Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e7949
First record of the thread-legged assassin bug
Myiophanes greeni Distant, 1903 (Heteroptera:
Reduviidae: Emesinae) from India
Siddharth Kulkarni , Hemant Ghate
‡ Hemi Terrace Bldg, Near Ellora Palace, Balajinagar, Pune, India
§ Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Shivajinagar, Pune, India
Corresponding author: Siddharth Kulkarni (email@example.com)
Academic editor: Guanyang Zhang
Received: 27 Jan 2016 | Accepted: 04 Mar 2016 | Published: 10 Mar 2016
Citation: Kulkarni S, Ghate H (2016) First record of the thread-legged assassin bug Myiophanes greeni Distant,
1903 (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae) from India. Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e7949. doi: 10.3897/
While surveying bugs and spiders in the caves of Satara District, Maharashtra, one of us
(SK) collected a thread-legged bug associated with a spider web.
A Sri Lankan Emesinae bug, Myiophanes greeni Distant (Heteroptera: Reduviidae:
Emesinae) is reported for the ﬁrst time from India. The species is redescribed with several
illustrations including male genitalia.
Reduviidae, thread-legged bug, new record, India.
© Kulkarni S, Ghate H. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
(CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source
While surveying true bugs (Heteroptera) and spiders in the caves of Satara District,
Maharashtra, India one of us (SK) collected a thread-legged assassin bug (Reduviidae:
Emesinae) associated with a spider web. The specimen was identiﬁed as Myiophanes
greeni Distant, 1903. The species was described by Distant (1904) on the basis of material
collected at ‘Puttalam, Ceylon (Green)’. This species has so far been known only from type
locality. In fact, this species has not been reported again since original description in 1903.
Wygodzinsky (1966) placed it in the subgenus Myiophanes–therefore the current valid
combination of the name is Myiophanes (Myiophanes) greeni Distant, 1903.
The Fauna of British India, Rhynchota volume II was published in two parts; Part 1 (x + 242
pp) was published in 1903 and Part 2 was published in 1904 with a re-issued title-page for
the whole II volume, dated 1904. Part 1 contained the whole of the Emesinae, so the date
of publication of Myiophanes greeni Distant is 1903.
The species is brieﬂy redescribed in the present paper, with digital illustrations of various
morphological characters, including pygophore and aedeagus as well as parameres.
Because it has not been reported from any part of India before (Ambrose 2006), this
represents the ﬁrst record of M. greeni from India and also the northernmost extension of
the range of the species. The only species of the genus Myiophanes Reuter, 1881 listed by
Ambrose (2006) is M. kempi China, 1924, from Assam, also a cavernicolous species.
Distant (1904) gave a good account of general coloration along with a habitus drawing, and
Wygodzinsky (1966) gave a detailed review of the genus – both of these publications were
helpful in identiﬁcation of this bug. In addition, an image of the type of the specimen,
preserved in Natural History Museum, London, was kindly provided by Mick Webb.
Materials and methods
A live emesine bug was collected from a cave located at Chalkewadi road near Sajjangad
fort Satara, Maharashtra, India. It was studied under a Leica microscope (stereozoom
MZ6) and photographed with an attached Canon Powershot S50 camera. Multiple images
were stacked using the Combine ZM software and the stacked images were processed
with Adobe Photoshop CS5. Measurements were done with Erma slide / stage micrometer
and an accurate scale. Pygophore was dissected after treating the last three abdominal
segments with hot 10% KOH, phallic complex was dissected, parameres and aedeagus
were separated and mounted in glycerine for photography under microscope. Genitalia was
mounted in Polyvinyl Lacto-Phenol (PVLP) with lignin pink dye, and photographed using
Axiocam ER65S attached to a Zeiss microscope. The specimen is preserved at Modern
College, Pune, India.
2Kulkarni S, Ghate H
Myiophanes (Myiophanes) greeni Distant, 1903
a. scientiﬁcName: Myiophanes greeni; kingdom: Animalia; phylum: Arthropoda; class:
Insecta; family: Reduviidae; taxonRank: species; genus: Myiophanes; subgenus:
Myiophanes; scientiﬁcNameAuthorship: Distant; country: India; stateProvince:
Maharashtra; municipality: Satara; locality: Cave near Sajjangad road; decimalLatitude:
17.618; decimalLongitude: 73.881; samplingProtocol: visual searching; eventDate:
10/18/2015; individualCount: 1; sex: male; lifeStage: adult; catalogNumber: Insects;
recordedBy: Siddharth Kulkarni; identiﬁedBy: Hemant Ghate; dateIdentiﬁed: 2015;
language: en; institutionID: Zoology Department, Modern College, Shivajinagar, Pune;
collectionCode: Insects; basisOfRecord: PreservedSpecimen
With contrasting pattern of dark to pale brown patches and with creamy white areas.
