Two to Tango
Location: near Athens GA USA
June 17, 2011 1:50 pm
Greetings, who are these two on the latch of the gate fence in northeastern Georgia, USA? Cheers!
Signature: Karen

Spined Soldier Bug nymph eats Caterpillar

Hi Karen,
Both individuals in your photograph are immature insects.  The predator is one of the Predatory Stink Bugs in the subfamily Asopinae, and we believe based on this image on BugGuide, that it is most likely in the genus
Podisus, though nymphs are often difficult to accurately identify.  As you can see from the information page on the genus Podisus on BugGuide, there are both light and dark forms of the nymphs, and yours appears to be a light nymph.  We believe the caterpillar is a Cutworm, a caterpillar of an Owlet Moth.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you, and glad to hear it was a beneficial (possibly a spined soldier bug I suppose). Here’s a similar picture of predator + caterpillar that I found afterreading your email: ; and then there are the beneficial assassin bugs:
It has been difficult in the garden for me to tell a beneficial from adestructive stinkbug at times, but tonight I saw the ‘black streak on winged membrane’  in a pic of the soldiered spine, which was helpful to learn ( ). I carry a magnifying glass in my garden bag and have my phone with Web access too; but sometimes, esp. in 90+ degrees, I simply capture whatever it is and try to look it up later to avoid squashing a beneficial anything. Eggs are difficult to discern, of course.
Tonight I noticed a primary hindrance to learning to ID bugs  is me not understanding what the description refers to, which will require more study than I have time for right now. But here’s the example, “single-spined humeral angle” (and I even know what a human humerus is, <smile>): at , there is this: “Adult predatory stink bug, Podisus maculiventris (Say). Not only is this predatory stink bug much smaller than Alcaeorrhynchus grandis (Dallas), but notice the single-spined humeral angle.”
Must close. Thanks again for the educational side trip. I have other bug pics that I’ll send sometime for your collections.
Best wishes,

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Location: Georgia

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