Chelinidea vittigera    

common name     Cactus Bug

This species is associated with Opuntia cactus species from Mexico to southern parts of Western Canada (Henry & Froeschner 1988).

In Alberta there are no other cactus bugs to confuse with Chelinidea vittiger. Chelinidea vittiger can be distinguished from other coreid genera by its generally wider abdomen and by having a row or two of ornamental, hind-femur spines. Other Chelinidea species with which to confuse C. vittiger are C. canyona and C. hunteri. The anterior leathery halves of the hemielytra have five visible veins, the second vein in from the outside is forked, and the posterior, membranous portion is intricately veined. Chelinidea hunteri has a small, non-flaring abdoment. Chelinidea vittiger's head is typically dark with a central tan or pale yellow stripe, though colouring ranges from completely tan to multicoloured (tans, reds and blacks). Chelinidea hunteri has a smaller rostrum but tan colouring (Herring 1980). Chelinidea vittiger's antennal have four, dark segments compared to Chelinidea canyona's antennae made of three, typically lighter, foliaceous antennae (antennae that are broad, flat, resembling succulents stems). Chelinidea canyona and Chelinidea vittiger only occur together at the southern portion of C. vittiger's range.

life history
Eggs are laid on the underside of Opuntia species stems, nymphs reside upon same plant for entire life times (Hunter 1912, reference not seen). These insects are highly host specific and can be displaced by novel invaders, making them poor biological control agents. This species was noted to starve rather than find a new host plant if its original was destroyed (Dodd 1940). This species is purported to be univoltine but may take two years to complete its life cycle in northern climes (Shuh and Slater 1995). The females are similar in morphology and colour to the males but larger (Herring 1980).

Not a concern.

diet info
The nymphs and the adults feed only on the vascular fluid of the host plant they were born on.

Found across North America wherever Opuntia species grow. Found in the Lethbridge, short grass prairie biome, Southern Alberta.

With global warming, it is possible thatC. canyona's range could expand to Canada from the desert of the United States. Synonyms include Chelinidea vittiger (Uhler), C. vittiger vittiger var. artuflava, C. vittiger aequoris, C. vittiger aequoris var. artuatra, C. vittiger var. texana (Henry and Froeschner 1988).

species page authorClark, M. R.2006 

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