Plant-Insect Interaction: Jagged ambush bugs on goldenrod

Jagged ambush bug (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Phymata sp.) on a goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae). Photographed 09/02/2012 at Waterloo State Recreation Area, Michigan.

A few weeks ago the goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae) started to bloom here in southeast Michigan. Goldenrod is insect-pollinated not wind-pollinated, and therefore not an allergen as many people think. This is evidenced by the sheer number of insects these plants attract. I love these plants because they host so many interesting insects, both pollinators and the predators that feed on them.

While visiting nearby Waterloo State Recreation Area near Chelsea, Michigan, I spent some time examining a few of the goldenrod plants I found. As is often the case, I found a number of jagged ambush bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Phymata sp.) hiding among the flowers.

Jagged ambush bug (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Phymata sp.) on a goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae). Photographed 09/02/2012 at Waterloo State Recreation Area, Michigan.

These ambush predators sit in wait on particular plants until insect pollinators come close enough to capture. They use their raptorial front legs to grab their prey and hold it securely while they suck their juices (true bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and don’t chew).

Jagged ambush bugs are really cool to observe and are one of my favorites. In the past I’ve photographed members of this genus capturing prey as well as mating.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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