Hispines of the World


Hispine morphology


ventral view of head
lateral view of head
head and pronotum morphology
elytral morphology
abdominal morphology
leg morphology

Members of the subfamily Cassidinae (sensu lato) are easily distinguished from other chrysomelids (Chrysomelidae, Coleoptera) with the head having the front or vertex projecting strongly forward (opisthognathous), mouthparts in an oral cavity which is not visible from above (see photo “lateral view of head”), and a tarsal formula of 4-4-4.

Hispines and cassidines (the two groups within Cassidinae; see About this tool for more information) are more easily distinguished as adults. As larvae they have less differentiated characters which is the main reason for the combination of the two former subfamilies into one. The adult hispine head is directed downward, prominent, and visible from above, at least to behind the eyes. The frons is prominent, exposed, or rarely retracted. The antennae are not retractable and are inserted in antennal pits in front of the eyes. The pronotum is usually narrower than the elytra; it is more or less quadrangular or trapezoidal, often with distinct anterior angles which may have a small tubercle. The scutellum is always visible. The elytra usually lack wide lateral expansions or have reduced and discontinuous expansions. The margins are smooth, denticulate, serrate, or with spines. Larvae are either leaf-miners or live in confined spaces between plant parts such as leaf rolls or leaf sheaths. They have eight pairs of abdominal spiracles which are well developed and dorsally placed; the eighth abdominal segment is terminal with a free hind margin.

For better use of the key, the following terms are described as they are used throughout the key. Also see the images at the left for further illustration.

antenna: 3 to 11 segments, inserted in antennal pit in front of eyes

coxa: located in coxal cavity, spherical

eye: elongate, slightly prominent, multifaceted; usually slightly kidney-shaped

frons: upper anterior portion of head capsule above the clypeus

prosternum: contains two anterior coxal cavities

tibia: variable in length; joins femur and tarsus

trochanter: small, joined to base of femur


Content last updated April 2014