The family Anthocoridae (Hemiptera:Heteroptera) contains between 400 and 600 species distributed worldwide, chiefly on the continents but also on oceanic islands. They are small (1.4–4.5 mm) and common to a wide variety of habitats. Many are found in cryptic habitats such as galls, several widespread genera are surface feeders on small arthropods (, and ), and others can be found in ant nests and, especially, under bark. Wing polymorphism is common in this family, often associated with the cryptic habit. Most known species are predaceous, though some take plant food as well (e.g. ). A few of these are believed to be entirely phytophagous (). Their small size and often generalized feeding habits have resulted in about 30 introduced species, mostly accidental. A few have been introduced deliberately as biological control agents ( spp., , and spp.). Most nonindigenous species seem to have been distributed as a result of human activities, especially commerce. The predaceous habits of many Anthocoridae have attracted the attention of researchers who work in agroecosystems. Integrated pest management programs often include these predators, which has given us greater knowledge about these species than those found in natural ecosystems. Exciting discoveries about the attractiveness to these bugs of certain volatile plant and arthropod compounds are opening new areas of investigation into their chemical ecology. The reactions of these tiny predators will surely become better understood as a result.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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