Sunday, December 8, 2013

Green Lacewing Larvae or "Trash Bug" Uses Prey's Dead Bodies as Camouflage



 Green Lacewing Larvae Uses Prey's Dead Bodies as Camouflage


A Green Lacewing Larvae uses its prey's corpses as camouflage. I noticed this strange creature moving on our Mango Tree and took a closer look. When it is still you can not see it as it attaches the bodies of ants, aphids, small beetles and some of the smallest spiders I've ever seen to its back in a pattern to blend in with the mottled tree bark of the Mango tree. How it does this must be an amazing sight - there are literally dozens of dead bugs attached to its back.  The larvae is known to attach debris to itself and is sometimes called the "trash bug". This blog goes into more detail on this fascinating insect. Apparently sightings of this behavior are  rare as the disguise is so effective. In the video you will see how the bug blends right in with the tree trunk. And this little bug really moves fast even though it is extremely top-heavy, so it is difficult to get clear video and stills without injuring it - I briefly captured the bug for filming and then returned it to the tree to continue its beneficial work of preying on aphids and the like. This is one of the most beneficial of insects and one can buy the larvae to help control insects on fruit trees and gardens. I do not use pesticides on the trees as it indiscriminately kills beneficial insects - I just let nature take its course. "Whistling Down the Road" courtesy of YouTube audio library.

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 Green Lacewing Larvae Uses Prey's Dead Bodies as Camouflage

 The clearest picture of the dozens of dead insect bodies that make up the camouflage of the Green Lacewing Larvae.

Adult Green Lacewing of Florida (UF/IFAS photo)

 Green Lacewing Larvae Uses Prey's Dead Bodies as Camouflage

 Green Lacewing Larvae Uses Prey's Dead Bodies as Camouflage

Effective disguise on a Mango tree

 Green Lacewing Larvae Uses Prey's Dead Bodies as Camouflage