Subject: really bizarre bug found on hibiscus in PA
Location: Mercersburg, PA
August 28, 2012 10:32 pm
A friend posted the attached photo on Google+, and peaked my curiosity. I can’t track this insect down – know what it is?
Signature: BJ Denenberg
This is a True Bug nymph in the suborder Heteroptera. This photo is getting to be a little too far removed from its origin to make us comfortable. Since you did not actually take the photo, we are assuming you have permission from your friend to submit it to our site. If this insect was actually photographed on a hibiscus in Pennsylvania, then we suspect that it is an exotic import from some overseas nursery. We do not believe this insect is native to North America. It should be reported to local authorities. If exotic Hemipterans become established in a new location, they can become especially troublesome.
Dear Daniel –
Thank you so much for that quick reply. Actually, I told my online friend that I would research the bug for her, but didn’t specifically get permission to submit the photo to you. I spent about an hour trying to identify it myself, and finally gave up and contacted you. I’m guessing she will be okay with it, but I will confirm. Please don’t re-post the photo until I am sure that she grants permission for that.
I will pass on your response to her immediately, and follow up with you. Thanks very much for getting back to me so quickly!
We already posted the photo. If she wants it removed, let us know. She can also provide a comment to the posting indicating firsthand observations. We would really like to identify this Hemipteran which we suspect is an invasive exotic species. Since it is immature, correct identification may be more difficult without a country of origin.
Eric Eaton Responds
That is the nymph of a rhopalid (family Rhopalidae), most likely Niesthrea louisianica. Not recorded for Pennsylvania in Bugguide.net, however:
Still, the range information suggests it should occur there. Great image!
Thanks for correcting our error Eric.
Here is the species page from BugGuide.