What I know about bugs could be carved into the tip of an antenna with room left over for a horde of foxtrotting angels. But I wanted to try out the macro on my new digital compact camera and this is the result. Not bad, eh?
These bugs infest my garden. They congregate into scarlet and black swarms—adults and nymphs of all stages. I haven't noticed them doing a great deal of damage to my plants but that might well change when I start uprooting the weeds.
I'm not sure of the species. I think it's Dindymus versicolor, one of the multitude of brightly-coloured insects given the common name 'harlequin bug'. Five species of Dindymus occur in eastern Australia, all of which are plant predators. But Dindymus versicolor doesn't appear to be too fussy about its diet. I've seen them gorging on squashed slugs, bird poo and—I wish I hadn't observed this—cat shit. Some SE Asian species are snail-killers. The fiends!
My garden is packed with these bugs. They're certainly prolific breeders. Adults are rarely found on their own. They're usually in mating pairs, as is this case with these ones on the kangaroo apple (Solanum lacinatum).
Even in high densities, they don't seem to be doing much damage to my plants but that might change when I start pulling out the weeds, leaving them alone with my lovely natives. These bugs are on notice.