0121Egeretal

CENTER FOR SYSTEMATIC ENTOMOLOGY, INC., Gainesville, FL


Occurrence of the Old World bug Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius)

(Heteroptera: Plataspidae) in Georgia: a serious home invader and


potential legume pest


J. E. Eger, Jr.

Dow AgroSciences LLC


2606 S. Dundee St.

Tampa, FL 33629


L. M. Ames, D. R. Suiter, T. M. Jenkins

UGA Griffin Campus


Department of Entomology

1109 Experiment Street


Griffin, GA 30223


D. A. Rider

Department of Entomology


NDSU Dept. 7650

P. O. Box 6050


North Dakota State University

Fargo, ND 58108-6050


S. E. Halbert

Florida State Collection of Arthropods


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Division of Plant Industry


P. O. Box 147100

Gainesville, FL 32614-7100


Date of Issue: April 2, 2010


INSECTA

MUNDI A Journal of World Insect Systematics


0121


J. E. Eger, Jr., L. M. Ames, D. R. Suiter, T. M. Jenkins, D. A. Rider, and

S. E. Halbert

Occurrence of the Old World bug Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius) (Heteroptera:

Plataspidae) in Georgia: a serious home invader and potential legume pest

Insecta Mundi 0121: 1-11


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1


0121: 1-11 2010


Occurrence of the Old World bug Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius)

(Heteroptera: Plataspidae) in Georgia: a serious home invader and

potential legume pest


J. E. Eger, Jr.

Dow AgroSciences LLC

2606 S. Dundee St.

Tampa, FL 33629
jeeger@dow.com


L. M. Ames, D. R. Suiter, T. M. Jenkins

UGA Griffin Campus

Department of Entomology

1109 Experiment Street

Griffin, GA 30223


D. A. Rider

Department of Entomology

NDSU Dept. 7650

P. O. Box 6050

North Dakota State University

Fargo, ND 58108-6050


S. E. Halbert

Florida State Collection of Arthropods

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Division of Plant Industry

P. O. Box 147100

Gainesville, FL 32614-7100


Abstract. Specimens of Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius) were collected in northern Georgia in late October 2009,

where they were invading homes in large numbers. This is the first known occurrence of this species and the family

Plataspidae in the New World. Megacopta cribraria was previously known from Asia and Australia. A key is

provided to separate Plataspidae from other families of Pentatomoidea in America North of Mexico. A diagnosis

and figures are provided to facilitate recognition of M. cribraria. Reported host plants and other aspects of the

biology of this species are reviewed. Megacopta cribraria is considered a pest of numerous legumes in Asia, has the

potential to provide biological control of kudzu, Pueraria montana var. lobata (Willd.) Ohwi, (Fabaceae) and likely

will continue to be a household pest in the vicinity of kudzu fields as well as become a pest of North American

legume crops.


Key words. Bean plataspid, stink bug, biological control, kudzu, Pueraria montana var. lobata, household pest.


Introduction


In mid-October, 2009, specimens and photos of Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius) were submitted to the

University of Georgia Homeowner Insect & Weed Diagnostics Laboratory in Griffin, GA. The submis-

sions were from several locations in northeast Georgia where this bug reportedly occurred in large num-

bers on houses. On 28 October, 2009, we visited one of these locations in Hoschton, Jackson Co., GA.

There were thousands of M. cribraria on two houses at this location as well as on all surrounding vegeta-

tion. An examination of vegetation in the vicinity of the houses revealed a field of kudzu, Pueraria montana

var. lobata (Willd.) Ohwi (Fabaceae), located about 30 m from the houses. Sweeping and beating the

kudzu vines yielded large numbers of the bug, including a few late instar nymphs. The bugs had appar-

ently developed on kudzu and had moved out of the kudzu field seeking overwintering sites at the houses.


2 • INSECTA MUNDI 0121, April 2010 EGER, ET AL.


Large numbers of these bugs were present not only on houses, but on vehicles in the area. A shopping

center was located nearby, clearly creating a potential for spread of this bug on or in vehicles. We visited

a second field of kudzu near Monroe, Walton Co., GA, where additional specimens of M. cribraria were

found. Results of a survey to delineate the range of this species in Georgia will be published at a later date

(Suiter, unpublished data).


