Subject: The things you find in vault toilets
Geographic location of the bug: Yellowtail Wildlife Habitat Management Area – WY
Time: 11:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I found this little guy tummy up next to the latrine, and I was pondering if it was a tick, so I flipped it over and discovered a beautiful little beetle instead. Too broad to bring up in a search for black and white beetles. Any ideas? It was about the size of well used pencil eraser….
Thanks, as always,
How you want your letter signed: Tina in Wyoming
Dear Tina in Wyoming,
You might have searched on the internet for an interminable amount of time for a “black and white beetle” because this is not a Beetle, but rather a True Bug. Beetles and True Bugs have many diverging physical traits, but one of the easiest ways to distinguish them is by their mouths: Beetles have mandibles for chewing, while True Bugs have a proboscis adapted for piercing and sucking. The insect you have described as “beautiful” goes by the ignominious name Two Spotted Stink Bug, and individuals vary quite a bit in color, with some individuals having quite a bit of red (or orange or yellow) as well as black and white. The Two Spotted Stink Bug is an important predator, and according to BugGuide: “primarily preys on Colorado Potato Beetle and other chrysomelids ( but also on caterpillars)” and “each individual is capable of destroying an average of 231.5 Colorado potato beetle eggs during its nymphal development and 150 to 200 larvae during its lifetime,” though we don’t know how it is possible to destroy half an egg.
LOL, thank you for the information and the morning chuckle. One of my friends suggested it should be named