Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 3:58 PM
I was hoping you can help me identify this insect. I know it belongs to the true bug or Hemiptera group.
They are abundant in a small area of tall grasses and spiny bushes near Ciudad Guzman, in the Mexican state of Jalisco, within sight of the Zapotlan lake. Although they are most common during the warm season, this one I photographed during winter.
There seem to be several species with different markings on their wings and body. This one is rather dull colored (except for the metallic blue section between the wings, which Im afraid didnt get too well represented in the photos), there are others with bright white, black and orange spots. Some are much bigger than this one.
They usually hide underneath leaves or spiny branches, and if they see you look at them, they move so that they remain hidden. If handled for too long, they shoot a red-orange or brown liquid that smells like a marker and is seemingly absorbed by skin within seconds. I haven´t felt any kind of effect after being shot with this fluid.
They fly, but not often. They seem to be fond of spiny bushes and acacia, but I’ve also found them in pine trees, sometimes in groups. I’ve seen some eaten from the inside by fungi.
I hope this information is useful.
Near Zapotlan lake, Jalisco, Mexico
Dear Dragonfly Man,
This is a Giant Mesquite Bug, Thasus acutangulus. The winged adults are considerably less colorful than the wingless nymphs, which are black, orange and white as you describe. The thorny shrub you describe is probably mesquite, the favored food plant.