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Lace bug Tingidae: Hemiptera

Tingidae is a family of very small [2-10 mm] insects in the order Hemiptera that are commonly referred to as lace bugs. This group is distributed worldwide and consists of approximately 2,000 species.


They are called lace bugs because the pronotum and forewings of the adult have a delicate and intricate network of divided areas that resemble lace. Their body appearance is flattened dorso-ventrally and they can be broadly oval or slender. Often the head is concealed under the hood-like pronotum.


Lace bugs are usually host specific and can be very destructive to plants. Most feed on the undersides of leaves by piercing the epidermis and sucking the sap. The then empty cells give the leaves a bronzed or silvery appearance. Each individual usually completes its entire life cycle on the same plant, if not the same part of the plant.


Most species have one to two generations per year, but some species have multiple generations. Most overwinter as adults but some species overwinter as eggs or nymphs. This group has incomplete metamorphosis in that the immature stages resemble the adults, except that the immatures are smaller and do not have wings. However, wing pads appear in the second and third instar and increase in size as the nymph matures. Depending on the species, lace bugs have four (few) or five (most) instars.


*Thanks to huskerlester for identifying this bug.

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Taken on January 29, 2010