The predatory true bugs Anthocoris antevolens White and A. musculus (Say) (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Anthocoridae) are geographically widespread species in North America having broadly overlapping ranges. The two species are similar in coloration, size, host-plant use, and general appearance of the male genitalia. They are separated in keys by characteristics of the pubescence on the hemelytra: A. antevolens, pubescence long and dense; A. musculus, pubescence short and sparse. However, the extensive variability in this trait, in combination with similarities in other traits, has led to questions about whether A. antevolens and A. musculus are actually distinct species. We compared behavioral, morphological, and molecular genetic traits among specimens collected from four geographic regions, whose appearance would identify them as A. musculus (from three populations: Maine, Michigan, Montana) or as A. antevolens (from one population: central Washington). We included for comparison results for three populations of A. antevolens shown in earlier publications to differ in behavior, morphology, and mitochondrial DNA. Our results showed that identifications made using pubescence traits often failed to parallel variation in other characteristics, notably appearance of the male genitalia, mating success, and DNA sequences. In sum, our results indicate that variation among populations of A. antevolens in morphological, behavioral, and genetic traits may often exceed differences in those same traits between A. musculus and A. antevolens, if identifications are made using available keys.
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Vol. 110 • No. 4