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Minute pirate bugs
Orius insidiosus from USDA 2.jpg
Orius insidiosus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Superfamily: Cimicoidea
Family: Anthocoridae
Minute pirate bugs, Anthocoridae

Anthocoridae is a family of bugs, commonly called minute pirate bugs or flower bugs. Worldwide there are 500-600 species.[1]


Anthocoridae are 1.5–5 mm long and have soft, elongated oval, flat bodies, often patterned in black and white. The head is extended forward and the antennae are longer than the head and visible from above. They possess a piercing and sucking three-segmented beak or labium used to inject prey with digestive enzymes and consume food. In general appearance, they resemble soft bugs Miridae, but Anthocoridae differ by their possession of two ocelli as adults. Anthocorids possess two pairs of wings with sclerotized forewings and membranous hindwings.[2][3]

Many species are referred to as insidious flower bugs or pirate bugs.[4] The scientific name is a combination of the Greek words anthos "flower" and koris "bug".

Habitat and behavior[edit]

Many species can be found in cryptic habitats such as galls, but can also be present in open surface environments. They can often be found in many agricultural crops.[5] They can feed on plant material, but mostly feed on other small soft-bodied arthropods.[1] Anthocorids are often predacious both as nymphs and adults.[2] They are beneficial as biological control agents. Orius insidiosus, the "insidious flower bug", for example, feeds on the eggs of the corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea). Orius insidiosus is often released in greenhouses against mites and thrips.[6]

Eggs are laid in plant material and hatch in approximately 3 to 5 days. Nymphs require at least 20 days to progress through five instars. Adults live for approximately 35 days.[7] These small insects can bite humans, however, they do not feed on human blood or inject venom or saliva. Reactions to bites in individuals can range from no effect to minor swelling and irritation.[5]


These genera belong to the family Anthocoridae:[2][8]

Data sources: i = ITIS,[9] c = Catalogue of Life,[10] g = GBIF,[11] b =[12]


  1. ^ a b Lattin, J.D. (1999). "Bionomics of the Anthocoridae". Annual Review of Entomology. 44: 207–31. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.44.1.207. PMID 15012372.
  2. ^ a b c Horton, D.R. (2008). "Minute Pirate Bugs (Hemiptera: Anthcoridae)". In Capinera, J.L. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Entomology. pp. 2402–2412. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4633. ISBN 978-1-4020-6242-1.
  3. ^ E. Wachmann, A. Melber & J. Deckert: Wanzen. Band 1: Dipsocoromorpha, Nepomorpha, Gerromorpha, Leptopodomorpha, Cimicomorpha (Teil I), Neubearbeitung der Wanzen Deutschlands, Österreichs und der deutschsprachigen Schweiz, Goecke & Evers Keltern, 2006, ISBN 3-931374-49-1
  4. ^ "Minute Pirate Bugs". Iowa Insect Information Notes. Iowa State University. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Minute Pirate Bugs – Little Bug with a Big Bite". University of Illinois Extension. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  6. ^ "Midwest Biological Control News". Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Back to Predators Table of Contents Orius tristicolor and O. insidiosus". Cornell University. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  8. ^ Péricart, J. 1996. Family Anthocoridae Fieber, 1836 flower bugs, minute pirate bugs, pp. 108–318. In Aukema, B. and C. Rieger, eds. Catalogue of the Heteroptera of the Palaearctic Region. Vol. 2. Cimicomorpha I. Netherlands Entomological Society, Amsterdam. 359 pp.
  9. ^ "Anthocoridae Report". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  10. ^ "Browse Anthocoridae". Catalogue of Life. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  11. ^ "Anthocoridae". GBIF. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  12. ^ "Anthocoridae Family Information". Retrieved 2018-04-23.

External links[edit]

Media related to Anthocoridae at Wikimedia Commons