Saturday, May 21, 2016

Biting White Bug

While examining some insect damaged oak leaves I felt an annoying little sting on the back of my hand.  I had to look closely to see a tiny white shapeless dot.  I took several photographs and when it became too much to tolerate, I scraped the perp into an insect box.

Several of the leaves had the same insect as well as fuzzy egg cases and scattered exuvia (skins of molted larvae).  I couldn't tell if all the white fuzz under the leaves was related to my tormentor or other species that were destined to become its prey.

Deraeocoris nymph - REK

Ventral view with stylet - REK

Under the microscope I could make out the piercing stylet that had stabbed me, typical of a larval Hemiptera or "true bug".  I sent the photographs to and got back an identification of a Deraeocoris nymph.

Deraecoris nymph- Ilona L. CC  
There are 64 species of Deraeocoris in the US.  For the most part they are predatory, attacking insects that eat plants such as aphids, psyllids, scales, mites, and lace bugs.  I could not find any more specific information on the genera as most references are for European species.  Some species such as Deraeocoris brevis piceatus and Deraeocoris nebulosus are useful for insect control.

There are no available guides to the species of these nymphs so I guess I will just have to chew on this problem for a while.....or visa versa.

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