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Orange and black bug with white spots
Location: Perth, Western Australia
November 7, 2010 3:57 am
I’ve been seeing these bugs around for the last several years but neither I nor anybody I know has any idea what they are. I remember back before around 2000 I’d never seen one, then I started seeing them everywhere. Nowadays they’re pretty rare, again.
In any case, the photos are the best description I can give. They’re skittish little things, that act a bit like ants.
I live in Perth, in Western Australia. That’s really all the information I can give on them. Any ideas? And thanks.
Signature: Tom L.

Red Banded Seed Eating Bug

Hi Tom,
This appears to be a Seed Bug in the family Lygaeidae and it bears an uncanny resemblance to insects in the genus
Lygaeus that are found in North America and that are pictured on BugGuide. Since the members of the genus Lygaeus are known as Milkweed Bugs, we tried to search the Brisbane Insect Website for matching images of Milkweed Bugs, and though there are several, they are not your insect.  We hope we are eventually able to provide you with a definite identification.

Identification Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Tom:
It looks like a Red-banded Seed-eating Bug, Melanerythrus mactans (Lygaeidae: Lygaeinae). As far as I can tell there are four other Melanerythrus species in Australia, but M. mactans is the only one that occurs in the Perth area. It ranges throughout Australia, except Tasmania, as well as parts of Indonesia, Fiji and Western Samoa. I suspect that at least some of the distribution outside of Australia can be attributed to accidental introductions. According to the Australian Faunal Directory the species is arboreal, gregarious and partial to pecans.  Regards.
Karl

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6 Responses to Red BAnded Seed Eating Bug from Australia

  1. Tom_L says:

    Hey there, there’s another thing I remembered after talking to someone about it. It’s a behavioural thing.
    These bugs generally travel in pairs, though not in the images I sent in. There’s this really strange thing they tend to do, though. They like… Link, I guess. They move around with one bug kind of connected to the back of the other bug and move around as a joint pair. It’s kind of bizarre to see.
    I’ll go out again later today and see if I can snap some photos of it, and I’ll put them up here.

  2. Tom_L says:

    A little late, but here are those photos I promised.
    http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/2123/dsc00225.jpg
    http://img837.imageshack.us/img837/2820/dsc00226b.jpg
    They’re kinda blurry because the bugs run pretty damn fast once you get near them. I’m not sure if they physically link or just stay very close together, but when they do this they walk around as though they’re one bug. It’s strange to see.
    Well, that’s about it.

    Thanks for the ID, Karl.

  3. kkroeker says:

    Hi Tom: Your bugs are linked for mating. Sex is often a very long process in the insect world and they can’t always afford to be sedentary until they are done. Hence, linked butterflies and dragonflies will fly and bugs will run. Here is another link to a photo similar to yours. Regards. Karl.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildernesscam/3078062109/

  4. Adam says:

    How do I get rid of these bugs from my garden?

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