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     HEMIPTERA, Ochteridae.-- <Images> & <Juveniles>


             Please refer also to the following links for details on this group:


Ochteridae = Link 1




          These are the velvety shore bugs.  They derive their name from a velvety appearance.  There are about 26 identified species.


          They are egg-shaped and 3-5.5 mm. long.  They occur along the banks of streams and ponds and also in sandy or muddy places near to shallow water..  Their color is blue or black, and they are are all considered predaceous.  Clausen (1940) noted that they are littoral in habit and feed on insects and other small animals around the muddy margins of ponds and streams.


          The following detailed descriptions are derived from Andersen & Weir (2004):




          The body is small, ovoid, moderately dorsoventrally flattened, typically darkish in color with pale markings and a soft velvety dorsum. The head is declivent and lacks a cephalic trichobothria. Eyes are large and reniform, occupying much of the dorsal aspect of the head; two ocelli are present.  Antennae have 4 segments and are visible from above, with short first and second segments 1 and 2 short.  The rostrum is slender, 4-segmented, usually reaching beyond the metacoxae.  The pronotum is subtrapezoidal, with lateral explanate margins and posterior emarginate margins.  The forewing is differentiated into a corium, clavus, and a membrane with large cells.  Metathoracic scent glands are present but nymphs lack dorsal abdominal glands.  The legs are slender and adapted for running.  The fore and mid tarsi have 2-segments, hind tarsi 3-segments.   The length averages 3.4 mm up to 9.8 mm


          Instream habitat: Ochteridae species are semi-aquatic bugs that occur in the littoral areas of quiet waters, especially mudflats and sandbars, in association with riparian vegetation. Ochterid bugs are particularly vulnerable to habitat disturbance.

          Feeding ecology: Ochterid bugs are predators, feeding mostly on fly larvae (Diptera), springtails (Collembola) and aphids. 


Behavior & Life History

          Habit: Commonly known as ‘velvet shore bugs’, they are cryptically colored, run quickly over sunlit open ground and jump or fly short distances. The nymphs of some species are slow moving and so camouflage themselves by scooping sand onto their dorsum using a small comb on the anterior portion of the head, just over the labrum, and positioning it using the fore- and hindlegs.

          Life history: The biology of Megochterus species is unknown. Ochterus eggs are suboval in cross-section. The female lays her eggs singly amongst debris and on sand grains. At the last molt, Ochterus nymphs build small cells of sand in which they stay for two days before and after molting.


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References:   Please refer to  <biology.ref.htm>, [Additional references may be found at:  MELVYL Library]


Andersen, N. M. & T. A.Weir. 2004, Cassis & Gross 1995, Lansbury & Lake 2002


Carver, M., Gross, G.F. & Woodward, T.E. 1991. Hemiptera (bugs, leafhoppers, cicadas, aphids, scale insects, etc.). In: The Insects of Australia - a Textbook for Students and Research Workers Volume 1. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.