Plant Bug PBI


 

As part of our collaboration with the Plant Bug PBI project (funded by NSF between 2003 and 2011), our lab continues to work on taxonomic revisions of Australian Phylini. These efforts will lead to an improved understanding of the mind boggling diversity of plant bugs in Australia and other areas with mediterranean-type climates. Recent or ongoing projects are outlined below.

  • One project focused on a relatively large (3 new genera and 25 new species) clade of Australian plant bugs that feed on plants in the Myrtaceae, the Myrtle family  .
  • Another project described  two new genera of plant bugs and investigated their transantarctic distributional patterns. Our area cladogram  shows a close relationship between Australia and New Zealand, with southern South America being the sister to that area. This distribution pattern is different from the classical vicariance pattern observed for many insects, but is consistent with the ‘southern pattern’ frequently observed in plants .
  • Together with former UCR undergraduate student Diane Soto, we described Jiwarli  Soto and Weirauch, a new genus of Phylini from Australia  .
  • More recently, Stephanie Leon published a revision of the new genus Restiophylus that is only found on members of the plant family Restionaceae.
  • Kaleigh Russell focused on systematics and host-plant relationships of plant bugs associated with endemic Australian Proteaceae, the toothbrushes and related plants, and this revision is in press at Austral Entomology (as of May 2016).