Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Bugs on the hop

Hop bushes (Dodonea viscosa) are doing their thing at the moment. Although not one of our more spectacular native plants, they have a certain charm.

Ground shield bugs (Choerocoris paganus) like them too. They feed on seeds as they develop. When disturbed, the bugs usually drop to the ground and scuttle away but these two were obviously preoccupied.

It's easy to mistake shield bugs (family Scutelleridae) for beetles. In most bugs the scutellum is a small triangular plate that sits between the wings. You can see it clearly in this picture of harlequin bugs (Dindymus versicolor). It's nothing to write home about. But in scutellerids, it is greatly expanded, often covering the wings. This gives them a beetle-ish look.

A couple of earlier posts here and here give pointers to distinguishing between bugs and beetles.


Mike said...

Lovely bugs, Snail. I love how colorful they are.

Duncan said...

That's a new one for me Snail, certainly colourful, I'll have to check out the hop bushes.

Sherrie Y said...

Those are right purdy beasties, all right (and good photos, too!)... but you know... posting that sort of thing... well... it's a tad voyeuristic, don't you think?

Oh, wait. That's why we like it.


Snail said...

Despite their bright colours, they are surprisingly difficult to see. I spotted the dark green blobs first but the red seemed to blend in with the shadows.

As for catching them in flagrante delicto ... Well ... the bugs are at it like ... er ... rabbits. It's difficult to take pictures of them doing anything else. It's spring here, remember!

Anonymous said...

Although not one of our more spectacular native plants, they have a certain charm

They charm the little spineless immensely, as you've shown. A hop bush always has plenty raggedy leaves too.

And us mob primates? Where would we be without tamarinds and lychees. And longans and rambutans if your nose is blocked ;-)

Absolutely everybody loves to chew on Sapindaceae.


Mel said...

For me they look very similar, thank you for the tips to id!

Snail said...

D, couldn't agree more! That's part of my cunning plan for the move back north. I used togrow all sorts of scrumptious fruit in Townsville.

Mel, they can be really confusing at times --- especially the Scutelleridae.