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Monday, August 03, 2009

Two Typical Bugs

Here are two typical bugs, and by that I mean certain buggies of the order hemiptera grouped together in the suborder heteroptera and also called true bugs (as opposed to lying stinking backstabbing bugs) or typical bugs. As such these bugs possess certain typical features: mouthparts elongated into a beak for piercing tissue (usually plant but sometimes animal), partially hardened forewings that do not cover the membranous portion or the hind wings, an "X" across the back of the bug formed by the triangular scuttelum and the leading edge of the folded wings. Their metamorphosis is incomplete, meaning they grow through several stages that resemble the adult and do not pupate. They typically use the same food source throughout their life stages, and often are agricultural or garden pests.

The first photo is an adult harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica. It is resting on a sprig of sweet alyssum (lobularia maritima) that shows typical stippling damage from the feeding of these bugs. Their preferred food is most any plant in the cabbage family, but they will feed on other stuff in the absence of crucifers. What usually happens in my garden is the alyssum sprouts from seed, and grows nicely for a month or two until the harlequin population builds up and the plants look like that shown here. I get sick of looking at them and pull them out; the bugs just seem to go away. The weather turns cool, the alyssum seeds sprout, and we start all over again.

The second photo is of a bug quite common on flowers in my garden, and formerly identified here only as a "mirid bug". Thanks to Peter Bryant and the experts at Bugguide I can now make your acquaintance to Creontiades rubrinervis, which is quite a mouthful and there is unfortunately no common name yet available as far as I know. Here is a nice photo of the nymph stage, very attractive little buggies often seen in my garden and on this blog. This post has some interesting photos of an adult C. rubrinervis that had been parasitised. These mirid bugs are plant feeders and I guess if their numbers built up they could be damaging; apparently the parasites and predators are keeping them in check in my garden.


Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

I've been learning a lot about true bugs lately. My learning curve follows whatever shows up in my garden. We have loads of Twice Stabbed Stink bugs. And I just recently found one piercing and eating the body of a crane fly!? Put it up at bugguide on the forum, and apparently, some herbivorious stink bugs are also opportunists or even occational predators. Interesting.

I also get some very pretty plant bugs in the garden, but they sometimes get to pestilence stage and damage my mints.

vanessa cardui said...

Interesting . . . I'll keep an eye out for predation by stink bugs. Thanks for the information.