Scentless Plant Bug

2016 November 30

Here’s a bug that I mainly photographed to increase my count of November insects – it was crawling on a rubber mat[1] on November 8, 2015.



As a “true bug”, it has the classic “bug eyes” sticking out to the sides and the wings with incomplete wing covers. It also has a couple of ocelli (simple eyes) that are quite prominent.


I couldn’t quite get a picture of the underside, but if I had, we would have seen the normal piercing/sucking mouthparts that are characterisic of the true bugs.

I was able to narrow it down to being one of the Scentless Plant Bugs in the family Rhopalidae. Beyond that I had to ask for help on BugGuide, where Ken Wolgemuth thinks it looks like one of the Stictopleurus species. There are supposed to be 5 species in this genus found in North America, but Bugguide only shows pictures for one of them (probably because most people don’t photograph nondescript brown bugs, so they don’t have much to work with).

Anyway, the bugs in this family are related to “stink bugs”, but don’t have the scent glants, so they have to depend more on not being seen to avoid being eaten. And, they clearly are willing to be around in cold weather, which probably cuts down on the number of predators quite a bit.

[1] We have put a few rubber floor mats down at various places on our property, specifically because it is a great way to draw snakes. The mats both get warm quickly in the sun, and provide a good hiding place that the snakes can crawl into. So, any time we want to see some snakes, we can just flip over a mat and there they are. It’s almost as convenient as keeping them as pets, without the need to actually worry about feeding them. In fact, the mats accumulate things like crickets and grasshoppers too, which are exactly the sort of things that the snakes would be looking for to eat.

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