Subject: Name of bug?
Geographic location of the bug: Geilston Bay, Tasmania, Australia
Your letter to the bugman: Hi, I wonder if you could tell me what kind of bug this is? They range in size from not much bigger than a pinhead to about 5 mms. I only see them for a short period in summer. Usually in small clusters on the road, though this year I have noticed them in the vegetation on the roadside. I have never seen them anywhere except this one small section (approximately 15 ft) of road. Thanks so much for your time
How you want your letter signed: Ruth Gooding
These are immature Shield Bugs in the family Scutellaridae, and because many members of the family have bright metallic colors, they are frequently called Jewel Bugs. We located a nearly identical image on FlickR from Tasmania that identifies the species as Choerocoris paganus creche. The tripart name stands for genus, species and subspecies. We found additional information on the genus and species from Australia, which leads us to believe the subspecies C. p. creche is a Tasmanian subspecies. Geographically isolated populations often form subspecies, and with the passage of time, they might even become distinct species. The Atlas of Living Australia calls the species the Ground Shield Bug, and the Brisbane Insect site calls it the Red Jewel Bug. According to Jungle Dragon: “Adults and nymphs feed primarily on the sappy contents of seeds of hop-bush (Dodonaea viscosa), including those which have fallen to the ground.”