Femoro-tibial junction of mid and hind legs, base and distal part of meso- and meta-
coxae and a spot on pterostigma (= distal, thickened portion of Sc+R vein) also creamy
white. Most of anterior part of anterior lobe of pronotum creamy white, the white
coloration of anterior lobe of pronotum extends backward on posterior lobe as a ﬁne
pointed stripe on either side of mid-line. Entire pro-sternum creamy white;
mesosternum dark brown on disc, on either side of which is a fuscous band bordered
with dark brown line beyond which there is another pale band followed by a brown
band; metasternum mostly dark brown (Fig. 1). Entire body and legs pilose.
Myiophanes greeni, fresh male, lateral view.
First record of the thread-legged assassin bug Myiophanes greeni Distant, ... 3
Head: Dark brown; oblong oval; eyes black, large, protuberant, occupying large part
lateral area; anterior and posterior ocular part almost subequal in length; dorsal surface
slightly convex with a deep interocular groove which is paler in colour, than adjacent
areas; ventral surface ﬂatter than dorsal side, mostly brown except for pale stripe of
either side of mid‐line along eye; neck region also with a pale white patch ventrally
close to prosternum (Fig. 2 ). Antennal tubercles projecting anteriorly in front of eyes.
Clypeus prominent, projecting in front, medially dark brown, laterally pale creamy.
Mandibular plates laterally dark brown, with a thin stripe of pale cream adjacent to
clypeus. Labium with three visible segments (ﬁrst visible segment representing
morphological segment II); segment II thickened, pale at base and apex, dark brown
dorsally and pale brown ventrally; segment III less thick, also dark brown dorsally and
pale brown ventrally, apex creamy white; segment IV somewhat curved, longer than
segment III, tip reaching between fore-coxae. Entire head covered with numerous dark
Antenna brown, segment IV creamy white; with segment I longest, segment II slightly
shorter than I,segment III shortest; segment IV long but shorter than I and II; setose,
some setae dark brown, otherstranslucent. Prothorax: Pronotum gradually narrowed
and then considerably broadened in dorsal view, this constriction marks boundary
between anterior (funnel-shaped) and posterior (sub-triangular) lobes. Posterior lobe
sloping, its dorsal outline enclosing an angle of about 140 degrees with that of anterior
lobein lateral view; dorsal outline of anterior lobe slightly convex, almost ﬂat on middle
part of disc, posteriorlobe also more or less ﬂat on disc, but slightly convex at base in
lateral view (Fig. 3b ). Humeral angles notprominent. Maximum width of posterior lobe is
at base and is slightly more than two times the width atanterior margin. Anterior margin
slightly concave behind head. Anterior angles sub-prominent, bluntlytriangular and dark
brown. Pronotum extends somewhat downwards laterally to conceal fore coxae
whichopen forward but are seen through due to translucent coloration.
a: Foreleg, lateral view.
b: Head, lateral view.
4Kulkarni S, Ghate H
Pronotum with most part of anterior lobe creamy white dorsally with two broad lateral
stripes and amedian thin stripe in posterior half of anterior lobe brownish; a white stripe
on anterior lobe extendsbackward to posterior lobe, one on either side of midline,
slightly obliquely and gradually narrowing alonglength ending in a ﬁne tip, just where
posterior lobe ﬂattens dorsally. Similarly, a median brown band(with a central thin white
line) starting from anterior third of anterior lobe and gradually broadenedanteriorly,
meets brown part of posterior lobe. Entire dorsal surface as well as prosternum covered
withsparse but very long brown setae. Scutellum triangular, dark brown (Fig. 3 ).
Hemelytra and wings as described for the genus by Wygodzinsky (1966). Venations as
in (Fig. 1). Abdomen slightly narrow at base, then broadened, rest of sides of abdomen
parallel but again narrowed near apex,with an alternating pattern of brown and pale
white annuli (Fig. 4). Abdominal segments darker ventrallythan dorsally. Boundaries of
tergites not clearly marked from dorsal side, ﬁrst two brownish patches verypale, third,
fourth, ﬁfth darker. Connexivum very narrow, raised upward.
a: Prothorax, dorsal view.
b: Prothorax, lateral view.
Myiophanes greeni, abdomen, lateral view.
First record of the thread-legged assassin bug Myiophanes greeni Distant, ... 5
Pygophore dorsally colourless (Fig. 5a ). Tips of parameres and ventromedian,
upwardly directed, posteriorspiniform process of pygophore dark brown (Fig. 5b).
