Monday, July 31, 2017

Leaf-footed Bug Visitor

My bug visitor was unusually shaped, like a slender, upside-down bell, with muscular-looking, long, rear legs. It was nearly monochrome dark. From preliminary research and images, I settled on it being a leaf-footed bug.

From “Leaf-Footed Bugs, Family Coreidae”—“Many members of this family have noticeable leaf-like extensions on their hind tibia, and this is the reason for their common name.” Another good preliminary resource is the Insect Identification site for “Leaf-Footed Bug - (Acanthocephala spp.)”.

A few days ago (about 8 AM), the intriguing bug was on a porch column, unmoving. I left it alone, but took several pictures. After about an hour, I returned, toting my camera and masking tape-backed measuring stick, to see if it was still there. The bug had moved. I aligned the ruler near it and pressed; took a couple of shots. Bug stayed put.

I decided to return after the house shadow would fall across the column for better pictures (around 3 PM). As I set some blank background nearby, the bug started to move! Upward! Out of range of my backdrop! Aha! I would just RECORD it for a little while! Then it froze. I took more pix, then left. About an hour afterward, I looked to see it had left.

Later, for help in identifying the bug, I posted the ruler-accompanied bug picture to my LinkedIn feed, emailed someone who had blogged about a similar-looking bug, and scoured big-picture bug sites. By poring SLOWLY over the big picture sites, I narrowed down my search. It helped to have an idea of the bug I wanted to ID. Good jumping off (ha) sites:
I kept encountering the term “true bug”. From ASU School of Life Sciences site:
The key difference between true bugs and other insects is their mouth parts. … true bugs have specialized mouth parts used to suck juices. … The proboscis of a true bug is not retractable. Insects with movable mouthparts allow them to move food from the source to their mouth. The proboscis of a true bug is more rigid and cannot be rolled up.
Poring more into Google site and image searches, I found several sites that showed bugs with strong resemblances to my visitor.
Although "What’s That Bug" did not include the species name declivis, I found declivis and three other species names (femorata, terminalis, thomasi) in the Bugguide taxonomy tab. Best match for images is delivis.

*** View my video of the leaf-footed bug that was on my porch column, leaving around mid-day. Includes motion footage, a still of it with accompanying measuring stick for size reference. Additional stills capture a seeming heel click and shadow-illusion pushups. Check out the carapace. As it turns out, I’ve been bugged a long time ago, over the same type of bug … in 2005, when I helped a friend move. I have included some of those stills also.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cicada Wasp N Cicada a Month Apart

The last few weeks while taking daily walks and pix, we've spotted some unusual buggy items that warranted closeups. (I’m getting better about carrying and whipping out a measuring stick so I can scale the objects.) My pixstrip with composites shows three related objects—cicada wasp (dead), cicada exoskeleton (aka "exuvia"), and cicada (dead), approximately scaled with my trusty 6” rule.

Some LinkedIn connections IDed the first bug as a cicada wasp (from June 12). Cicada wasp? It’s a wasp that zeros in on cicadas as they emerge from their hibernation. Note that the underside of the image pair shows the stinger. I created a composite with pastes of measuring stick segments and the camera pouch. I was amazed at the over-two-inch wingspan. According to "The Texas-sized cicada killer", the females have the stingers and are docile, and males don't have stingers but are aggressive.

The second image section (July 11) shows a cicada exuvia that hung vertically from a curb. You can see a hollow inside where the insect emerged from. For the image, I used masking tape to affix the measuring stick near the body length to get a sense of scale.

8/10/17, WRT to exuvia/exuviae—from Steve Schwartzman of Portraits of Wildflowers
from what I can tell, entomologists normally use the plural exuviae. The singular would indeed be exuvia, but entomologists seem not to use that form. While exuviae is formally a plural, it carries something of a singular force as a set of sloughed-off parts.

The third image section (July 12) shows the topside and bottom side of a cicada. I had help from additional LinkedIn connections in IDing it. Two commenters provided the same wikipedia link (endorsement!), which conveniently includes an audio link near the picture. In the last few weeks I sure have heard a lot of the same sounds. View the following YouTube videos for closeup motions and sounds.
View videos of cicadas starting out as muddy-looking bugs. Watch them detach from their exoskeletons and emerge as elegant, transparent-winged cicadas—
The following three videos show closeups of cicada wasps and their distinctive yellow markings. Two of the videos show wasps hauling their much larger prey.
Past Articles about Cicadas

Last year, I had written a couple of articles about cicadas, but was more focused on the exoskeletons than the wasp predator or winged insects. Both exoskeletons in those images had wound up on the same porch column at different times. Incidentally, one set of images includes wasps, but they seem to be maybe curious paper wasps buzzing at the empty shell.
Lots of thanks to LinkedIn people who helped ID my pictures in my feed and also commented! If you're a LinkedIn member, you can visit the following topics and images:

Cicada articles:

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