Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bug

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Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Hemiptera
Suborder Heteroptera
Family Coreidae




Morphology

The Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bug belongs to the family Coreidae. Adults are generally 2/3 to 3/4 inch long and appear to have a symmetrically patterned medium brown, beige, or dark brown color on top of their wings and body, which is an elongate-oval shape. The Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bug's mouthparts are piercing-sucking, which enable them to feed on plants through the sap flow present in the leaves and stem. However, when not in use, the mouthparts form a beak that is held beneath the body. The beak, along with the antenna are four-segmented, while the tarsi is composed of three-segments. The Leaf-footed Pine Seed bug has a flattened, leaf-like expansion on its hind legs which helps it to receieve its name "Leaf-footed." Its legs are very strong and are ideal for grabbing hold to host plants. Across the midpoint of its upper surface, a faint white zigzag appears. During the time of flight, a bright yellow-orange color appears on its wings and back. At first glance, the Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bug may be mistaken for an Assassin Bug or Squash Bug, but when observed closely, the three bugs are fairly different. For instance, neither the Assassin Bug or the Squash bug have the tibiae of the hind-legs leaf-like. In order to protect themselves, the Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bug can deliver a foul-smelling, foul-tasting, green apple or ripe pear essence from pores on the sides of their bodies. The bugs have very well-developed scent glands and tend to give off the smell when they feel frightened or are being harmed. Due to the fact that they are good flyers, in the summer they quickly take action in flight, while making a buzzing noise as they fly to safety. Also, males specifically have a cream colored or white, spur or flap on the posterdorsal corner on the side of the thorax, in which females lack.


Habitat

Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bug's generally reside in pine and mixed pine forests during the summer. They live in most gardens of homes in the warm months such as spring and summer and move to different parts of natural areas in the fall and winter. The Leaf-footed Bugs are known to be very dangerous in the gardens of homes due to the damage of crops that they cause. Other than gardens, the bugs spend a variety of their time on beans, peas, pecans, citrus, tomatoes, potatoes, and other wild areas. During the winter, the Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bug usually shelters in homes, while in the spring they find their way to trees. Often, the bugs are seen in and on building in later summer and early autumn, particularly on sunlight sides of the buildings. Their change of habitat to homes in the winter causes them to act as a huge pest to many people and their homes, as well as office buildings and factories.

Geographic Range

The bugs extend from New York, south to Florida. They then can extend from Louisiana and southwest to Texas as well. Leaf-footed Bugs are common in most eastern and Southeastern states. Their original distribution is in California, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, and Mexico to Brazil.
Found in all of New Jersey
Found in all of New Jersey
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North, South, and Southwest, as well as Mexico and South Africa

















Mating Behavior

The mating behavior of Leaf-footed Bugs was studied in a laboratory. Conclusions were made that the first step of the Leaf-footed Bugs mating began with a male attracting a female from a distance. The male then approaches the female and courts her at a close range. Followed by courting the female, the male produces a pheromone blend with both aphrodisiac and sex attractant functions. The male abdominal stretching behavior of part of the eighth, and all of the ninth abdominal segments frequently and stroking them with hind legs during courtship and calling, may aid in the dispersal and release of the male sex pheromone from the sex-specific ventral abdominal gland. If prevention of mating is let go, Leaf-footed Bugs will grow rapidly in numbers over the course of the summer. While in their hibernation spot during the winter, the bugs mate and lay their eggs on host plants. Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bug's mate several times during their mating season.
two Leaf-footed Bugs mating
two Leaf-footed Bugs mating



Life Cycle

The life cycle of the Leaf-footed Bugs are in three stages; eggs, nymphs, and adults. The females lay their eggs in small groups of lines glued to leaves, needles, or even houses during warm months, usually summer. Many of the leaves, and other plant debris that fall on the ground serve as carriers for the eggs to ensure their return to the area in the upcoming year. After two weeks, the eggs hatch and the wingless nymphs feed off of pine cones for nutreints in order to grow into an adult. The nymphs are orange and brown and become reddish-brown to brown as they develop. They progress through five stages in order to mature to adulthood by the end of August. In the adult stage, the bugs continue to feed on seeds until they move to a protected shelter in the fall. Adults pass the winter in sheltered spots such as houses and under bark. In late spring, they move to trees and feed on year-old cones and male flowers. They are most commonly seen between the seasons of spring and fall and tend to hide in the winter.

Life Cycle: Egg, Nymph, Adult
Life Cycle: Egg, Nymph, Adult


Feeding Habits

Both nymphs and adults enjoy sucking the juice from buds, seeds, fruits, leaves, and shoots. In the adult stage, the bugs continue to feed on seeds until they move to a protected shelter in the fall. The Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bugs pierce plant tissue, inject an enzyme, and suck up plant juices. This causes fruit and leaf malformation and wilting. Germination could possibly be reduced and seeds may shivel, causing the food to develop as unpleasant taste. The bugs fairly enjoy the taste of tomatoes, pecans, beans, peaches, and many garden flowers.

Ecological Role

Leaf-footed Pine Seed Bugs ecological role in the state of New Jersey as well as other places that it is located, is to damage and attack crops of several species such as tomatoes, cotton, asparagus, melons, sorghum, and other crops. In continuation, they also damage oranges, potatoes, lime, guava, and avocado. Leaf-footed bugs are commonly destructive to pine seeds in the southern United States. They abort fruits, reduce seed weight, lower oil content, and malform seeds. Many of the times, Leaf-footed Bugs are the cause of many gardens shriveled fruit and crops.



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Sources

http://www.varmentguard.com/pestlibrary/LEAF-FOOTED%20BUG.pdf
http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/westconseedbug.html
http://bugguide.net/node/view/93
http://somethingscrawlinginmyhair.com/2007/11/03/another-assassin-oh-wait-maybe-not/
http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/extension/plantdata/PESTS/LeaffootedBugs/index.html
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/organic/garden/view_question/id/986/
http://www.fbmg.com/Insects/LeafFootedBug.htm
http://www.cirrusimage.com/bugs_leaf_footed.htm
http://books.google.com/books?id=3V_w-6tA8hYC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=leaf-footed+bug+habitat&source=bl&ots=lohQrmShIK&sig=9kiC9C_WPvaJK0SjOFfkTPWxSv4&hl=en&ei=qPV8TZmGHKSD0QHn6cjkAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBYQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=leaf-footed%20bug%20habitat&f=false
http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/20013047834.html
http://dpm.ifas.ufl.edu/plant_pest_risk_assessment/documents/PPoint%20Brambila_Heteroptera%20Southern_DPM_2007%5B1%5D.pdf


Picture Sources

http://bugguide.net/images/cache/309QLSWQT0IKUKHKEKSK6KLKNKZKB0GQ9KHKWKQK6KSKB0GQ309QTKNQAKIKTK1QVK1Q1K1QCK0KO0RKBKHKNKZKVK.jpg
http://www.homesbyowner.com/media/states/NJ_blank.gif
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/bfl/speciesaccts/images/woothr_map300w.gif
http://www.wbrschools.net/techcds/webpage%20science78/Life%20Science/Life%20Cycle%20of%20a%20Leaf-Footed%20Bug.gif
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHXBiOASuH4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlFeZJeK2DI
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