Bug of the Month – Feb 2009, eating habits?
Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 4:34 PM
Hi, I live in Phoenix, AZ and my kids and I were in our backyard and noticed these bugs my son refered to as “lobster bugs”. We came inside and found your site. Thanks for the science lesson! I was wondering if these plant bugs opened the pomagranate or did they find them and begin to eat them? Is this their plant of choice or will any do?
The insects in your photos are mating Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs, probably Leptoglossus zonatus as depicted on BugGuide. We often see this species on ripe pomegranates in Elyria Canyon Park in the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles. The adult insects are also attracted to our tomatoes. These insects have sucking mouth parts rather than chewing mouth parts. The Leaf Footed Bugs use their sucking mouth parts to pierce the skin and suck the juices from the plants. Enzymes that the insects release create bruise-like irregularities in the fruit. The ripe pomegranates split their skins on their own.