This is the first species of the family Plataspidae reported from the Western Hemisphere although

another species, Coptosoma xanthogramma (White), is established in the Hawaiian Islands (Beardsley

and Fluker 1967). In this paper, we provide a key, diagnosis, and figures to facilitate recognition of M.

cribraria in America north of Mexico, and review the biology and economic status of this species.


Key to Families of Pentatomoidea in America North of Mexico


1. Tarsi two-segmented .................................................................................................................... 2

– Tarsi three-segmented ................................................................................................................. 3


2(1). Scutellum greatly enlarged, covering fore wings and most of abdomen (Megacopta cribraria) ....

.............................................................................................................................. Plataspidae


– Scutellum small, triangular, not covering fore wings or most of abdomen ...................................

.................................................................................................................. Acanthosomatidae


3(1). Pronotum expanded posteriorly, covering base of scutellum ........................... Tessaratomidae

– Pronotum not expanded posteriorly, base of scutellum exposed ................................................. 4


4(3). Tibiae bearing many stout spines in addition to those occurring at apex of tibiae .................... 5

– Tibial spines, if present, confined to apex of tibiae ...................................................................... 6


5(4). Fore tibiae enlarged, flattened, spines on lateral margins usually stout; scutellum not greatly

enlarged, apex narrowly rounded .............................................................................. Cydnidae


– Fore tibiae cylindrical, spines on lateral margins not larger than others; scutellum enlarged,

covering most of abdomen, apex broadly rounded ............................................ Thyreocoridae


6(4). Scutellum not usually enlarged, if enlarged, short frena present ....................... Pentatomidae

– Scutellum enlarged, frena lacking ........................................................................ Scutelleridae


Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius 1798)

Figure 1-4.


Cimex cribrariaFabricius, 1798: 531.

Tetyra cribraria: Fabricius 1803: 143.

Thyreocoris cribarius [sic]: Burmeister 1835: 384.

Coptosoma cribrarium: Amyot and Serville 1843: 66, pl. 2, fig. 4.

Coptosoma xanthochlora Walker, 1867: 87 (Synonymized by Distant 1899).

Megacopta cribraria: Hsiao and Ren 1977: 21-22, 293, figs. 62, 69, 70, pl. 1, fig. 13.


Diagnosis. Small round species, 3.5 to 6.0 mm long; light brown to olive green with dark punctation

(Fig. 1). Head flat, juga contiguous in front of tylus; second antennal segment one-third or less length of

third segment. Tarsi two-segmented; tibiae setose, lacking stout spines. Scutellum enlarged, width nearly

1.5 times length, truncate or very broadly rounded posteriorly, widest on posterior fourth; base of scutel-

lum with transversely elongate area outlined by distinct impressed line. Venter black, moderately punc-

tate; females with broad pale area laterally on abdomen (Fig. 2), males with broad pale lateral area

limited to second and third visible sternites, segments 4-6 black and densely setose laterally (Fig. 3).

Fifth-instar nymphs 4-5 mm long, oval, light to dark brown, hirsute; lateral margins of thorax and

abdomen somewhat flattened (Fig. 4).


INSECTA MUNDI 0121, April 2010 • 3MEGACOPTA CRIBRARIA IN GEORGIA


Table 1. Reported leguminous (Fabaceae) host plants of Megacopta spp.


4 • INSECTA MUNDI 0121, April 2010 EGER, ET AL.


Comments. Among North American Pentatomoidea, this bug is readily distinguished by the two-seg-

mented tarsi and enlarged scutellum that is widest near the posterior margin and relatively truncate

posteriorly. Other groups in which the scutellum is enlarged (Scutelleridae, Thyreocoridae, Pentatomidae:

Asopinae and Podopinae) have three-segmented tarsi and the posterior margin of the scutellum is more

narrowly rounded. Two-segmented tarsi also occur in the family Acanthosomatidae, but North American

species of this family have a small triangular scutellum.


