Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Chameleon bug

I took this portrait of a Green Shieldbug during a light shower today. There are three Green Shieldbugs feeding on the spurge, one of them, is the brightest green:
Compare with one I found at the end of March:
A brown, pinkish-purple individual. It is hard to believe they are the same species, but this colour change, which can happens in a few days, is typical of Green Shieldbugs. There is a single generation per year, with green adults emerging at the end of the summer. In November, the Green Shieldbug turns a dark bronze brown, which merges it better with its surroundings during overwintering. Come spring, adults emerge from their overwintering sites and climb over trees and bushes to feed, mate and lay eggs, and they go back to green again. A true chameleon bug!

7 comments:

Ray said...

Hairy Shieldbugs (Dolycoris baccarum) also go through a similar, though less dramatic, winter colour change.

Phil said...

It's interesting that sap-sucking insects feed on Euphorbia species - I'd always assumed that the latex in their tissues was a deterrent to such insects but recently I've seen some big aphid infestations on Euphorbia. Maybe their stylets avoid the laticifers and just penetrate the phloem......

Africa Gómez said...

Thank you Ray for the comment. You do have some amazing shots in Flickr!
Phil, it is curious indeed. I have a very poor photo in which the mouthparts inserted in the spurge stem are visible. And that particular spurge is heavily infested with aphids as well.

lotusleaf said...

Fascinating! I have seen these in my garden too, but never realized that it is the same one in a different guise!

Rob said...

A great rainy-day photo - I like the way the water drops on the bug act as little lenses.

Ray said...

Every Green Shieldbug that I saw today was in copula. It must be Spring!

Regarding colour changing shieldbugs: Hawthorn Shieldbugs can colour-change to red for autumn. I've only seen it once: http://flic.kr/p/8MFfES , but my favourite bug photographer Rachel Scopes found a far better example: http://flic.kr/p/48KjZe

Africa Gómez said...

Thank you Rob, I not often dare to take the camera out in the rain. I am glad I did.
Ray, Rachel's is an amazing shot, but yours has an amazing yellow/red combination, beautiful! I have checked my photos of Hawthorn Shieldbug and I have none later than 11th September, all mine are still red/green.