|scientific name Podisus brevispinus |
Typically collected from low vegetation in woods, but also known from agricultural ecosystems (McPherson 1982).
This species is active between June and August, though they do overwinter as adults and can emerge mid-April (De Clercq 2000).
This species is dark-brown in colour with subtle dull-yellow mottling. The pronotum has concave margins, as in P. maculiventris, but the lateral projections are much broader and less spiny. A ventral spine present on the 2nd sternite of the abdomen is pronounced but is not elongate. The wings have a distinct dark spot on their membranous region easily distinguishing this species from P. placidus. This species is of medium size in comparison to other Podisus species; length between 8 and 10 mm (Blatchley 1926: McPherson 1982).
The life history of this species is similar to that of P. maculiventris. The eggs of this species hatch after approximately one week at temperatures between 20° C and 25° C. First instar nymphs are gregarious and phytophagous, but with consecutive molts become more independent and predatorial (De Clercq 2000). Between 25 and 46 days after hatching, nymphs become mature adults (Blatchley 1926; De Clercq 2000). This species overwinters as adults and after emerging from hibernation begin mating immediately, often mating several times and with several partners. Both univoltine and bivoltine populations are known from eastern Canada and United States (McPherson 1982).
This species has received attention for its potential in biological control (De Clercq 2000).
As in P. maculiventris, this species feeds on a number of insects; see McPherson (1982) for a partial list of these species.
Populations are distributed across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland (Maw et al. 2000), and as far south as New Mexico and Georgia. There are apparently records also in the tropics, in the Greater Antilles and Mexico (Henry and Froeshner 1988). The range in Alberta of specimens in the StricklandMuseum is between Lethbridge and Saint Paul, on a south-north gradient, and Saint Paul to Seba Beach, east to west.
There seems to have been some confusion in the past regarding this species with P. modestus (Dallas) and P. maculiventris (Say). It is apparent that authors prior to 1992 had failed to recognize the synonymy of the type specimen of P. modestus (Dallas) and Arma modesta Dallas with P. maculiventris (Say) (Thomas 1992). Thus, for the now unnamed species previously called P. modestus by many authors, Thomas (1992) proposed a new name, P. brevispinus Phillips. He gave Phillips the authorship, honoring Phillips' unpublished thesis work regarding the matter.
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