Tag: leaf-footed bug nymph

Bug of the Week: A Mix of Leaf-Footed Bugs

Often when you see an insect, only one life stage is present.


That wasn’t true with the leaf-footed bugs we spotted today. There’s an adult on the right. It has full wings and big flaps on its hind legs, which gives it the name “leaf-footed bug.” On the left is a large nymph with smaller flaps and stubby wing pads. So, what is the smaller orange insect?


Turns out that is a small leaf-footed bug nymph. Isn’t it amazing how different it looks from the adult. It doesn’t have flaps on its legs at all.

The adult looks like it is standing over the nymph and protecting it. A little research reveals that leaf-footed bugs are an example of insects that exhibit parental care. In fact, when scientists removed leaf-footed bug adults from their young and placed them on a nearby plant, the adult bugs flew back to the nymphs and stayed with them.

In case you were wondering, these leaf-footed bugs are feeding on the fruit of a datura or moonflower plant.

If you are interested in learning more, here’s a .pdf of a Scientific American article about parental care in insects (hosted at Colorado). Very cool!

Bug of the Week: Leaf-footed Bug Nymph

Ever wonder how to identify an insect?


Let’s take this green bug we found this week. It looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

I knew it was a youngster or nymph because it has wing pads on the sides of its abdomen, not full wings. I also could tell it was a “true bug” because of the triangular-shaped piece in the middle of the back, where the adbomen meets the thorax.

So, I put the search terms “green bug numph” in the image search box of my search engine (in this case Google).

I got a bunch of green stink bugs, which I knew were wrong because they are more shield shaped. But scrolling down a bit, I found something very close.


A few more clicks, and “Aha!” Thanks to BugGuide I know it is a leaf-footed bug nymph, in the genus Piezogaster. I see the two spots on the back and the antennae are the same shape. No wonder it looked familiar. We have found leaf-footed bugs before, although not this species.

So, what bugs have you found this week?