Remarkable gall-inducing Beesonia dipterocarpi (Hemiptera: Beesoniidae) and their equally remarkable galls on Dipterocarpus tuberculatus (Dipterocarpaceae) described from the Indian subcontinent in the 1920s

Anantanarayanan Raman, Sudhir Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cyril Beeson in his volume Ecology and control of forest insects of India and neighbouring countries, published in 1941, refers to the remarkable galls developing on the shoots of Dipterocarpus tuberculatus. These galls were found in Burma (Myanmar) in the 1920s and sent to the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun (FRI-D), India for determining the inducing agents. The entomology division staff, FRI-D, determined that the agents were coccoids (then referred to as 'coccids') of Insecta, Hemiptera. Edward Green who knew the coccoids of the Indian subcontinent well, because of his studies of the insects of Ceylon(Sri Lanka) earlier, determined the inducing coccids as Beesonia dipterocarpi in 1926 publishing his paper in the Bulletin of Entomological Research (BER) (London) in 1926. He named the coccoid B. dipterocarpi after Beeson and the host plant Dipterocarpus. Due to the complexity in the morphology of the coccoid, Green published his amended notes on B. dipterocarpi in BER in 1928. Green did not assign B. dipterocarpi to any family of the Coccoidea ('Coccidae' then). Gordon Ferris, Stanford, California, erected Beesoniidae in 1950, as a distinct family based on his finding of a novelty Beesonia napiformis from Quercus acutissima in China. From the 1980s, the Beesoniidae, a family of remarkable coccoids, has been in the limelight, thanks to the work of SadaoTakagi, Sapporo, Japan. Several species of the Beesoniidae, both suspected due to their affinity to the tropical Dipterocarpaceae and confirmed, are known today. In such a context, we, the authors of this paper, got access to the correspondence between the forest officials of Burma in the 1920s and the staff of the entomology division of FRI-D, then led by Beeson, pertaining to the finding of the Chrysanthemum flower-like galls on the shoots of D. tuberulatus. In this paper, we have chronicled the events that led to the description of these galls and the inducing insects, using copies of letters archived at FRI-D in the context of this material. At appropriate points, we have inserted our remarks, inthe light of the present understanding of galls in general and those induced by the Beesoniidae in particular, to explain the complex morphology of the galls of D. tuberculatus induced by B. dipterocarpi. Host relationships of the Beesoniidae are equally complex and confusing. This paper, hopefully, will trigger interest in entomologists, so that this group of insects will be investigated more closely and their biological details are clarified in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-122
Number of pages15
JournalOriental Insects
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


Cite this