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Volume 2011, Article ID 767963, 4 pages
Research Article

Contamination as the Cause of Erroneous Records of Brochosomes

Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya Street 123, Moscow 117997, Russia

Received 27 March 2011; Accepted 9 April 2011

Academic Editor: Ai-Ping Liang

Copyright © 2011 Roman Rakitov. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Brochosomes are ultramicroscopic particles produced in large quantities by the Malpighian tubules of leafhoppers (Insecta, Hemiptera, and Cicadellidae) and applied by leafhoppers as a coat to their integuments. A recent study has described brochosomes on museum specimens of Heteroptera and Psylloidea, suggesting a wider distribution of brochosomes among Hemiptera. Here, I report that the majority of adult Sthenarus rotermundi (Scholtz) (Miridae) and Kleidocerys resedae (Panzer) (Lygaeidae) reared in captivity and handled with clean tools had no brochosomes on them, suggesting that the earlier records of brochosomes in these and perhaps other species outside of the Cicadellidae were due to contamination. Additionally, simple experiments demonstrated that insects can become contaminated with brochosomes via entomological tools that had been in contact with leafhoppers and via preservation in ethanol together with leafhoppers. Contamination of host plants, predators, and parasites of leafhoppers with brochosomes is also expected but remains to be demonstrated.