Tag Archives: Hemiptera
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Cotton Harliequin Bugs

5 Mar

Every year at this time, the flame trees at my girls’ school just erupts in hundreds of Cotton Harlequin Bugs (Tectocoris diopthalmus). The flame trees (Brachychiton sp.) have these fuzzy seed pods, that contain urticating  hairs all over them which can cause itching to whoever touches them.  The insects are fine with them however, with the nymphs tending to congregate inside the seed pods at times.  The mothers of this species lay eggs around a branch, and guards the eggs until they hatch.  The young will usually cluster together as a way of defense against predators-powers in numbers when you’re a small stink bug. When disturbed they can emit a foul odor (I think it rather smells like a mild cleaner), which in turn hopefully make the predator think they are inedible. 20160304_084034

Over the course of a few weeks, the nymphs will undergo a series of molts (shedding exoskeleton) to grow, and will change colour in the process.  The newly hatched nymphs are a bright red, then turning to greens and blues in consecutive molts, and finally settling on a bright orange in adulthood.  Males can also be orange and red but tend to have brighter spots of blue and green on them, where the females are just orange with sometimes no spots, and sometimes with very muted coloured spots.

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Nymphs at various stages of growth.

 

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Male, female and nymph Cotton Harlequin bugs on seed pod.

I’ll be doing a follow up post on these, because the other day for the first time, I noticed two separate clusters of nymphs, on different seed pods.  They were the same size, but one cluster were the red ones you see above, the other group were all green/blue.  I’ve never noticed this before so I’m thinking perhaps the females and males cluster together.  And that means the picture of the red ones above would be all female.  I can’t find information on this, and up to now have read and assumed all nymphs resembled each other until adulthood.  I didn’t have my camera but will be getting a picture soon of the difference.

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Bush walk snaps

30 Sep

Today I took the kiddos out for a bush walk to see what goodies we could find.  It seemed at first it was all for naught, but then things picked up speed.

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Casemoth/bagworm caterpillar and case.

We keep points whenever someone spots something, and CJ came out of the gates strong with the Casemoth caterpillar spotting and then…

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Dragonfly

this beautiful dragonfly. The kids got an eye.

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Tree-running Mantid - Ciulfina sp.

Next up we saw this beautiful Tree-running Mantid. I just love how the colour blends with the tree.

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Cicada

We found this cicada moments after spotting an exoskelton. Which my brave girl put on her shirt like a broach.

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Next we found this assassin bug nymph. Such little pieces of artwork.

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Assassin bug nymph

Some of you may have no idea what this next thing is, and I didn’t at first, but this is the secret hideaway of the Spittle bug.

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Spittle bug hideout

The Spittle bug is in the Family Aphrophorid, in the order Hemiptera. (Think Leafhopper) These nymphs form a little cubby of spittle around themselves to protect from predators and dehydration; it is theorized. I see a lot of these in pine trees.

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And lastly, a picture of three happy, bush-walking, insect-hunting kiddos.