Rediscovering digitules in aphidomorpha and the question of homology among sternorrhyncha (Insecta, Hemiptera)

Mark A. Metz, Douglass R. Miller, Aaron M. Dickey, Gary R. Bauchan, Ronald Ochoa, Michael J. Skvarla, Gary L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We explore and expand on the morphological term digitule. The term was originally proposed for toe-like setae on a species of Phylloxera Boyer de Fonscolombe, 1834 (Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Aphidomor-pha) by Henry Shimer, an American naturalist. While it is standard terminology in scale systematics (Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Coccidomorpha), the term digitule was ignored by aphid specialists despite being the original taxon for which the term was described. Similar setae occur on many arthropod groups, so the homology is poorly understood even within any superfamily of Hemiptera. We provide the etymology of the term, a proposed explanation for why it was used among scale taxonomists and not aphid taxonomists, and discuss briefly options to progress beyond the confusion between terminology for morphology and homology in Sternorrhyncha.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
Issue number683
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Insect Science
  • Palaeontology


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