Royal Palm Bug

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Scientific name

Xylastodoris luteolus Barber

Family

Thaumastocoridae (Suborder Heteroptera)

Description

Adult: Length approximately 2.0 to 2.5 mm; body shape is elongate-oval, somewhat flattened; pale yellow-green in color except for the red eyes and the brown terminal half of the fourth antennal segment; head is slightly wider than long; rostellum arising from front part of head; forewings are hardened (leathery) at the base and membranous at the apical half, forewings held flat on the back with the ends overlapping; hindwings are entirely membranous and shorter than the forewings.

Egg: Length 0.5 mm; elongate in shape and oval in cross section; pale tan in color; capped at one end by a white operculum.

Nymph: Length ranges from 0.71 to 2.0 mm; coloration similar to adults; lacks wings

Diagnostic features

The royal palm bug is very small, reaching a length of only 2.5 mm. Adults are pale yellow-green in color except for the red eyes. Basal half of forewings are leathery and the apical half is membranous. Forewings are held flat on the back with the ends overlapping.

Distribution

Known from Florida and Cuba, which coincides with the distribution of Roystonea regia.

Hosts

The Cuban royal palm, Roystonea regia, is the only known host.

Additional comments

This species is the only representative of the family in North America.

The royal palm bug is found primarily on newly opened leaflets, where its damage first appears as small yellow spots. Older leaflets with damage gradually develop brownish streaks. Eggs can be found among the membranous scales that cover the undersurface of the leaflet midrib.

Females usually deposit one egg per day, and eggs hatch in eight to nine days; nymphal development ranges from 23 to 37 days.

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