Posts Tagged: leaffooted bug
Once you've seen a leaffooted bug (genus Leptoglossus), you'll never forget it.
If you look closely, you'll see a leaflike structure on each hind leg.
It's especially noticeable when the bug is on a brightly colored tomato or pomegranate.
Lately we've been seeing a lot of leaffooted bugs on our tomatoes. They're Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. The bugs emerge in the early morning for a few hours and then, moving quite sluggishly, disappear among the leaves, only to make their presence known late in the evening and early the next morning.
They're pests of many fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and ornamentals, but they're so unusual looking that they draw the attention of photographers and other curious folks. It's camouflage at its best--except when they're on ripe red tomatoes and pomegranates. Then it's as if they're wearing neon.
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) Program has this to say about leaffooted bugs on almonds:
"The leaffooted bug is an infrequent pest in almonds that gets its name from the small, leaflike enlargements found on the hind legs of the large nymphs and adults. Adult bugs are about 1 inch long and have a narrow brown body with a yellow or white zigzag line across its flattened back. Adult females lay eggs in strands of usually 10 to 15 eggs that are often found on the sides of nuts in almonds. Eggs hatch into small nymphs that resemble newly hatched assassin bugs."
Also read what UC IPM has to say about leaffooted bugs on pomegranates and several species: Leptoglossus clypealis, L. occidentalis, and L. zonatus.
A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two's company in this photo of two leaffooted bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Red nymph of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Nymph of leaffooted bug checks out it surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When you first see the leaffooted bug, you know immediately how it got its name.
The appendages on its feet look like leaves!
This morning we saw one in our catmint (Nepeta) patch. It crawled beneath the tiny leaves, sharing space with honey bees, European wool carder bees, butterflies and assorted spiders.
Tonight scores of them stormed our pomegranate tree. In fact, they made the immature fruit their kitchen, living room and bedroom.
Although the leaffooted bug (Leptoglossus clypealis) is a pest of pistachios and almonds, we've never seen it on our pomegranate tree until today. Our tree, planted in 1927--back when Herbert Hoover was the U.S. president--has few pests. One year white flies attacked it mercilessly. Tonight leaffooted bugs claimed squatters' rights.
The adult bug is about an inch long with a white or yellow zigzag across its back. Shades of Zorro! Its most distinctive feature, however, are the leaflike appendages on its feet.
Back in 2009, integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, co-authored UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines on the leaffooted bug as it pertains to almonds. Zalom and his colleagues called attention to their needlelike mouthparts. The adults feed on young nuts "before the shell hardens." And after the nut is developed, "leaffooted bug feeding can still cause black spots on the kernel or wrinkled, misshapen nutmeats."
As for our pomegranate tree, we're not sure how well these leaffooted bugs can probe the tough, leathery fruit.
We open the pomegranates with a serrated knife...
Close-up of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Leaffooted bugs making pomegranates their kitchen, living room and bedroom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Beady eyes, colorful antennae and appendages on its feet that look like leaves. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)