Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Interrupted buggy sleep

I've been doing fall garden clean-up these last few days, and I've disturbed a few of the residents; spiders, slugs, conifer seed (leaf-footed) bugs, frantic harvestmen, mostly.  This shield bug had relocated to Laurie's bike, but I tidied that up, too, and captured the bug. At least it got to come in where it's warm, for a while.

Shield bug, possibly Elasmucha lateralis.

It's built more or less on the same pattern as the leaf-footed bugs; elytra with a triangular section on the upper back, and a cutout for the pleated end of the upper wings, dotted-line wing edges showing along the sides, a similar head with protruding eyes, etc. But it's smaller, just under 1//2 inch long, and the back is shaped like a shield, hence the name.

They're often called stink bugs, so I checked; this one doesn't stink, not even when I poked it with a finger.

It wouldn't stand still for its photograph. I gave it a slice of ripe pear, and that stopped it. It extended its sucking mouthparts and went to work at piercing the skin.


The underside is red, with three lines of black dots. I had to put it in a plastic container to get it to stay belly-up for a few seconds.

These bugs live on birch or alder trees, feeding on the leaf juices. In the fall, the adults hide under leaf litter to wait out the cold weather. When spring comes, they wake up and lay their eggs. The mother stays with them and cares for the early instars. Here's a series of photos taken in Montreal; a mother with eggs, then the growing nymphs.

This one must have been sleeping in the dead leaves I was raking up. In the morning, I'll take it out and put it in the leaf mulch piled around my honeysuckle.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!