What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What Beetle is this
Location: Cooma NSW Australia
October 11, 2015 5:08 pm
I found these beetles eating on all the buds of a plant in my garden this morning. I live in Cooma NSW (Snowy Mountains region). Hoping you can help.
Signature: Diedre Rees

Mating Seed Bugs

Mating Harlequin Bugs

Dear Diedre,
These are mating Seed Bugs in the family Lygaeidae, but we have not had any luck identifying their species.  We did find a matching image on My Australian Insects, but alas, it is unidentified there as well.  Perhaps one of our readers can steer us to a link with an identity.

Update:  Harlequin Bugs, Dindymus versicolor
Thanks to a comment from Matthew, we are able to provide some links to the Harlequin Bug.  According to the Atlas of Living Australia:  “Harlequin Bugs usually cluster in large numbers on fences, walls, wood heaps and tree trunks. Mating pairs face opposite directions, joined at the end of the abdomens; the larger female usually dictates the direction of movement. They feed on a variety of weeds and plants, often damaging fruits and vegetables.”  According to the blog, A Year in a Gippsland Garden:  “For anyone looking at these little bugs in the garden and wondering if they are a potential problem or not the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’  The Harlequin bug does not take great big obvious bites out of anything, it hides and sucks the life out tender stems (and fruit). Look for stem damage and wilting flower buds and fruit. In my garden I have observed them in greatest numbers on Callistemon, Australian native hibiscus, nasturtium, tomatoes, and hollyhocks. They have also been in numbers on sweetcorn, sunflowers, sage and roses.”

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Cooma, New South Wales, Australia

5 Responses to Mating Harlequin Bugs from Australia

  1. Matthew says:

    These are Dindymus versicolor, commonly called Harlequin Bugs. They’re quite common around eastern Australia in the spring and summer. Hope this helps!

  2. Malcolm Scott says:

    Hi,I grew up in Cooma in the 60’s. Saw these bugs all the time – they were very common. I thought the reason their bottoms were joined was because they were newly hatched beetles hadn’t separated from a sibling. I think i separated some thinking I was doing them a favour. Young minds ! I have been living 110km north of Cooma practically ever since. I may have seen one or twoof those beetles in that time. We called them harlequin bugs then, but googling that does not bring them up.

  3. Lyn Cadan says:

    We live on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria and they have all but destroyed hollyhocks, a few amongst ground cover violets and possibly in a young callistimon where one in three bushes was savagely eaten.
    I used pyrethrum spray to send them on their way.

  4. Steve says:

    I live in Hamilton vic. There are thousands of them breeding here. They come in my house under door cracks they somehow get up my clothes line and into my washing ANNOYING PESTS

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