Megacopta cribraria, described by Fabricius (1798) as Cimex cribrarius, was later transferred to the

genus Coptosoma (Laporte) by Amyot and Serville (1843). Hsiao and Ren (1977) transferred it to their

new genus, Megacopta, where it remains today. Montandon (1896) described a closely related species, M.

punctatissima (as Coptosoma punctatissimum). The following year, Montandon (1897) reported that he

had seen specimens that were intermediate between M. cribraria and M. punctatissima but did not

formally synonymize the two species. Yang (1934) revised the Chinese species of Plataspidae and consid-

ered M. punctatissima to be a variety of M. cribraria. Both names continue to be used today; however,

primarily in Japanese economic literature (e.g. Hasegawa 1965, Hibino and Ito 1983, Himuro et al. 2006,

Hirashima 1989, Imura 2003, Ishihara 1950, etc.). In fact, Hosokawa et al. (2007) stated that Megacopta

punctatissima is found in mainland Japan and is a frequent pest of soybeans, whereas M. cribraria is

found in the southwestern Japanese islands, rarely causes agricultural problems and is considered harm-

less to soybeans. They also indicated that the two species are capable of interbreeding and that their

offspring reproduce successfully. These two taxa are distinguished primarily by color and size, M.

punctatissima supposedly being darker and a little larger than M. cribraria. There appears to be no

difference in morphology and the genitalia are indistinguishable. Specimens from Georgia are variable in

size and fall within the range of coloration seen in museum specimens of M. cribraria. In addition,

Jenkins et al. (2010) found that molecular characters for Georgia specimens are similar to those previ-

ously reported for M. cribraria. Although there appears to be some disagreement with regard to the

taxonomic status of M. punctatissima, we are confident that the species found in Georgia is M. cribraria.

Common names that have been used for this bug include bean plataspid, lablab bug, and globular stink

bug.


Table 2. Reported non-leguminous host plants of Megacopta spp.


INSECTA MUNDI 0121, April 2010 • 5MEGACOPTA CRIBRARIA IN GEORGIA


Females of M. cribraria and related species of Plataspidae deposit small brown capsules on the under-

side of the egg masses. These capsules contain gut symbiotic bacteria ((-Proteobacterium Candidatus

Ishikawaella capsulata) (Fukatsu and Hosokawa 2002, Hosokawa et al. 2006). As mentioned previously,

Hosokawa et al. (2007) reported that M. punctatissima is a pest of soybeans whereas crop legumes are not

suitable hosts for M. cribraria. When these authors transferred symbiotic bacteria from the ‘pest’ species

M. punctatissima to the ‘non-pest’ species M. cribraria, soybeans became a suitable host for the latter

species. Thus, differences between these two ‘species’ of Megacopta may be attributed to the symbiotic

bacteria. Jenkins et al. (2010) confirmed the presence of this bacterial symbiont in bugs collected in

Georgia.


Because M. cribraria and M. punctatissima are closely related and likely conspecific, the following

sections contain information on both ‘species.’ Reports from Japanese authors usually refer to M.

punctatissima, whereas all others refer to M. cribraria.


Distribution Megacopta spp. have been reported from Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Ko-

rea, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam

(Montandon 1896, 1897; Distant 1902; Kirkaldy 1910; Matsumura 1910; Shroff 1920; Esaki 1926; Hoffman

1931, 1935; Yang 1934; Ishihara 1937; Esaki and Ishihara 1951; Ahmad and Moizuddin 1975; Hsiao and

Ren 1977; Lal 1980; Ren 1984; Hirashima 1989; Easton and Pun 1997). Prior to this discovery in Georgia,

the family Plataspidae was restricted to the Old World (Froeschner 1984).


Host Plants and Pest Status Megacopta spp. have been reported most commonly from legumes

(Fabaceae). Table 1 lists the leguminous plants reported as hosts for these bugs. Many of these are

reported by multiple authors and numerous additional references to kudzu and soybean could be added.

Additional references simply stated that these bugs feed on legumes, confirming that legumes are evi-

dently the primary hosts of Megacopta spp. Non-leguminous hosts reported for Megacopta spp. are given

in Table 2. Few are given by more than one author and those references that provided data on abundance

or life stages for non-leguminous plants generally listed Megacopta spp. as uncommon or rare and the life

stage encountered was usually adults. Most of these records probably represent incidental collections.

However, Srinivasaperumal et al. (1992) report that M. cribraria survived and reproduced on firecracker

plant, Crossandra infundibuliformis (L.) Nees (Acanthaceae) and cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L.

