STINK BUG STORY FROM MY GARDEN

in Fascinating Insects3 months ago

The green shield bug on the following photograph ...

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... is the Nezara viridula, a very common species that regularly appears around my house ...

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... and on this occasion, in May 2020 ...

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... was photographed on the Yucca plant in the yard.

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This plant with beautiful hanging flowers is native to America, South, Central and North ... but as an ornamental plant is widespread all around the world, and is quite popular in this area ... where it grows like some self seeding plant, without the need for any kind of care and attention ... in fact I often forget for years that this yucca in front of my house is here ...

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... and before that sunny day last year ...

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... I never noticed that it attracts so many of these green stink bugs.

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Here you can see a pair of adults mating ...

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... and here ...

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... around this fallen flower ...

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... a group of nymphs ...

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... minuscule juvenile versions that look considerably different.

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These are second instar nymphs ... which means they have already gone through one molting ... and have changed their size, and even their appearance, although only slightly ...

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... the nymphs will go through more molting and changes on their way to adulthood ...

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... but all the photographs in this post were taken on just one sunny afternoon, so you can't see those third, fourth and fifth instar nymphs ... because this is about one short moment frozen in time, and the larger, more developed nymph entered the scene some weeks later.

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While exploring the Yucca's lower part, in the dense growth of sword - like, resilient leaves with thorny tops ...

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... I found this interesting cluster of eggs ...

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... they were hanging from the lower part of the leaf like some decorative chandelier ...

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... these are the eggs of some Lacewing species. This thorny foliage it's a great hiding place ...

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... and the wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) can enjoy some unusually quiet moments here, where my cats can't harass them.

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The snails like to hide even deeper ... where they can find not only peace, but also deep shade ... and a bit of humidity during the long, sunny day.

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Among quite a few ordinary houseflies (Musca domestica) ...

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... and these pretty large ...

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... and very common blue bottle flies (Calliphora vomitoria) ...

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... I noticed a less common species ... that I never saw before ...

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... it looked kind of extravagant when compared to those ordinary species that can be always seen and heard buzzing around the house and garden.

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I found out only today, through searching the Internet, that this is the Trichopoda pennipes ... and also today, I learned about an interesting connection between these flies and the green shield bugs. Back then in May 2020 I thought that the presence of one single fly of that species must be accidental ... maybe was there for the nectar, although I didn't saw her feeding on flowers ... maybe was just passing by and that's all ... but I wasn't completely convinced that this is the case, because it looked like the fly was exploring or patrolling its territory, something like that ... it was kind of clear that some interesting behavior is going on, but I couldn't figure out what it is about ...

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... and then today ... early in the morning ... I read the Wikipedia article about the Trichopoda pennipes and the truth was revealed to me :)

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Do you see the small white particles on this green shield bug? You can see four of those little things on this Nezara viridula.

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Well, these are the eggs of Trichopoda pennipes. The female lays several eggs on the green shield bug. When the larva comes out of the small egg attached to the bug, it proceeds to burrow into the host, where it will continue to feed on the shield bug tissue, usually without damaging the vital organs, so the bug is alive the whole time. When it grows enough and is ready to pupate, the larva comes out of the exhausted, damaged bug and falls to the ground where it will undergo the metamorphosis.

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So now, from today's prospective, after learning this story ... that day in 2020 looks even more interesting.

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I photographed many green stink bugs on that occasion ...

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... and some of these shots can look a bit unnecessary ...

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... but every moment is slightly different ... and slightly different shots often reveal slightly different details ...

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... here you can take a good look at the feeding apparatus of this species, ad example ...

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... and here you can see the biggest group of adults I found that day ...

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... so, I just couldn't leave these photographs out of the post.

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This adult was crawling across the fallen flower that was used as a shelter for a bunch of small nymphs ... some ant entered the scene on this shot ...

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... this was the only occasion with nymphs and the adult in the frame, where you can clearly see the difference in color and size between the two ...

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... so I followed the situation with the camera for a while ...

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... and took a few more slightly unnecessary shots.

