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Aphid predator (Hemiptera: Miridae)
Rhododendron miridOn this page: Identification & Distribution Biology & Ecology
Identification & Distribution
Adults of Tupiocoris rhododendri have a distinctive white collar and dark pronotum. The first segment of the antennae is yellow, contrasting with the black second segment. The legs are yellow. The length of the adult is 4.0-5.0 mm.
Tupiocoris rhododendri is phytophagous and zoophagous. Its foodplant is restricted to Rhododendron, but it also feeds on aphids and other small insects. It overwinters in the egg stage, with adults present from June to early August. It is native to the Nearctic zone, but has been introduced to Europe.
Biology & Ecology
Tupiocoris rhododendri is an American species. It was apparently introduced to England where it was discovered and described as a new species by Dolling (1972). Since then it has spread over most of Europe. It mainly lives on the Rhododendron ponticum group of rhododendron where it lives on plant juices and also preys on small insects, especially the aphid Illinoia lambersi (see picture below) (McGillivray (1960) in:Kment, 2013 ).
Rhododendron protects itself against herbivores by producing a sticky exudate containing toxic phenols, which covers young emergent lead buds (CABI, 2015 ). This exudate catches and kills herbivorous insects and any of a wide range of other flying insects that make the mistake of landing on it (see picture below).
Both the predator (Tupiocoris rhododendri) and the prey (Illinoia lambersi) have very long legs, and when walking over plant parts with exudate raise their bodies above the exudate (see picture below).