(Malvaceae). Nymphs took longer to complete development and female fecundity was lower on these

plants than on the legume Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Pers., but M. cribraria was able to complete develop-

ment on these two non-legume plants.


Many of the host records in Tables 1 and 2 are simply records of Megacopta spp. on the plant and do

not indicate pest status. Ahmad and Moizuddin (1975), Rekha and Mallapur (2007), Sujithra et al. (2008),

Thejaswi et al. (2008) and Thippeswamy and Rajagopal (1998) reported that M. cribraria is a pest of field

or lablab bean, whereas Ramakrishna Ayyar (1913) and Srinivasaperumal et al. (1992) stated that it was

a serious pest on Sesbania spp. Hasegawa (1965), Lal (1980), Ren (1984), and Yang (1934) reported that

Megacopta spp. are pests of legumes in general. A number of authors report that Megacopta spp. are

pests of soybeans (Hosokawa et al. 2007, Ishihara 1950, Kobayashi 1981, Kono 1990, Wang et al. 1996,

Wu and Xu 2002, and Xing et al 2008). Soybean yield loss ranged from 1-50% depending on density of the

bugs (Wang et al. 1996). The reported pest status ranges from minor to severe. As an introduced species,

this bug appears to have potential to be a pest of legume crops in the United States.


Megacopta spp. have also been investigated as a potential biological control agents for kudzu (Sun et

al. 2006, Tayutivutikul and Kusigemati 1992a, Tayutivutikul and Yano 1990). Ishihara (1950) reported

that kudzu is the preferred host for this species. However, there is no record of Megacopta spp. being

imported to the U.S. for classical biological control of kudzu.


Thippeswamy and Rajagopal (2005b) reported that M. cribraria feeds on leaves, stems, flowers and

pods, but prefers tender new growth to older growth. They also noted that white ‘patches’ developed at the

site of feeding and later turned brownish, gradually coalescing into a necrotic area and that shoots with-

ered with heavy infestations and bean pods did not develop normally.


Development The reported numbers of eggs deposited by females of Megacopta spp. ranged from 26 to

274; the development time from egg to adult was 24 to 56 days; and adult longevity was 23 to 77 days,


6 • INSECTA MUNDI 0121, April 2010 EGER, ET AL.


depending on location, temperature and other conditions (Ahmad and Moizuddin 1977, Ramakrishna

Ayyar 1913, Srinivasaperumal et al. 1992, Tayutivutikul and Kusigemati 1992b, Tayutivutikul and

Yano 1990, Thippeswamy and Rajagopal 2005b). There are one to three generations a year in China and

Japan and Megacopta spp. overwinter as adults (Hibino and Ito 1983, Tayutivutikul and Kusigemati

1992b, Wu et al. 2006). Moizuddin and Ahmad (1979) described, figured and keyed the different immature

stages of M. cribraria.


Megacopta spp. colonize crop fields in April to July and are present until August to October, depend-

ing on location and crop (Hibino and Ito 1983, Takagi and Murakami 1997, Tayutivutikul and Yano 1990,

Thejaswi et al. 2008). In warmer areas, they may be active all year (Thippeswamy and Rajagopal 1998).


Figure 1-4. Megacopta cribraria. 1) Male, dorsal view. 2) Female, ventral view. 3) Male, ventral view. 4) Fifth

instar nymph, dorsal view. Dimensional line equals 1.0 mm.


INSECTA MUNDI 0121, April 2010 • 7MEGACOPTA CRIBRARIA IN GEORGIA


Large mating aggregations are common and females tend to accept copulation more frequently when

males court in aggregations than when they court alone (Hibino 1985, 1986, 1989, Hibino and Ito 1983).


Natural Enemies Ahmad and Moizuddin (1976) reported Reduviius [sic!] sp. (Heteroptera: Reduviidae)

feeding on adults and fifth-instar nymphs of M. cribraria. Parasitoids (Hymenoptera) reported from eggs

of Megacopta spp. were Ablerus sp. (Aphelinidae) in India (Rajmohan and Narendran 2001); Dirphys

boswelli (Girault) (Aphelinidae) in India (Polaszek and Hayat 1990); Ooencyrtus nezarae Ishi (Encyrtidae)

in China and Japan (Hirose et al. 1996, Takasu and Hirose 1991a, 1991b, Tayutivutikul and