What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Byrrhidae Latreille, 1804

Overview

Most Australian species are placed in Microchaetes and Pedilophorus , but the latter is a composite of several taxa for which names are not yet available. Microchaetes are dull black, tuberculate and clothed with stiff bristles or scales; their larvae are cylindrical and lightly sclerotised, with a concave plate at the abdominal apex. ' Pedilophorus ' are either glabrous or clothed with mixed setae and are usually metallic green; their larvae are onisciform with a heavily sclerotised dorsal surface. The most striking species is the Tasmanian P. gemmatus , which is metallic green with red bosses on the elytra. Adult and larval byrrhids are usually found feeding on mosses or liverworts, but some may also occur among the roots of higher plants. An undescribed ' Pedilophorus ' from Mt. Kosciusko feeds on the rosettes of Cardamine (Cruciferae) and transmits the turnip yellow mosaic virus (TYMV-Cd) (Guy and Gibbs 1985). [Lea 1920.]

Description

Short, stout, strongly convex beetles, lacking transverse metasternal suture and with deflexed head, broad prosternal process which fits into a cavity on mesosternum, legs which may be capable of retraction into ventral cavities, and tarsi which usually bear a membranous appendage on segment 3 and which may fit into grooves on tibiae.

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