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Is the pronotal punctuation of Tingidae (Heteroptera) related to exaggerated traits?

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image of Insect Systematics & Evolution

The pronotum of most of the Tingidae (Insecta, Heteroptera) is punctate. Observed with scanning electron microscope, the punctuation is made of pits with or without marginal protuberances at the entry, and with or without an associated sensilla. The distribution of the pits, the shape and number of their protuberances vary according to the species. The evolution of the punctuation may be related to the evolution of the pronotal and hemelytral shapes. The function of this punctuation remains unknown. However, it could be glandular and involved in protection against predators by secreting pheromones, or in an excretion phenomenon by excreting exudate. It could be also sensitive receptors involved in communication within species.


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