Sunday, December 15, 2013

Giant Leaf-Footed Bug - Amazing Insect Camouflage

This quite large and attractive Florida Leaf-Footed Bug ( a true bug) has at least two camouflage factors going for it. This particular large sub-species, which I think is Leptoglossus zonatus, I have not seen before, has the large leaf decorations on its feet and is likely a large male, but it also has markings on its body to make it look just like a resting moth with false eyes on the back of its head. If that doesn't work it can emit a foul odor as it is related to the stink bug. It needs the disguise and defense mechanisms because this bug is slow - - really slow and deliberate and it could care less that I am just inches away filming it. Watch as it searches a Brazilian Pepper Tree for green fruit, it wants unripe green berries not red ones.  While this class of bugs can be serious pests, especially the small ones that attack green fruit of gardens and citrus groves these big ones rarely reach the density to do serious damage. I have not had a problem with them on my mango trees. It is somewhat ironic that it is in this case it is attacking the invasive Brazilian Pepper and at the end you can see it using its long proboscis to pierce and suck the juices of the fruit.

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Leaf-Footed Bug - Amazing Insect Camouflage

Leaf-Footed Bug - Amazing Insect Camouflage

The signature "leaf-foot"