Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Bug: One with a dull lustre

Echinacea, crab spider, and dull bug
I have a consistent mental lapse with Plant Bugs. I think this quirk is induced by Lygus, the most common genus of Plant Bug that I encounter. If Lygus were the type genus of the Plant Bug family, then the family name would be Lygidae - easily stretch in a moment of nomenclatorial imprecision into 'Lie-ge-e-de' which sounds familiar to the bug-bemused Home Bug Gardener. So, off to BugGuide and the Lygaeidae - commonly known as Seed Bugs. I often get stuck there unable to find Lygus, but fascinated by the elegant and neat Lygaeidae.
Lygus lineolaris - the Tarnished Plant Bug    
Unfortunately, Plant Bugs belong to the family Miridae, based apparently on the genus Miris, which does not appear to grace Alberta (or BugGuide). Eventually I search for Lygus and get to my goal, which is usually the Tarnished Plant Bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois, 1818). Far too abundant, and highly variable in colour, the Tarnished Plant Bug is also annoyingly damaging to shoots of a variety of garden ornamentals and crops. I suppose it deserves its name.

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