I bandy around the word ‘bug’ a fair bit, as a general insect and spider term (forgive me entomologists) but in reality I know the name, bug, only truly belongs to the True Bugs. This is order Hemiptera and the thing that defines them is their rigid sucking mouth parts that are used to extract juices from plants or other creatures. Other insects can have long probiscus such as bees, butterflies and beetles, but these are retractable. A True Bug’s mouth parts may be tucked away but cannot be retracted.
For the April Bug-a-log I decided to attack the true bug, shield bug, family (and one attacked me). They may also, far less nobly, be called stink bugs, because of their ability to squirt foul-smelling liquid. My reports on shield bugs are necessarily incomplete as I didn’t find the nymph forms (except for Bronze Orange Bug). Even if I did, unless I saw the young bugs with the adults I probably wouldn’t be able to give a definitive id. Nymph forms can look very different from the adults and even different stages (instars) of the nymph often look quite different to each other. I saw the shield bug nymph (pictured) on our lemonade tree but I have no idea what, if any, of the shield bugs listed it belongs to. Another lesson to be learned this month was that while single observations don’t lie they don’t tell the whole truth. The Glossy Shield Bug, The Gum tree shield Bug and the Australasian Green Shield Bug, I saw, either exhibited non-typical behaviour or were on non-typical host plants. But I have said it before I love that insect identification and behaviour is full of surprises and unknowns. Also it possibly tells me that bugs that a very rare in my yard probably don’t have a good food source (such as host plant) and don’t breed – they are only casual visitors.
The Dingy part of my Bug-a-log for April is far from dingy – it is the:
Like the shield bugs I haven’t got the complete story of the Dingy Butterfly as I haven’t observed the caterpillar. I must confess I was excited when I first shot this photo. ‘Great !, I thought this is an Orchard Butterfly (Papilio aegeus) and I have loads of photos of the P.aegeus caterpillar. Finally I can give a complete Bug-a-log story. But no, alas I realised on looking at my photo that this was the smaller Dingy Swallowtail. And I still haven’t managed to capture a decent photo of the Orchard Butterfly.
I have also updated the Humped Silver Orb-weaver Spider entry this week due to recent findings of more of these spiders.