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A new species of Oncopeltus Stål, 1868 (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) in the nominate subgenus from Ecuador



Oncopeltus Stål is a lygaeine genus currently comprising 39 species classified in two subgenera (Slater & O’Donnell, 1995). Oncopeltus is distributed in both hemispheres in tropical and temperate areas. Species on this genus are commonly known as milkweed bugs, because of their trophic association with plants in the family Apocynaceae (Scudder & Duffey, 1971). From these plants, the bugs sequester cardenolides making them unpalatable for predators (Duffey & Scudder, 1972). These habits are also accompanied with their brightly reddish coloration, which has been interpreted as aposematism (Duffey & Scudder, 1972, O’Rourke, 1979; Faúndez et al., 2016). As these bugs attack several plants in the subfamily Asclepiadoideae; they have an economic impact on several ornamentally used species, and may sometimes be considered as garden pests (Faúndez & Rocca, 2016; Faúndez et al., 2016). Species of this group are also well known for generating some natural hybrids (O’Rourke, 1979); because of this, their systematic treatment at specific level has been confused, and the identity of several taxa remain unclear. The purpose of this contribution is to describe a new species in this genus from Ecuador.



Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Lygaeidae

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Duffey, S.S. & Scudder, G.G.E. (1972) Cardiac glycosides in North American Asclepiadaceae, a basis for unpalatability in brightly coloured Hemiptera and Coleoptera. Journal of Insect Physiology, 18, 63–78.

Faúndez, E.I. & Rocca, J.R. (2016) Descripción de un caso teratológico en Oncopeltus (Erythrischius) miles (Blanchard, 1852) (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) con notas acerca de su distribución y biología. Arquivos Entomolóxicos, 15, 39–43.

Faúndez, E.I., Castillo, R. & Rocca, J.R. (2016) Aposematism and unpalatability in the Chilean milkweed bug Oncopeltus (Erythrischius) miles (Blanchard, 1852) (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae): Experiencies with spiders (Arachnida: Araneae). Arquivos Entomolóxicos, 16, 333–336.

O’Rourke, F.A. (1976) The genus Oncopeltus in the Western Hemisphere (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Connecticut, Storrs. 161 pp.

O’Rourke, F.A. (1979) Hybridization in Milkweed Bugs of the Genus Oncopeltus (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Evolution, 33 (4), 1098–1113.

Scudder, G.G.E. & Duffey, S.S. (1971) Cardiac glycosides in the Lygaeinae (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 50, 35–42.

Slater, A. (1992) A genus level revision of western hemisphere Lygaeinae (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) with keys to species. University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 55, 1–56.

Slater, J.A. & O’Donnell, J.E. (1995) A Catalogue of the Lygaeidae of the World (1960–1994). New York Entomological Society, New York, 410 pp.



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ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand