Familia Miridae

Family Miridae Hahn, 1833

I.M. Kerzhner & M. Josifov

This is the largest family of Heteroptera, with about 1,400 genera and 10,000 species known to date. The fauna of Northern and Central Europe is relatively well-known, but it is clear that from Southern Europe, North Africa, and Asiatic part of the Palaearctic Region, especially China, numerous new species will be described in the future and some recently described species placed in synonymy.

Most species are plant-feeders. Their host plants include fungi (Cylapinae and possibly Isometopinae), ferns (Bryocorini) and various angiosperms. The bugs suck plant sap from leaves, inflorescences, and unripe seeds. Many species use animal food as an additional food source. All Deraeocorinae and Pilophorini, as well as some species in other groups, are obligate predators feeding on eggs, larvae and adults of other insects (aphids, coccids, etc.). The eggs are laid in stems of plants. In most species, the eggs overwinter and adults appear in the second half of summer, but in desert species and some species living on inflorescences, the adults appear in spring or early summer. In a few genera (e.g. Monalocoris, Lygus, Liocoris, Orthops, Stenodema, some Deraeocoris), the adults overwinter. There are one, and sometimes two or more generations per year.

Some Miridae are pests of crops. In the Palaearctic Region, most injurious are polyphagous species of the genus Lygus, also Adelphocoris lineolatus (on alfalfa), Polymerus cognatus (on beet), Trigonotylus caelestialium and Notostira elongata (on cereals), and some species of Orthops (on Apiaceae). Predatory and zoophytophagous species are useful in control of aphids and other insects, and Tytthus mundulus is very effective in biological control of Perkinsiella leafhoppers on sugarcane in the tropics.

A World catalogue was recently published by Schuh (1995); it updates the former catalogue by Carvalho (1957-1960). Palearctic caqtalogue: Kerzhner & Josifov, 1999; Aukema et al., 2013a (supplement). The key to World genera by Carvalho (1955a) is outdated. Monographs, keys and iconographies were published for Central Europe (Wagner, 1943a, 1945, 1956a), Mediterranean (Wagner, 1974d, 1974e, 1975g; Wagner & Weber, 1978), British Isles (Southwood & Leston, 1959), France (Wagner & Weber, 1964), Germany (Wagner, 1952a), Denmark (Gaun, 1974), Finland (Linnavuori, 1966a), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Hoberlandt, 1959), European part of the former USSR (Kiritshenko, 1951a; Kerzhner, 1964b), Siberia (Vinokurov & Kanyukova, 1995a), Yakutia (Vinokurov, 1979a), Far East of Russia (Kerzhner, 1988d), and Japan (Esaki, 1950; Miyamoto & Hidaka, 1965; Tachikawa, 1975; Yasunaga et al., 1993). Of the older publications, Reuter's (1878a, 1879e, 1883e, 1891j, 1896c) monograph is still of importance. All these basic works are not cited ­in the references under species. Also literature published before 1955 (and covered by the Carvalho's catalogue) is usually omitted. Except if otherwise stated, references are given to taxonomic papers with emphasis to those containing figures of male or female genitalia. Faunistic literature is not cited; lists of Miridae of France (Ehanno, 1983), Iraq (Linnavuori, 1992a, 1993a) and China (Zheng, 1995; Qi et al., 1994, 1995) are worthy of mention. Species shared by Palaearctic and Nearctic faunas, most of them introduced in N America from Europe, were considered by Wheeler & Henry (1992).

Types in Reuter's collection were listed by Lindberg (1951a). A list of E. Wagner's Miridae collection was published by J. Ribes & Goula (1986) and detailed information on the types in this collection was given by Aukema (1999).

There are some important publications on special topics: morphology (Barbagallo, 1970), structure of male and female genitalia (Kullenberg, 1941, 1947; Slater, 1950; Kelton, 1959; Clayton, 1989), eggs (Kullenberg, 1942, 1943), larvae (Akingbohungbe, 1974), testis follicle number (Akingbohungbe, 1983), biology (Kullenberg, 1944), and injurious species (V.G. Putshkov, 1966).

A special effort was made to precisely document the distribution of species in the regions with great changes to state borders in the 20th century. For instance, many records from Hungary (Horváth, 1897d) were shown to be outside of its current borders. Some records from Algeria and Egypt (Fokker, 1899a, 1899b) from Schmiedeknecht's collection were based on mislabelled specimens from Europe. It should also be noted that records from Lebanon, Israel and Jordan were referred to by Stichel (1956b, 1957a, 1958a) as Syria.