Mon, May 4, 2009 at 4:54 AM
Please can you help identify this bug. As someone who has an allergy to wasp stings I would very much like to know if it can sting. Photos taken 3rd May 2009 in a garden in Luanda, Angola
Luanda, Angola, West Africa
Dear Andy Mac,
This is a True Bug in the order Hemiptera. While many True Bugs will bite humans, including Assassin Bugs, Giant Water Bugs, Bed Bugs and others, and some are even vectors for disease like Cone-Nosed Bugs or Kissing Bugs that can carry Chagas’ Disease, your Hemipteran is a benign plant feeding species, possibly in the Seed Bug Family Lygaeidae, or maybe the Red Bug Family Pyrrhocoridae.
Many thanks for your rapid and informative response. I have always been led to believe that creatures with black and yellow colouring are usually not friendly.
Hi again Andy,
Warning coloration is often indicative of danger, but more often it is indicative of “don’t eat me because I don’t taste too good.” Milkweed Bugs, which your specimen resembles, feed on milkweed and the compounds in milkweed result in a foul taste to many predators. Your specimen may be a type of Milkweed Bug in the Seed Bug family Lygaeidae.
Update: Wed, 6 May 2009 17:36:40 -0700 (PDT)
I think the “true bug from Angola” is likely some kind of milkweed bug in the Lygaeidae, though I can’t be absolutely certain.