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Figures and Terminology

Dorsal anatomy

Soapberry bug dorsal anatomy
Dorsal anatomy of a soapberry bug. Silver dot above scutellum is the head of the pin holding the insect. Adult Leptocoris vicinus museum specimen.

  • Clavus: part of the forewing that surrounds the scutellum when the wings are folded
  • Corium: hardened part of forewing; does not include the clavus
  • Jugum: lobe on tip of head; there is one on either side of the tylus
  • Membrane: translucent tip of forewing
  • Ocellus: simple eye that is found on the top of the head ("simple" because it only contains a single lens)
  • Pronotum: dorsal plate that covers the thorax
  • Scutellum: triangular plate that lies behind the pronotum
  • Tylus: tip of the head that lies between the juga

Ventral anatomy

Ventral anatomy of soapberry bug
Ventral anatomy of a soapberry bug. Silver projection near center is the pin holding the insect. Adult Leptocoris vicinus museum specimen.

  • Coxa: rounded segment of the leg that is closest to the body
  • Rostrum: sheath that encloses the mouthparts; has four segments (also known as the beak or labium)

Lateral anatomy

Soapberry bug side anatomy
Side anatomy of a soapberry bug. Adult Leptocoris vicinus museum specimen.

Male vs. Female

L. vicinus male and female. Note the distinct shape of the posterior end of the abdomen in each sex. The small, hook-like appendages emerging from the male are parameres and are only found in males.

Brachypterous vs. Macropterous

Leptocoris mutilatus (wing types)
Male on left is macropterous and female on right is brachypterous. Mating pair of Leptocoris mutilatus in Africa.

  • Brachypterous: short-winged; always incapable of flight
  • Macropterous: long-winged; typically capable of flight (depends on state of flight muscles)

Life stages of the young soapberry bug

Leptocoris mitellatus instars
The five nymphal instars of Leptocoris mitellatus. A bug spends about a week in each stage before molting to the next. Note the dramatic increase in size over the five stages (Kumar 1966).

Nymph vs. Adult

Top row: nymphs, bottom row: adults
Top row: nymphs, bottom row: adults

Columns from left to right: Boisea trivittata, Jadera coturnix, and Leptocoris vicinus

Beak length vs. Fruit radius

Fig. 1 (Carroll and Boyd 1992)
Click image to view larger

Host races of the soapberry bug species Jadera haematoloma are shown feeding on their phylogenetic trees (somewhat stylized). Their beaks extend through the fruits of each of five sapindaceous host species to feed on the seeds within. The southern border of the U.S. is at the bottom of the illustration.

Trees emerge from two regions: the southcentral states and Florida. For each tree, fruits of the native hosts are depicted nearest the base whereas fruits of the invasive host plants are connected as higher points. The host races of the soapberry bug have differentiated in beak length (depicted in this illustration) as well as several other morphological, behavioral, and life history characteristics (see link below for more information). Most of the host-selected differentiation on newly introduced host species has occurred in the past few decades.
-Adapted from Carroll and Boyd 1992

General terms

  • Hemelytra: the partially hardened, partially membranous wings of Heteropterans
  • Instar: the developmental stage between molts; they are often numbered (e.g. first instar, second instar, etc.); soapberry bugs exhibit five instars prior to adulthood
  • Molt: shedding the exoskeleton to permit growth (for soapberry bugs, only nymphs do this)
  • Nymph: an immature insect that has not yet reached adulthood
  • Wing pads: the incomplete wing structures present on nymphs (not to be confused with the short wings of a brachypterous adult)