Random Insect: Western conifer seed bug

Western confifer seed bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae: Leptoglossus occidentalis) photographed 09/28/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

This morning I was greeted by a leaf-footed bug (family Coreidae) clinging to the side of my garage.  Naturally I grabbed my camera to photograph it, and later identified it as a western conifer seed bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae: Leptoglossus occidentalis).

Western confifer seed bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae: Leptoglossus occidentalis) photographed 09/28/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

The white zig-zag pattern on the hemelytra (forewings) is diagnostic for this genus.

Western confifer seed bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae: Leptoglossus occidentalis) photographed 09/28/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

As the common family name suggests, leaf-footed bugs often exhibit a “leaf” shape on their rear tibiae.  Equal length of the “leaves” on the upper and lower surfaces on the hind tibeae are indicative of this species within the genus.  I was surprised to learn this was a western conifer seed bug, since Michigan can hardly be considered “western.”  Apparently, however, this species has been migrating eastward for decades since its discovery west of the Rocky Mountains.

Western confifer seed bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae: Leptoglossus occidentalis) photographed 09/28/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

These bugs use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on the juices of pines, spruces, hemlocks, and firs, of which I have several on my property.  I suspect the individual shown here will soon be fed upon by a parasitoid wasp or fly.  The white spot on its head doesn’t belong there.  I think it’s probably an egg of one such parasitoid.  If I’m correct, then upon hatching the young wasp or fly will burrow into the bug’s body to eat it alive from the inside out.

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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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