Monday, September 14, 2015

Twice-stabbed Bug

Twice-stabbed stink bug on my fingertip - REK
I recently visited with Kelly McGowan, the Horticultural Educator for the MU Extension.  She gave me several tiny black bugs from the Botanical Gardens to confirm her initial identification.  By photographing them close up we could confirm that they were the twice-stabbed stink bug, Cosmopepla lintneriana.

M. histrionica - REK
C.  lintneriana is sometimes referred to as the wee harlequin bug.  This is a nod to its coloration and shape, somewhat reminiscent of its larger cousin, the easily recognized harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionica).  It is a member of the
Pentatomidae or stink bug family, and if threatened or handled it puts out a noxious odor.  You need to sniff your fingers to get the full effect.

Twice-stabbed orgy, note yellow eggs below - MJ Hatfield
Both species guard their egg clusters after placing them on host plants.  As you might guess, a bug named "wee" has tiny eggs.  MJ Hatfield has some exceptional photographs of them in Bugguide.
Emerging from egg - MJ Hatfield
MJ Hatfield


Eggs are laid in clusters on a variety of host plants including mint, echinacea, asparagus and goldenrod, and the adults hang around to guard them.  The adult bugs overwinter beneath the leaf litter.

Mating end to end - REK
They are dietary generalists, their sucking mouth parts working on a wide variety of plants and fruits, including grapes, columbine and raspberry.  They are specifically fond of the Verbascum family which includes the exotic mullein, Verbascum thapsus, so they get a 4-star rating from my wife, the Invader Crusader. 

They may produce surface discoloration on some fruit but don't usually cause significant damage to plants and are not considered an economic pest.  

MJ Hatfield generously shares his photographs by Creative Commons.  If you put photographs from nature on the web, consider sharing them with others with a Creative Commons License.

No comments:

Post a Comment