Fore legs long, coxae eight times longer than broad, with two broad dark brown to
annuli, one at baseand one beyond middle. Trochanter creamy white. Fore femur
almost twelve times as long as broad,creamy white, with three dark brown annuli (one
at base, second in middle and third beyond middle) (Fig. 2a ).
Femur with two rows of spines underneath, one external (posteroventral), one internal
(anteroventral);with several relatively long spines with broad white basal half and dark
a: Pygophore, dorsal view.
b: Pygophore, lateral view.
Myiophanes greeni,internal (anterior) view of fore femur.
6Kulkarni S, Ghate H
black spiny distal half and manysimilar but smaller and thinner spines; internal row of
spines starts slightly distally from base (Fig. 6).Tibia long but slightly shorter than
femora, creamy white at base and brownish to fuscous at most of itslength, distal tip
slightly swollen, underside with many spiniform setae with short broad base and long
blackspiny projections. Tarsus pale creamy, its three segments more or less sub‐equal
in length. Claws partly pale brown (Fig. 7).
Mid and hind legs mostly pale brown; coxae shining white with lateral and ventral brown
patches; femorotibialjunctions creamy white; femora slightly dark brown before their
apical white annuli, tibiae slightlydark brown distad to basal white annuli, rest pale
brown. Hind legs much longer than mid legs. Tibiaeextremely long. Tarsus very small
and pale in all legs. Claws dark brown. All legs longly pilose.Aedeagus as shown in Fig.
8 . Parameres symmetrical, curved, sickle-shaped, with sparse, long setae, apex beak-
like (Fig. 9).
a: Part of fore femur, tibia and tarsus.
b: Spiniform processes of tibia.
a: Aedeagus (endosoma in repose, not everted), dorsal view.
b: Aedeagus (endosoma in repose, not everted), ventral view.
First record of the thread-legged assassin bug Myiophanes greeni Distant, ... 7
Sri Lanka (Wygodzinsky 1966; Rédei 2005) and India (present new record)
Rédei (2005) described two new species of the genus Myiophanes, one from Bangalore,
India (M. zebrina Rédei, 2005) and the other from Pakistan (M. incompta Rédei, 2005),
both of which are very similar, in overall coloration, to M. greeni, and also brieﬂy reviewed
distribution of various species of Myiophanes. These aspects are therefore not reiterated
here. It is interesting that the pygophore, dissected phallus and paramere illustrated by
Rédei (2005) for M. zebrina are very similar to what we have shown here, only pronotal
coloration is diﬀerent in all three species. Comparison with the image of the type of M.
greeni (preserved in NHM, London) indicates that the specimen from Satara is almost the
same and diﬀers only slightly in pronotal coloration. The description given by Distant (1904)
and the image of the type allow us conclude that our Satara specimen represents M.
greeni. In personal communication, Dávid Rédei also aﬃrmed our opinion.
Additional material of the species, from Satara and Bangalore in India, and type locality in
Sri Lanka, is necessary for true comparison and resolving this issue further. Molecular work
may be helpful in future to ﬁnd about genetic similarity-diﬀerences among all these closely
Myiophanes greeni, paramere in lateral view.
8Kulkarni S, Ghate H
We are extremely grateful to Mick Webb (Curator, Natural History Museum (NHM), London,
for kindly providing the image of the type for comparison, and to Bill Dolling (UK) for
comments on the ﬁrst draft of this paper. We are grateful to Dávid Rédei (Nankai University,
China) for constant support. We thank Aditya Karambelkar for help during ﬁeld work at
cave and Dr. Neelesh Dahanukar, Indian Institute of Science and Education Research
(IISER), Pune for photography of genitalia. Biodiversity Heritage Library needs special
mention for making available all earlier literature. Finally we are very grateful to the
authorities of Modern College for the facilities and encouragement.
•Ambrose DP (2006) A Checklist of Indian Assassin bugs (Insecta: Hemiptera:
Reduviidae) with taxonomic status, distribution and diagnostic morphological
characteristics. Zoos’ Print Journal 21 (9): 2388‑2406. DOI: 10.11609/
•Distant WL (1904) Rhynchota - (Heteroptera) [part]. The fauna of British India, including
Ceylon and Burma. Taylor&Francis, London 2: 504.
•Rédei D (2005) New and little-known thread-legged assassin bugs from Central and
South Asia (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae). Folia Entomologica Hungarica 66:
•Wygodzinsky P (1966) A monograph of the Emesinae (Reduviidae, Hemiptera). Bulletin
of the American Museum of Natural History 133: 1‑614.
First record of the thread-legged assassin bug Myiophanes greeni Distant, ... 9