Beatle type bug found on Prickly Pear Cactus – Dallas, Texas
Location: Dallas, Texas
September 1, 2010 8:42 am
I found these bugs on my Prickly Pear Cactus in Dallas, Texas.
I have not seen them before and am curious what they are and what their purpose is. I.E. do they eat insects or my cactus?
My pictures are not very clear, but hopefully good enough for identification.
Hi Sincerely, C,
These are Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae, and the common name, which uses an individualized name based on the family name, is Cactus Coreid. The species is Chelinidea vittiger, and according to BugGuide: “In Australia, over 30,000,000 acres of pasture land were rendered useless because of dense stands of exotic prickly pear cacti. One of the native American cactus insects that showed early promise as a control agent was the coreid bug, Chelinidea vittiger Uhler. DeVol and Goeden (1973) discussed the value of this species in biological weed control and reported that it was ineffective in controlling prickly pears in Australia and Santa Cruz Island, California. In most areas of North America prickly pears are not a problem because a complex of insects keeps them under control. Chelinidea vittiger is considered a minor component of that complex. In Florida and the other southeastern states, the only Chelinidea present is C. vittiger aequoris McAtee.” We can easily imagine a biological warfare experiment gone awry, that is not quite as horrific as one of our favorite movies by Guillermo del Toro called Mimic, where Cactus Coreid Bugs are infected with a virus (many Hemipterans carry viruses) to kill the cactus in Australia, and in a bizarre twist of alien exotic insects, the infected Cactus Coreids reenter the American West and threaten to wipe out the native population of cactus. Your Cactus Coreids are immature nymphs without wings. Adult Cactus Coreids, in addition to being pictured on BugGuide, are brown winged insects with white veins and an amber-orange abdomen that protrudes from the sides of the wings. They have a white stripe down the center of the dorsal surface of the head.