The insect family Nabidae contains the damsel bugs. There are over 500 species in 20 genera.[1] They are soft-bodied, elongate, winged terrestrial predators. Many damsel bugs catch and hold prey with their forelegs, similar to mantids. They are considered helpful species in agriculture because of their predation on many types of crop pests.[2]

Temporal range: Cenomanian–Recent
Nabis rugosus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Cimicomorpha
Family: Nabidae
Costa, 1853


Nabis biformis
Prostemma albimacula
Himacerus apterus

Damsel bugs of the genus Nabis are the most common. They and other genera are most numerous in fields of legumes such as alfalfa, but they can be found in many other crops and in non-cultivated areas. They are yellow to tan in color and have large, bulbous eyes and stiltlike legs. They are generalist predators, catching almost any insect smaller than themselves, and cannibalizing each other when no other food is available. Several species have bitten humans.[3] Members of the subfamily Prostemmatinae reproduce by traumatic insemination.[4]

Genera Edit

These 23 genera belong to the family Nabidae:

Data sources: i = ITIS,[5] c = Catalogue of Life,[6] g = GBIF,[7] b =[8]

Evolutionary history Edit

Several fossil genera have been attributed to the family, including Karanabis from the Upper Jurassic Karabastau Formation of Kazakhstan, but it has subsequently been assigned to other families. The earliest definitive record of the family is Cretanazgul from the Cenomanian aged Burmese amber of Myanmar, belonging to the subfamily Prostemmatinae.[4]

References Edit

  1. ^ Faúndez, E. I. & M. A. Carvajal. 2014. Contribution to the knowledgment of the Nabis punctipennis Blanchard, 1852 complex (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Nabidae) in Chile. Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia, 42(1): 63-69
  2. ^ Braman, S. K. 2000. Damsel bugs (Nabidae). Pp. 639–656. In: Schaefer C. W. & Panizzi A. R. (eds.): Heteroptera of Economic Importance. CRC Press, Boca Raton.
  3. ^ Faúndez, E. I. & M. A. Carvajal. 2011. A human case of bitting by Nabis punctipennis (Hemíptera: Heteroptera: Nabidae) in Chile. Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae, 51(2): 407-409.
  4. ^ a b Garrouste, Romain; Schubnel, Thomas; Huang, Diying; Azar, Dany; Cai, Chenyang; Nel, André (April 2020). "Sexual conflict during Mesozoic: The first Cretaceous damsel bug in Burmese amber (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Nabidae)". Cretaceous Research. 108: 104344. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2019.104344.
  5. ^ "Nabidae Report". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  6. ^ "Browse Nabidae". Catalogue of Life. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  7. ^ "Nabidae". GBIF. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  8. ^ "Nabidae Family Information". Retrieved 2018-04-30.

External links Edit

  Media related to Nabidae at Wikimedia Commons