chapter  30
12 Pages

Economic Importance of Predation by Big-Eyed Bugs (Geocoridae)

ByMerrill H. Sweet II

Henry (1997) has divided the paraphyletic family Lygaeidae into smaller but monophyletic families; the subfamily Geocorinae becomes the family Geocoridae. There are 14 described genera; most species are in

Geocoris

and

Germalus,

and these include all the known economic species. The genus

Geocoris,

which is worldwide in distribution, included 124 described species when Readio and Sweet (1982) made their compilation. Most described species, 36 (27%), occur in the Palearctic zoogeographic region; 20% occur in the Oriental, 18% in the Nearctic, 15% in the Ethiopian, 10% in the Neotropical, 8% in the Australian, and the remaining 2% are island species. The systematics is far from settled. Readio and Sweet (1982) revised the

Geocoris

of eastern North America, which incidentally treated four of the five species most used in economic studies. Theirs is only key to the species east of the 100th meridian. Mead (1972) published a key to the Florida (U.S.A.) species. This does not mean that geocorids are not important in the rest of the world! It reflects instead the very strong research effort to use big-eyed bugs in integrated pest programs.