Monday, July 4, 2011

Leaf-footed bug

 
Click to enlarge
Any bug Barb finds in the garden is guilty until proven innocent.  The prehistoric creature in the picture is easily identified as a Leaf-footed bug by its broad, leaf-shaped tibia.  Many of these species have a variation of yellow orange on their antennae.

Next stop was bugguide.net where a search brought up Leaf-footed bugs (Coreidae).  From there on it is a process of elimination until I came across Leaf-footed bug - Leptoglossus oppositus with its distinctive three spots on its back and unusually thin femurs.

One nice thing about the internet, you name a critter and there is probably a Fan Page for it.  For Leaf-footed bugs, it is at http://www.austinbug.com/coreidae.html and it is loaded with information on the family. 

The Common Leaf-footed bug is in a group commonly called squash bugs because some of them damage squash and other crop plants.  They also are called squash bugs because that is their fate if Barb finds them in the garden.  Many of the species are not garden pests but they all look enough alike that I took two hours to identify a different species. 

Undoubtedly some closely related species will die in the garden because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I don't intend to look each one up before Barb passes sentence.

2014 Addendum
Chris Barnhart sent me this picture of leaf-footed bug eggs that is just to cool to ignore.  They bear a resemblance to little Tootsie-rolls and are probably more nutritious.

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