Monday, July 01, 2013

Photo of the Week

In late spring and early summer, it is common to see insect nymphs crawling around on plants. As hard as adult insects are to identify, nymphs pose an additional challenge since many of the distinctive markings and structures have not developed yet. The easiest way to tell if an insect is a nymph is to look for the wings. If the wings are missing or stubby and the adult form of that family or order usually has wings, then the insect is probably a nymph. (This does not always work, of course.) The insect above is a nymph Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus), a type of assassin bug. In its adult form, a Wheel Bug has a gear-like hump above its thorax, which gives the species its common name. At this stage, that feature has not developed yet. One clue to its identity is the stout beak, which it uses to kill and eat other insects.