Posts Tagged: Leptoglossus clypealis
It's easily missed because it's only a fraction of an inch long.
But the color--a brilliant red--is right there. It's a little difficult to see on a red pomegranate, but it's there.
What's there? The nymph of a leaffooted bug (Leptoglossus clypealis).
The adults, or seed feeders, do what bugs do--eat and mate, mate and eat, and then eat and mate some more. They lay eggs that hatch into little red nymphs. The nymphs don't look at all like their parents, which are brown with a white zigzag across the back. Neither do the nymphs have flattened, leaflike tibias.
These red nymphs, however, probably don't get disturbed much. The color, red, is a warning color or aposematism, that is, it warns predators that "I'm dangerous," "I'm toxic," "I'm bitter-tasting" and "If you eat me, you'll be sorry." It's a defense mechanism found throughout the animal world.
Check out the warning coloration in ladybugs (aka lady beetles), scarlet lily beetles, redback spiders, red palm mites, chiggers, red velvet ants or red velvet wasps, milkweed bug nymphs and black widow spiders (the blood-red hourglass on its back).
Then look at the oh-so-tiny nymphs of the leaffooted bug.
Red as a sparkling ruby.
Red nymph of leaffooted bug, Leptoglossus clypealis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Leaffooted bugs, adults and nymphs, share a pomegranate. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When you first see the leaffooted bug, you know immediately how it got its name.
The appendages on its feet look like leaves!
This morning we saw one in our catmint (Nepeta) patch. It crawled beneath the tiny leaves, sharing space with honey bees, European wool carder bees, butterflies and assorted spiders.
Tonight scores of them stormed our pomegranate tree. In fact, they made the immature fruit their kitchen, living room and bedroom.
Although the leaffooted bug (Leptoglossus clypealis) is a pest of pistachios and almonds, we've never seen it on our pomegranate tree until today. Our tree, planted in 1927--back when Herbert Hoover was the U.S. president--has few pests. One year white flies attacked it mercilessly. Tonight leaffooted bugs claimed squatters' rights.
The adult bug is about an inch long with a white or yellow zigzag across its back. Shades of Zorro! Its most distinctive feature, however, are the leaflike appendages on its feet.
Back in 2009, integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, co-authored UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines on the leaffooted bug as it pertains to almonds. Zalom and his colleagues called attention to their needlelike mouthparts. The adults feed on young nuts "before the shell hardens." And after the nut is developed, "leaffooted bug feeding can still cause black spots on the kernel or wrinkled, misshapen nutmeats."
As for our pomegranate tree, we're not sure how well these leaffooted bugs can probe the tough, leathery fruit.
We open the pomegranates with a serrated knife...
Close-up of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Leaffooted bugs making pomegranates their kitchen, living room and bedroom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Beady eyes, colorful antennae and appendages on its feet that look like leaves. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)