Rough Stink Bug, Brochymena spp.

This is a quick post! I just wanted to share the stink bug nymph I found over the weekend (Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019). It’s a Rough Stink Bug nymph, in the genus Brochymena. I believe it’s Brochymena quadripustulata, the Four-humped Stink Bug. However, Brochymena sulcata and B. affinis are two other species found in our area so similar, they are difficult to distinguish.

Brochymena quadripustulata nymph

Often Brochymena stink bugs are confused with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys. These two species can be distinguished by the teeth on the outer edge of the pronoun found on Brochymena spp. and the lack of white rings on Brochymena spp. antennae. Great diagram here ~ http://www.stopbmsb.org/stink-bug-basics/look-alike-insects/%23nbsb

I’m not certain what the red spot is on the bug in my photo, but curiously, I found another photo on bugguide.net with a similar spot https://bugguide.net/node/view/1596719/bgimage . I wish I’d kept my specimen for further investigation, but let it go after taking a few photos. The quality of the photo when enlarged just isn’t good enough to determine if the spot is a parasite. My first thought was it sure looks like a honey bee varroa mite, but I haven’t found any literature describing mites on stink bugs. For the time being, it’s on my “shelf” of things to figure out.

References/Further Reading

https://webdoc.agsci.colostate.edu/bspm/Hexapoda%20(Insects)/Rough%20Stink%20Bugs.pdf

https://bugguide.net/node/view/156717

https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/IPPM/StinkBugGuide.pdf

Chlorochroa ligata – Conchuela Bug

I spotted this round black bug yesterday on the leaf of a Mullein plant (Verbascum thapsus) yesterday (August 17, 2019). At first glance, you might think it a beetle, but upon closer examination, I recognized the yellowish outer margin from a larger, very similar specimen someone had asked me to identify earlier. This isn’t a beetle, but a BUG. True Bug, that is. It’s classified in the insect order Hemiptera. Hemiptera means “Half-wing” in Greek. This is a large order of insects with over 10,000 species in North America. It includes “bugs” like aphids, scale insects, cicadas, giant toe biters, stink and shield bugs (like this one!) and more.

Conchuela Bug (Chlorochroa ligata)
Found on Mullein plant (Verbascum thapsus)
San Juan Island, WA August 17, 2019

This specimen isn’t a full-grown Conchuela Bug, but a nymph. True bugs have what is called Hemimetabolous or incomplete metamorphosis. This means there are 3 stages of development that go from egg, to nymph, to adult. The nymph basically looks like a miniature version of the adult. To contrast, the Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and Coleoptera (beetles) have Holometabolous development with 4 stages that include egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Conchuela is derived from Spanish and means the diminutive of concha shell. These bugs do indeed look like a little black shell with their hardened pronotum, scutellum and rounded body.

Conchuela Bug
Chlorochroa ligata
Photographed on Common Mullein
San Juan Island, WA August 17, 2019

In case bugs don’t interest you, perhaps the Hairy Woodpecker on a Mullein plant will. I’ve been enjoying watching these birds rock the Mullein back and forth like a clock pendulum, pecking away at the thousands of seeds held in a single flower head. https://youtu.be/U6lTDcHefz8

References:

https://bugguide.net/node/view/22454

Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis)

I’ve been stuck in the house all week with the flu…a BAD case of the flu. You don’t want it! Trust me. So, what does the very bored, sniffling, coughing entomologist do to pass the time when she’s sick? Why play with bugs of course!

My honey brought me this from the back deck…(such a thoughtful man!). fullsizeoutput_184b.jpeg

I wonder if he knew that had he not been more careful, our house could have been filled with “le pew de le bug,” a very unpleasant odor! While I probably wouldn’t have suffered (since I’m all stopped up), he certainly would have noticed.

So, what is this bug? Well, it’s not a “bug,” it’s an INSECT. You know….6 legs, chitinous exoskeleton, antennae, three main body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen).  More specifically, THIS INSECT is a Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis).  It is classified in the order Hemiptera, family Coreidae (Leaf-footed Bugs and Squash Bugs).

No….please don’t take that literally.  I’m certain this fella (or femme) would not like to be “squashed!”  I don’t advocate squashing any insect.  They’re ALL interesting…in one way or another.

The Coreidae or Squash Bugs are medium to large in size.  They are usually brownish colored.  This one has what I would describe as the beautiful color, Bronze! Please also note the leaf-like hind tibia, a feature characteristic of some species in this particular family. img_1869-2

What does it eat? It feeds on vegetation.  Check out the very long, piercing Rostrum or Proboscis tucked carefully along the underside of this one’s body.  western-conifer-seed-bug-leptoglossus-occidentalis

The Rostrum is used like a straw to suck the juices from conifers including Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta).  Other species are vegetable pests.  Hence the “Squash Bug” moniker.  It also has the characteristic SCENT GLANDS that will secrete the particularly stinky odor if you poke it too much when you are trying to get it to pose for a picture!  “Le pew de le bug!”

 

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    "BUGGING" YOU FROM FRIDAY HARBOR!

    I love beetles and keep bees! In my free time, I enjoy photography (mostly bugs) and documenting insect species found on San Juan Island. I have limited availability for local, onsite beekeeping consultation and hive inspection, honey bee removal/swarm collection as well as phone/skype consultation. Contact me at cynthiabrast@icloud.com Member Washington State Beekeepers Association

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