, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 97–116 | Cite as

Comparative morphology of the raptorial leg in thread-legged bugs of the tribe Metapterini Stål, 1859 (Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Reduviidae, Emesinae)

  • Valentina Castro-HuertasEmail author
  • Dimitri Forero
  • Jocelia Grazia
Original Paper


Assassin bugs (Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Reduviidae) have diverse and complex morphological and behavioral adaptations for prey capture. Several of these morphological adaptations occur on the proleg. The prolegs of Emesinae are typically raptorial and they are used for grooming, grasping and hunting prey. Several morphological characters that define Emesinae as a group are found on the proleg, such as the anterior opening of the acetabula, the elongation of the procoxa, and the lateral (campaniform) sensilla on the protibia. Metapterini comprises 28 genera and approximately 280 described species, and are characterized by a conspicuous basal process of the anteroventral series of the profemur, and highly modified pretarsal structures. In this study, structures of the proleg are documented for 13 genera of Metapterini, using stereomicroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Detailed descriptions and digital macrophotographs are provided for most of the genera for the first time, and from this morphological documentation 38 phylogenetic characters are coded, presented as a data matrix, and analyzed cladistically, and their potential usefulness for resolving relationships among Metapterini is discussed.


Cuticular processes Proleg Phylogenetic analysis 



We thank the curators and collection managers who facilitated the loan of the specimens studied: Federica Turco (ANIC); Mick Webb (BMNH); Erika Vergara (CELM); Claudia Medina (IAVH); Fernando Fernández (ICN); Marcio Oliveira (INPA); Diego Carpintero (MACN); Aline Barcellos (MCNZ); Maria Cecilia Melo (MLPA); Gabriel Mejdalani and Luiz Costa (MNRJ); Tadashi Ishikawa (TUA); Paulo Fiuza (UFVB) and Thomas Henry (USNM). To the Centro de Microscopia e Microanálise of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (CMM-UFRGS). To the PEC-PG/CAPES program for the scholarship to VCH (#8954/14-3). To the CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for the fellowship to JG (Proc. 305009/2015-0).

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Entomologia Sistemática, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Entomología, Departamento de Biología, UNESISPontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotáColombia

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