Diagnosis and Specialized Morphology
Pseudocetherinae are sometimes referred to as lobe-headed bugs. Most members of this subfamily are characterized by:
- mandibular plates short non-adjacent with apices well separated by clypeus (Voconia); mandibular plates long,
basally adjacent (Gerbelius)
- maxillary plates large and ellipsoid (Voconia); maxillary plates laterally flattened (Gerbelius)
- first visible labial segment adpressed to head; apex of third visible labial segment bent and tapering
- antennal scapus short and not or only slightly surpassing head apex
- prosternum drawn into an anteriad-directed process
- dorsal abdominal glands entirely absent in adults
- ventral surface of all femora with anterior and posterior rows of spine-like protuberances with macrosetae at base of protuberance
In 1963, Villiers described the genus Pseudocethera and he erected a new subfamily, Pseudocetherinae, to accommodate it. The systematic position of the genus, which currently contains three species, was modified subsequently by different authors; some placed it in Cetherinae, others retained the subfamily Pseudocetherinae. Re-examination of Pseudocethera clarified that the genus differs rather sharply from both Cetherinae and “Reduviinae sensu stricto” (= the monophyletic line, which contains Reduvius, within the current, probably not monophyletic Reduviinae or “Reduviinae sensu lato”). Therefore, its inclusion in a separate subfamily seems justified.
The concept of Pseudocetherinae has since been expanded by Castillo et al. (2022) with the transfer of five genera from Reduviinae: Gerbelius, Kayanocoris, Microvarus, Paragerbelius, and Voconia. As part of this revision, Kayanocoris, Microvarus, Paragerbelius, and Pseudocethera were synonymized with Voconia.
The subfamily Pseudocetherinae has a circumtropical distribution. Our current knowledge of the life history of Pseudocetherinae is limited. Specimens have been collected under dead logs (Villiers 1963) and at light traps in forests.
Castillo, S., Redei, D. and Weirauch, C. 2022. Pseudocetherinae (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) revisited: phylogeny and taxonomy of the lobe-headed bugs. European Journal of Taxonomy 788: 1-95.
Villiers, A. 1963. Hemiptera Reduviidae. La reserve naturelle integrale du Mont Nimba. XXV Hemiptere Reduviidae. Memoirs de l'Instiut francais d'Afrique Noir 66: 479-565.