Familia Cimicidae Latreille, 1802

Family CIMICIDAE Latreille, 1802 - bed-bugs

J. Péricart

The family, spreaded worldwide although mainly tropical, includes about 25 genera and 90 species, with only five genera and ten species in the Palaearctic Region. All its representatives show hemelytra reduced to little pads and are flightless; they bear no ocelli and males have only one clasper. All cimicids possess a paragenital system and copulate by traumatic insemination, with several variants corresponding to different anatomies of this feature. They live as blood-sucking temporary ectoparasites, on birds for several subfamilies, on bats for others, with two of them, the cosmopolitan common bed-bug Cimex lectularius and the tropical C. hemipterus, linked as well to man. Usually, they stay in the nests of their hosts. The common bed-bug, linked to bat and to man, is thought to parasitize humankind perhaps since ice-age times when men shared their shelters with bats in caves. Bed-bugs have not been proved to be directly involved in the spreading of human bacterial or viral disease. More or less disappearing in high developed countries, they remain a plague in tropical regions.

World catalogue: Lethierry & Severin, 1896 (outdated). Palaearctic catalogue: Péricart, 1996g. Monographs: World - Usinger, 1966. West Palaearctic - Péricart, 1972. Physiology of traumatic insemination - Carayon in Usinger, 1966; Carayon, 1977a. Bibliography - Ryckman et al., 1981.