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Bright Bugs and Bright Beetles: Asopine Pentatomids (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) and Their Prey
Editor(s): Oscar Alomar; Robert N. Wiedenmann
Author(s): Carl W. Schaefer
Print Publication Date: 1996

Published data suggest strongly that asopine pentatomids prefer to feed upon chrysomelids and (to a lesser extent) coccinellids, beetles which otherwise have few predators. Moreover, a greater percentage of brightly (aposematically?) colored asopines prefers these beetles than of drab asopines. I suggest, very tentatively, that asopines may derive defensive allomones from their beetle prey, and that one may trace an evolutionary progression from drab bugs which feed rather generally, to drab bugs which prefer these beetles, on to bright beetles preferring (and perhaps even specializing on) these beetles. Color variations in some bright asopines, the occasional occurrence of bright markings in otherwise drab asopines, and the fact of bright nymphs in species with drab adults, may be manifestations of, or may be preadaptations to, this evolutionary progression.

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