Random Insect: Dirt-colored seed bug

Dirt-colored seed bug (family Rhyparochromidae, possibly Pseudopachybrachius basalis), photographed 09/19/2010 near Palmyra Michigan.

This little bugger initially confused me with its raptorial front legs.  “Raptorial” refers to enlarged femurs that are typically used to capture insect prey.  Praying mantises and assassin bugs are perhaps the best known examples.  My initial thought was that this was an assassin bug (family Reduviidae) but the overall morphology and lack of a restricted “neck” made me cautious.

Dirt-colored seed bug (family Rhyparochromidae, possibly Pseudopachybrachius basalis), photographed 09/19/2010 near Palmyra Michigan.

After some research I was reminded that members of the superfamily Lygaeoidea can also have enlarged front femurs.

Dirt-colored seed bug (family Rhyparochromidae, possibly Pseudopachybrachius basalis), photographed 09/19/2010 near Palmyra Michigan.

After some more research, I determined this insect is a member of the Rhyparochromidae, possibly Pseudopachybrachius basalis. If my identification is correct, they may be most common in association with panicgrass (Panicum sp., Poaceae).  Although the front legs suggest they may be predatory, they actually feed on mature seeds.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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