Subject: Colorful Beetle seen in Central Mexico
Location: Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico
September 22, 2012 7:55 pm
Hi there! In April, 2010, I was in Mexico, in Tepoztlan, in the state of Morelos, hiking up a hill to some ruins when I came across this very ornate and colorful bug. There were actually many of them along the trail of this hike. They looked like jewels! The weather at the time was super hot and dry…
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Your insect is a member of the Leaf Footed Bug family Coreidae rather than a beetle. It resembles a species found in the southwest portions of the U.S. as well as in Mexico, the Giant Mesquite Bug, Thasus neocalifornicus, but the coloration is different. We believe this is another member of the genus. Here is a similar individual from our archives. The Things Biological website has an identically colored specimen identified as a Giant Mesquite Bug, and the site goes on to state: “These nymphs are enormous, each being roughly the size of my thumb. I have never encountered them before and was astounded by their size and abundance. Adults and nymphs can be found on mesquite trees during the summer. The nymphs congregate on the pods, drinking plant fluids, while the adults feed on fluids from both the pods and young twigs. The young advertise their bad taste with their brilliant colors, which are further emphasized by their tendency to aggregate.” We are inclined to believe that the genus is correct, but that the species may be misidentified. The images on BugGuide support that belief. Though we are confident the genus is correct, we cannot conclusively provide you with the species name.
3 thoughts on “Giant Mesquite Bug Nymph from Mexico”
Thasus are eaten in Mexico, and I’ve tried specimens I’d collected in southern Arizona. They have a strong flavor: slightly bitter and sour, but not unpleasant.
I will tag as Edible.