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THE bug meeting – International Heteropterists’ Society Meeting

Postdoctoral researcher Guanyang Zhang attended the 5th Quadrennial Meeting of the Heteropterists’ Society. The meeting took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History from July 21 to 25, 2014. Meeting program can be found here. The meeting was attended by more than 100 participants from several continents. There were about 50 talks and more than 20 posters. Topics centered around taxonomy and phylogenetics, but also included behavior, evolution and ecology. Click this link to see some meeting pictures and tweets: IHS meeting pictures and tweets.

Zhang & Franz 2014 – Integrating and Visualizing Taxonomic Concept Changes in the Heteroptera from taxonbytes

It is not quite certain to any entomologists why only one group of bugs are accorded the name “True Bug”. This name refers to the Heteroptera, a group of hemimetabolous insects whose members are generally characterized by having a beak-like mouth and part of the fore wings hardened, just like the elytra of beetles. And there is a society for researchers who work on Heteroptera or true bugs – the International Heteropterist’s Society.

Guanyang gave a talk on using the Euler/X toolkit to integrate and visualize taxonomic concept changes in Heteroptera. Several test cases were shown. There was some interest from the audience and some heteropterists would like to try out the method for their taxa.

A research team from the Nankai University (Tianjin, China) presented an impressive transcriptome dataset to test the infraorder relationships in Heteroptera, an unsettled topic. The results are surprising and also encouraging – the relationships recovered by this 2000-locus data set are congruent with a previously proposed morphology-based hypothesis.

David Redei, also from Nankai University, presented some really painstaking research on the facial structures and head musculature of Heteroptera, proposing to use the term frontalclypeus instead of frons. We will see whether fellow heteropterists will follow.

Christiane Weirauch, from University of California, Riverside, and her lab members were a prominent presence during the meeting. Eight talks came from this lab and Stephanie Leon, a masters student, won the second prize in the student competition.

The next meeting will be in Argentina in 2018!

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