Restiophylus, n. gen," is available at the Entomological Society of America


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