Friday, August 17, 2007

A Buggy Mystery

Recall my post about the old Courier litho plates? At the same place the daughter and I took those photographs, we came across another curious phenomenon: a swarm of bugs of some sort, clinging to a piece of well weathered particle board.

They were so red, I thought they might be ladybug larvae until I took a closer look. Not. Took pictures and moved on.

Eleven days later, the famous Niece from Memphis and I visited the same spot to take some close-up pix. The black fellows above I recognized -- I see them early, every spring, on the sidewalks, mating. Presumably, the insects in these pictures are all the same species, in differing stages of maturity. So: are the mating pairs adults who have over-wintered?

The swarm seems to include immature forms (the more immature, the more red; the smaller, the more immature -- at least that is my hunch.) Note the undeveloped wings on some of the critters.

How to ID these bugs (for I'm pretty sure that they are hemiptra, true bugs)? The obvious place to start out is at the Yavapai county agent's web site; unfortunately, the bugs that get attention from the ag department are those that cause problems, tho there was a similar form called seed bug (melanopterus belfragei). Being a wiseacre, I figured melanopterus as the species & I tried The Google's image service, netting a large number of fish and shark pictures for my trouble. So: at this point, I've got an email to our county agent to see if he can track down the genesis of this critter. Note: Welcome to visitors from the Circus of the Spineless! For further adventures with Prescott arthropods, click on the "insects" label below.

Interesting Links: Have you seen any of those cat pictures with the hacker slang captions (i.e., Im in ur server eating ur dataz)? Wikipedia, natch, has an article about them, as well as another about what it labels as Internet phenomena. And just for fun, take a look here.

8 comments:

T. Beth said...

They look like Boxelder Bugs (Boisea trivittatus).

Granny J said...

That was fast, Beth! Thank you. I found a couple of good sites describing the box elder bug here and here

OmegaMom said...

Well, looks like my link o' the day for you, What's That Bug? isn't needed now. But I thought I'd pass it on to you & your readers anyway, because I've found it quite useful and often fun to dip into now and then.

sheoflittlebrain said...

a nifty site, gj! We're always asking that question around the one acre wood...

Granny J said...

Dotter & Brain -- the problem with the sites I linked is that I would never have found my critter if T. Beth hadn't given me the name!

Granny J said...

And so I went to the site for which the dotter gave a link -- it is just splendid if you don't know the name! Oodles of box elder bug Qs with pix in the true bug section, so I'm far from the only curious one!

Desert Cat said...

Redundant Cat again. T.Beth has it. That's what I thought they were.

Granny J said...

Cat -- better late than never!! I also heard from the county agent; his verdict, box elder bugs.

 
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