chapter  28
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Predacious Plant Bugs (Miridae)

Ideas regarding mirid feeding habits have fluctuated widely over the past 150 years (Wheeler 1976; see also Wheeler 2001). Some mid-19th century authors overemphasized predation, sometimes excluding mention of phytophagy in a family that contains important plant pests (see

Chapter 3

). Yet by the late 19th century, some workers were characterizing the Miridae as a strictly phytophagous group (e.g., Kirby 1892, Saunders 1892). Mirids continued to be underappreciated as predators even after several species had been used successfully in classical biological control in the 1920s and 1930s.