A Burrowing Bug | Rhytidoporus indentatus

California Pest Rating  for
A Burrowing Bug | Rhytidoporus indentatus Uhler
Hemiptera: Cydnidae
Pest Rating: C



Initiating Event:

Rhytidoporus indentatus is currently Q-rated.  A permanent pest rating proposal is required to support an official pest rating.

History & Status:

Background:  Rhytidoporus indentatus has an appearance typical of members of the family Cydnidae; it is small (3.8-5.8 mm in length), oval-shaped, dark, and shiny (Froeschner, 1954; Froeschner and Maldonado-Capriles, 1992).  Very little information is available on the biology of this species.  It has been found in caves in Cuba and Jamaica, and it was reported to feed on fruit and seeds in bat guano (Barroso and Díaz, 2014; Peck, 1992).  It has also been intercepted on various root commodities, which suggests it may feed on roots as well (see below).  The members of this family are referred to as “burrowing bugs” because most species live underground and feed on roots, but some live above ground and feed on fallen seeds or the exposed parts of plants.  Few species in this family are recognized as economically significant pests.  Among them are some species that damage cassava roots or peanuts (Bellotti et al., 1994; Chapin et al., 2006).  Besides the direct damage to the roots, feeding by these insects can allow infection by pathogens, including fungi.

Worldwide Distribution:  Rhytidoporus indentatus is known from Pacific islands (including Guam), the Greater Antilles (including Cuba), and the United States (southern Florida and Hawaii) (Bishop Museum, 2002; Froeschner, 1976; Lis and Zack, 2010).  It was also apparently collected from Baja California, although additional evidence of this species occurring there was not found (Cervantes Peredo and Ramos Rivera, 2017).  The Greater Antilles distribution is presumed to represent the native range of the species, and the Pacific island, Mexico, and United States records represent introductions (Froeschner, 1954).

Official Control: Rhytidoporus indentatus is not known to be under official control anywhere.

California Distribution:  Rhytidoporus indentatus is not known to be present in California (Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network).

California Interceptions:  Rhytidoporus indentatus has been intercepted on ginger, sweet potatoes, taro, and turmeric from Hawaii (PDR # 926381, 926378, 1308357, 190P06060306, 190P06620121, and 190P06620007), in the soil of plants from Hawaii (PDR # 1239534), with cut flowers from Hawaii (PDR # 1040836, 1418527, 1418527, and 1396118), with palms from Florida (PDR # 1039799), and in miscellaneous shipments from Hawaii and Florida (PDR # 975978 and 1376006).

The risk Rhytidoporus indentatus would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction:

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Except for the record from Baja California, Rhytidoporus indentatus is apparently restricted to areas with a tropical or subtropical climate. The climate of California appears largely unsuitable, but it is possible that this species could become established in a limited portion of the state.  Therefore, Rhytidoporus indentatus receives a Low (1) in this category.

– Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

– Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

– High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: There is very little information available on the biology of Rhytidoporus indentatus. If it is assumed that the interception records represent feeding on the associated commodities, this species may feed on roots and seeds of a broad range of food plants.  Therefore, it receives a High (3) in this category.

– Low (1) has a very limited host range.

– Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

– High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Rhytidoporus indentatus presumably flies, as it is sometimes collected at light (Froeschner, 1976).  Therefore, it receives a Medium (2) in this category.

– Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

– Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

– High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: Rhytidoporus indentatus is found in the Caribbean, Florida, and Pacific islands.  Yet, there are no reports of this species being an economic pest, even though it presumable occurs in agricultural situations, based on the fact that it has been intercepted on commodities.  Therefore, it receives a Low (1) in this category.

Economic Impact:

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Economic Impact Score: 1

– Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

– Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

– High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

5) Environmental Impact: Rhytidoporus indentatus has been introduced to the United States (Florida and Hawaii) and other localities. Although this species presumably feeds on plants (possibly seeds and roots), there is no evidence that it can cause significant damage to plants.  As explained above, this species is not expected to become an economic pest, so it is unlikely that its establishment in California would trigger treatment programs. Therefore, it receives a Low (1) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below.

Environmental Impact:

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact.

Environmental Impact Score: 1

– Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

– Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

– High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Rhytidoporus indentatus: Low (8)

Add up the total score and include it here.

–Low = 5-8 points

–Medium = 9-12 points

–High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Rhytidoporus indentatus is not known to be present in California.  It receives a Not established (0) in this category.

–Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

–Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

–Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

–High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score:

7) The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: Low (8)


There is very little information on the biology of Rhytidoporus indentatus.  The absence of reports of it being a pest anywhere it has so far been introduced to suggests that there is a low pest potential in California as well.  However, it is possible that R. indentatus causes damage to roots underground but the damage is not recognized or not realized to be caused by this species.  There is also uncertainty regarding potential for environmental damage, because this species would have access to native plants in California that it has not previously encountered.  It could, for example, feed on seeds of a rare plant to the extent that populations of such a plant would be threatened.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

There is no evidence that Rhytidoporus indentatus is a pest or has an environmental impact anywhere it is found.  Although it is not possible to predict with certainty what impact it would have in California, it appears highly unlikely that this species would become a problem in this state if it became established here.  For these reasons, a “C” rating is justified.


Barroso, A.A. and R.B. Díaz.  2014.  Estado de conservaciόn de Jimeneziella decui, una especie cavernícola de Cuba (Opiliones: Laniatores).  Revista Ibérica de Aracnología.  25: 43-57.

Bellotti, A.C., Braun, A.R., Arias, B., Castillo, J.A., and Guerrero, J.M.  1994.  Origin and management of neotropical cassava arthropod pests.  African Crop Science Journal.  2: 407-417.

Bishop Museum.  2002.  Hawaiian All-Species Checklist.  Accessed March 27, 2018. http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/checklist/query.asp

Chapin, J.W., Sanders, T.H., Dean, L.O., Hendrix, K.W., and J.S. Thomas.  2006.  Effect of feeding by a burrower bug, Pangaeus bilineatus (Say) (Heteroptera: Cydnidae), on peanut flavor and oil quality.  Journal of Entomological Science.  41(1): 33-39.

Froeschner, R.C.  1976.  The burrowing bugs of Hawaii, with description of a new species (Hemiptera: Cydnidae).  Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society.  22(2): 229-236.

Froeschner, R.C.  1954.  Monograph of the Cydnidae of the Western Hemisphere.  Ph.D. dissertation, Iowa State College.  552 pp.

Froeschner, R.C. and Maldonado-Capriles, J.  1992.  A synopsis of burrowing bugs of Puerto Rico with description of new species Melanaethus wolcotti (Heteroptera: Cydnidae).  Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico.  76: 177-185.

Lis, J.A. and R.S. Zack.  2010.  A review of burrower bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Cydnidae sensu lato) of Guam.  Zootaxa.  2523: 57-64.

Peck, S.B.  1992.  A synopsis of the invertebrate cave fauna of Jamaica.  National Speleological Society Bulletin.  54: 37-60.

Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN).  Accessed March 28, 2017. http://symbiota4.acis.ufl.edu


Kyle Beucke, 1220 N Street, Room 221, Sacramento, CA, 95814, 916-403-6741, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov

Responsible Party:

Jason Leathers, 2800 Gateway Oaks, Sacramento CA 95833, (916) 654-1211, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov

Comment Period:* CLOSED

4/10/18 – 5/25/18


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Pest Rating: C

Posted by ls