Monday, June 15, 2009

Walking Tall

There is a reason this bug looks like it is walking on stilts, it is the Stilt Bug in the family of insects Berytidae in the order of True Bugs, Hemiptera. This one was photographed on Pink Yarrow. You can see its proboscis sampling the nectar. They are approximately a 1/2 inch or less in length, their long legs make them look much larger. They can vary greatly in coloration from reddish-brown, brown or all black. Each will have extremely long legs, elongated bodies, and four-segmented antennae which is clubbed at the tip. Not much is reported about their life cycle. It is presumed that eggs are laid on the plants or vegetation where they feed. The young larvae are much smaller than the adults and lighter in color. They will be found almost anywhere plants are found, gardens, roadsides, meadows, open fields, etc. Their diet varies by species. One species (Jalysus spinosis) is known to feed on tomatoes, corn and peaches causing significant damage to these crops. Still other species feed on aphids, scale insects, thrips, and mites which make them beneficial. Many just enjoy a little sweet nectar. The larvae probably feed solely on plant juices and small insects. Many species in this genus have a special cleft on their legs that allow them to grab hold of fuzzy textured plants.

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