Mating Stilt Bugs

2021 February 7

We found this pair of stilt bugs, Neoneides muticus, mating on June 13, 2020. Like a lot of insects, they mate by connecting together at the tip of the abdomen, and then they wander around as a pair for a while.


I am pretty sure that the one with the larger, green abdomen is the female, since she would be full of eggs.


As is fairly common among insects, the male tries to stay connected as long as possible. This is both to make sure that his sperm is delivered properly, and also as a means of preventing any other males from getting in there and mating with the female. And meanwhile, she just goes about her business. You can see in this next picture from the position of the male’s legs that she is dragging him backwards. But he’s OK with that. After all, he has nothing better to do.


And meanwhile, she doggedly continues on, going wherever it is that she means to go.


In the case of stilt bugs, their main defense against being noticed and eaten by predators is that they look like a bit of grass chaff, and so are not only hard to spot, but if they are seen they don’t look like anything edible. So, the fact that the male is hanging on to the female isn’t really much of a hazard to her, because now they just look like a slightly bigger piece of chaff.

I have posted pictures of one of these previously, and we see them around pretty regularly. Bugguide says that this species is one of the ones that suck juices from grass, so they are most likely all through our lawn, pretending to be bits of debris. Bugguide also says that they may also be omnivorous when the opportunity presents itself, feeding on other small insects that they stumble over. In any case, they are well-camouflaged and don’t do anything particularly dire to the lawn, so most people take no notice of them.

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