Familia Tessaratomidae Stål, 1865

Family TESSARATOMIDAE Stål, 1865

D.A. Rider

The family Tessaratomidae is divided into three subfamilies (Natalicolinae, Oncomerinae, and Tessaratominae), and includes altogether 55 genera and approximately 240 species worldwide. In the Palaearctic Region, two subfamilies are represented by eleven genera and 30 species. Members of this family occur primarily in the Old World tropics, especially Africa and Indomalaysia, but a number of species are also known from Australia, and at least three species of Piezosternum Amyot & Serville occur in the New World tropics. Tessaratomids are medium to large in size; in fact, several species rank among the largest terrestrial Heteroptera. They tend to have a small triangular head (as compared to the rest of their bodies) with small flap-like bucculae and a very short rostrum. The antennae are usually 4-segmented, but may be 5-segmented. The pronotum often extends posteriorly over the base of the scutellum, and may have the humeral angles greatly expanded and produced laterally or anteriorly. The spiracles on the second abdominal segment are completely exposed. The mesosternum, metasternum, and abdominal base are often produced ventrad, forming a ridge or plate-like carina that often extends forward onto the prosternum, sometimes reaching the base of the head. The female genitalia lack the sclerotized spermathecal rod characteristic of the Pentatomidae.

Both adults and immatures are strictly phytophagous, with a few species causing economic damage. For example, Musgraveia sulciventris (Stål) is a minor pest of citrus in Australia (Hely et al., 1982), and the litchi bug, Tessaratoma papillosa (Drury) sometimes causes damage to litchi fruits (Chan, 1931). Several species are known to stridulate, the strigil located on the V1 (= PCu) vein of the hind wing and the plectrum located on the first abdominal tergite (Leston, 1954b). Also, a number of species are known to exhibit parental care by guarding the eggs and early instars (Gogala et al., 1998).

This family was catalogued by Kirkaldy (1909a), and more recently by Rolston et al. (1994). Palaearctic catalogue: Rider (2006b). The present classification was developed by Leston (1955b) with modifications by Kumar (1969) and Kumar & Ghauri (1970). The Chinese fauna has been worked on extensively (Yang, 1935a; Zia, 1957; F.Y. Chen, 1980). A generic level revision with new information on classification has been provided by Sinclair (2000a, 2000b).