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Aphid predator (Hemiptera: Miridae)

Tupiocoris rhododendri

Rhododendron mirid

On 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).

Acknowledgements

For the mirid bugs we have used Southwood & Leston (1959)  and British Bugs  to aid in identification and for the key characteristics.

For aphids we have made provisional identifications from high resolution photos of living specimens, along with host plant identity. In the great majority of cases, identifications have been confirmed by microscopic examination of preserved specimens. We have used the keys and species accounts of Blackman & Eastop (1994)  and Blackman & Eastop (2006)  supplemented with Blackman (1974) , Stroyan (1977) , Stroyan (1984) , Blackman & Eastop (1984) , Heie (1980-1995) , Dixon & Thieme (2007)  and Blackman (2010) . We fully acknowledge these authors as the source for the (summarized) taxonomic information we have presented. Any errors in identification or information are ours alone, and we would be very grateful for any corrections. For assistance on the terms used for aphid morphology we suggest the figure  provided by Blackman & Eastop (2006).

Useful weblinks 

References

  • CABI (1973). Rhododendron ponticum (rhododendron). Invasive Species Compendium Full text 

  •  Dolling, W.R. (1972). A new species of Dicyphus Fieber (Hem., Miridae) from Southern England. Entomologists Monthly Magazine 107, 244-245.

  •  Kment, P. (2013).New and interesting records of true bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) from the Czech Republic and Slovakia V. Acta Musei Moraviae, Scientiae Biologicae 98(2), 495-541244-245. Full text