Carnivorous Orange Beetle
Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 6:37 PM
My wife spotted this pair in the backyard. I don’t know the identity of either bug, but found the scene quite interesting. I’m just curious what was sucking the life out of what.
We located a nearly identical image on BugGuide, except that three Predatory Stink Bugs in the genus Apateticus are feeding on a Gypsy Moth Caterpillar. Sadly, BugGuide does not provide any information on the genus and a nymph or immature insect, like the one in your photo, is often quite difficult to identify to the species level. We can tell you that the Gypsy Moth Caterpillar, Lymantria dispar, is an introduced pest species. BugGuide has this to say about the range of the Gypsy Moth: “Native to Eurasia, introduced to North America at Boston, Massachusetts circa 1869 and has been spreading ever since ( US Forest Service ). Michigan, Pennsylvania, and all states to the north and east of these. Also much of Wisconsin. Also the northern parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Most of West Virginia is included in the insect’s range, as well as parts of Virginia and North Carolina. The United States Forest Service estimates the moth’s range is spreading south and west at a rate of about 21 kilometers per year. In Canada, the Gypsy Moth is present in British Columbia and in much of eastern Canada. ” BugGuide has the following comments with regards to food, life cycle and general remarks: “Food Many hardwood species. A very partial list includes Red Oak, Cherries, Willows, Hickories, and Pines. Over 500 spp. of plants are known hosts.
Life Cycle In late summer females lay up to 1,000 eggs per egg mass. The eggs overwinter and hatch in the Spring. Larvae feed heavily and do considerable damage to forests. Pupation typically occurs in mid-Summer.
Remarks Etienne Leopold Trouvelot, an amateur entomologist, brought Gypsy Moths into the United States to see if they could be successfully reared for silk culture. Around 1869 some of Trouvelot’s charges escaped from his home near Boston. Realizing the potential magnitude of the problem, he reported the escape but no action was taken until the infestation grew serious several years later. Trouvelot later became interested in astronomy and astronomical illustration, and eventually became a Harvard professor of Astronomy. ”