Subject: Strange fly with funky antenna and cricket legs
Geographic location of the bug: Southern California
Time: 10:54 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: What is this little bug?
Can’t identify it in any list of insects in southern California
How you want your letter signed: Thanks
This is not a Fly. It is a Plant Bug in the family Miridae, but we are not certain of the species. We are currently having problems searching BugGuide, our go-to site for North American sightings, but we know from the past that many members of this family are predators and some feed on plants. There many species of Mirid Plant Bugs pictured on The Natural History of Orange County, and the one that looks most like your individual to us is Dicyphus hesperus, and according to the Natural History of Orange County: “Dicyphus hesperus is widely distributed over North America. It is a predator on pest insects including many species of whitefly, aphids, lepidopterans and mites. It is therefore used all over the world for control of pests on greenhouse and field vegetable crops. It has been especially successful for control of whitefly on greenhouse tomato crops.” We also did a web search with the key words “Miridae” and “Cannabis” and we located this Wikipedia page on the Potato Capsid, Closterotomus norvegicus, which states: “It can be found feeding on nettle, clover, and cannabis, as well as Compositae, potatoes, carrots and chrysanthemums. They prefer to feed on the flowers, buds and unripe fruit.” The same claim about the Potato Capsid and Cannabis is also posted on Photos of Insects in Cambridge. According to Cannabis Pests by J.M. McPartland: ” True bugs, like the Homopterans (aphids, leafhoppers, whiteflies), have piercing-sucking mouthparts and feed on plant sap. They feed predominately on leaves, but also suck on stems, flowering tops, and unripe seeds. Bugs, unlike most Homopterans, are outdoor problems. The southern green stink bug (Nezara viridula) feeds on marijuana in India (Cherian 1932), hemp leaves in Europe (Sorauer 1958) and hemp seeds in the USA (Hartowicz et al. 1971). Other examples include the tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris), false chinch bug (Nysius ericae), and potato bug (Calocoris norvegicus). Liocoris tripustulatus has become an emergent pest in the Netherlands, where it feeds on pollen.” It is our observation that plant feeding True Bugs tend to aggregate while predators tend to hunt solo. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to confirm this identification. We are sorry we cannot say for certain if this is a predator or a plant feeding species.