Location: Thousand Oaks, California
December 5, 2010 4:39 pm
I’m 93.62% sure this is a milkweed bug. What caught my eye was how the pattern looked just like a carved Tiki. Thought you’d enjoy the image.
This insect, Pyrrhocoris apterus, is commonly called the Firebug and it is a Red Bug, not a Milkweed Bug. It is a European species and you can read about it on British Bugs. It has recently been reported from Utah on BugGuide, but your letter is the first indication we have that this European import has been found in California.
Adriano provides a correction
Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. After a bit of deeper searching, prompted by your reply, I think the bug is actually Scantius aegyptius – still in the family Pyrrhocoridae. Pyrrhocoris apterus and Scantius aegyptius are extremely similar. The most telling mark, I think, is that Pyrrhocoris apterus has an additional black spot on either side of the large triangular marking where in Scantius aegyptius they are missing.
Also, aegyptius is actually found in nearby Los Angeles County, according to CISR:
“Scantius aegyptius, an old world pyrrhocorid bug, native to the eastern Mediterranean region, was documented for the first time in North America in Orange County during June of 2009”.
So, this may be the first report from Ventura County. I’ll send a note of it to CISR.
Thanks so much for your help! And thanks for encouraging insect awareness!
All my best!
Thanks for the correction Adriano.