Abstract. The ubiquity of nongyrotropic particle populations in space plasmas warrants the study of their characteristics, in particular their stability. The unperturbed nongyrotropic distribution functions in homogeneous media without sources and sinks (closed phase space) must be rotating and time-varying (TNG), whereas consideration of open phase spaces allows for the occurrence of homogeneous and stationary distributions (SNG). The free energy brought about by the introduction of gyrophase organization in a particle population can destabilize otherwise thoroughly stable magnetoplasmas (or, a fortiori, enhance pre-existing gyrotropic instabilities) and feed intense wave growth both in TNG and SNG environments: The nongyrotropic (electron or ion) species can originate unstable coupling among the gyrotropic characteristic waves. The stability properties of these two types of homogeneous nongyrotropy shall be contrasted for parallel (with respect to the ambient magnetic ®eld) and perpendicular propagation, and their potential role as wave activity sources shall be illustrated resorting to solutions of the appropriate dispersion equations and numerical simulations. Key words. Space plasma physics (waves and instabilities) Magnetospheric physics (plasma waves and instabilities) Interplanetary physics (plasma waves and turbulence)
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