Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Damn, the torpedoes!

Last weekend I was at my parents' house, and I noticed that the sago palm in their back yard had quite an infestation of torpedo bugs, (Siphanta acuta.)

I took lots of pictures of them, but none of them really came out very well.  I chalk that up to several factors:  it was breezy, causing the leaves to sway, the leaves were surprisingly pokey, making it hard for me to get up close, and I had a hard time with my camera settings for some reason.  But I'm posting them anyway.

torpedo bugs on sago palmThe plant in question.
  torpedo bugsYou can see the bugs, looking like pale green thorns on the underside of the leaves.

 torpedo bugs

baby torpedo bugs and egg case
There were lots of egg cases as well. They were hard to get to, near the center of the prickly plant. I managed to get a shot of one egg case with rows of newly hatched torpedo nymphs lined up along the leaf. Last month, when I first saw a single torpedo bug in my back yard, and identified it online, I became aware of how interesting and weird-looking the nymphs are, and I'm sorry I couldn't get a clear photo of one.
  baby torpedo bugThere were green ones

juvenile torpedo bug
And pinkish ones.  Their furry-looking tails are made of waxy filaments.
You can see someone else's really nice close up of a torpedo bug nymph on BugGuide.

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