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The small, recently planted peach tree was growing nearby ...

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... a colony of aphids was situated there ...

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... and pavements ants ware crawling around the little pests ...

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... collecting the honey dew and providing protection.

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A bit later I found a few pavement ants high on the Yucca ...

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... they were enjoying the plant's sap directly on the spot that I accidentally break while photographing, so the liquid was coming out of the fresh wound.

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Usually the ants can get this kind of food only through aphids, that suck the sap and then excrete some quantity in the form of honey dew, when stimulated by the ant's antennae.

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This small, juvenile spider of some Araneidae species ... has built the web pretty high on the plant, between the flowers ... I took this shot with the spider just resting on his web ... and then ...

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... an hour or so later ... the spider was feeding on some small insect.

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This very different spider ... from the Philodromidae family ...

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... probably the Philodromus rufus, but I'm not completely sure ... was slowly crawling up and down the plant's stem, underneath the flowers ...

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... and at one point, when he reached a brown colored area among all that green ... the spider stopped there, in the characteristic ambush pose.

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Small jumping spiders with cute faces and big eyes ...

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... were energetically paroling the long leaves ...

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... I don't know the name of this species ...

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... that regularly appears in my garden ... I searched but didn't found.

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These green, well camouflaged planthoppers from the Issidae family were also jumping around.

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The common earwig (Forficula auricularia) ...

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... was resting in deep shade, on the leaf near the bottom of the plant ...

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... near the "pole" that carries the flowers and grows from the center, surrounded by dense foliage.

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I photographed most of this stuff with the snap - on macro lens ... and when I had to take some wider shots, to show the entire plant and the surroundings, I was sometimes to lazy to unmount the macro equipment ... here you can see how this kind of shot looks through that lens adapter for macro.

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This is an ordinary shot, taken when I finally put away the macro stuff.

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And now ... with these last few shots

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... with some more bugs & flowers ...

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... is time to end the stink bug story from my garden ... as always in these posts on HIVE, the photographs are my work - THE END.

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Hi borjan,

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Thank you :)

@tipu curate :)

What a story @borjan! Excellent. I am really impressed by the quality of your macro photos, the story, the interesting thing we learned now how those eggs on the bugs finally use the poor host...although those stink bugs are not my favourite and there are too many (my parents complain a lot as they are everywhere on plants, flowers and go into the house and you know, they stink) :D

Oh my, the hairy spiders are so cute, with those beautiful loving eyes 😍

Please hide better little lizard 🙏, the cats really like to hunt you.

The cluster of the eggs looks like a chandelier indeed 👌

There is a lot of action around the garden in spring :) a lot of fun too.

The yucca paradise. Have you ever tried eating the yucca blooms? They kind of taste like apples.

Never tried before ... can't wait to see those flowers again :) and eat some ... and make a foodie post about them.

You have to get them before they get too old. I used to harvest them right before they bloom. My species of yucca tasted like a mild apple but some other species taste more like asperagus or artichoke. https://honest-food.net/eating-yucca-flowers/

Cool :) I'll tell you how this one tastes when I try it.

Wonderful photography and nice shots! Absolutely beautiful pictures 👍😻

Thanks :)

Those are incredible natural insects capture photography.

Thanks :)

I know these green stinkers, they are like skunks from the insect world!
Once, by chance, I had to chew this with raspberries! I thought my mouth would burn out !!!

:D

some of the tiny insects look really beautiful and attractive ....

Very cool and extraordinary shot....

Thanks :)

I believe the plant with the white flowers is called "Christmas Bells" in English. They are very common here in Suriname. Life is all around if stop and focus a bit. Your garden is a refuge for lots of micro-life, and wow, some of your macro shots are incredible.

True, life comes in so many interesting shapes and colors.

Excellent photographic material my friend, all the photos are great. I find incredible the great diversity of organisms that you managed to photograph, in my garden is also very common to find the species nezara viridula. successes friend.

Thanks. :) It's good to have some biodiversity around the house, so there is always something to explore at hand.