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Related to the squash bug from last week, this week we found giant mesquite bugs.

These big bugs (about the size of a child's thumb) seem like something from another age.

Let's look closer.

I can tell this is a "true bug" because of the triangle in the middle of its back. Can you spot it?

Also, look how the wing changes texture from where it attaches on the back (at the right side) to between the water droplets. The wing veins run in another direction and the wing actually goes from leathery to more flimsy, like a piece of cellophane.

Let's go back  to look at the squash bug. Can you see the triangle and the wing patterns, too? In this case the triangle is not a different color, but it is still there.

Those are clues entomologists use to tell if two insects are similar, and also what kind they are.

Squash bugs and giant mesquite bugs are alike in other ways, too. It turns out that the giant mesquite bugs will also produce odors to defend themselves.

In this photo you can see the mouthparts sticking down below the head. Giant mesquite bugs use their "beaks" to suck plant sap from mesquite trees. (The adults we saw were clustered around the green seed pods of the mesquite trees.)

Firefly Forest has photographs of the bright-colored immatures (nymphs) and more information.

Have you ever found a giant mesquite bug? How about other "true bugs?"