Resin gathering in neotropical resin bugs (Insecta: Hemiptera: Reduviidae): Functional and comparative morphology

Authors

  • Dimitri Forero,

    Corresponding author
    1. Heteropteran Systematics Laboratory, Department of Entomology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, California 92521
    • Heteropteran Systematics Laboratory, Department of Entomology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
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  • Dong-Hwan Choe,

    1. Department of Entomology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, California 92521
    Current affiliation:
    1. Essig Museum of Entomology, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
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  • Christiane Weirauch

    1. Heteropteran Systematics Laboratory, Department of Entomology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, California 92521
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Abstract

Apiomerini (Reduviidae: Harpactorinae) collect plant resins with their forelegs and use these sticky substances for prey capture or maternal care. These behaviors have not been described in detail and morphological structures involved in resin gathering, transfer, and storage remain virtually undocumented. We here describe these behaviors in Apiomerus flaviventris and document the involved structures. To place them in a comparative context, we describe and document leg and abdominal structures in 14 additional species of Apiomerini that represent all but one of the 12 recent genera in the tribe. Based on these morphological data in combination with the behavioral observations on A. flaviventris, we infer behavioral and functional hypotheses for the remaining genera within the tribe Apiomerini. Setal abdominal patches for resin storage are associated with maternal care so far only documented for species of Apiomerus. Based on the occurrence of these patches in several other genera, we propose that maternal care is widespread within the tribe. Ventral abdominal glands are widespread within female Apiomerini. We propose that their products may prevent hardening of stored resins thus providing long-term supply for egg coating. Judging from the diverse setal types and arrangements on the front legs, we predict six different behavioral patterns of resin gathering within the tribe. J. Morphol., 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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