One of my favorite things about going to spend a day outside looking through the undergrowth and foliage is that it’s an immensely unpredictable process. Yesterday morning, I would have never guessed that my two coolest finds were going to be bright orange, but that is lovely thing about Arthropods; just like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you really never know what you’re going to get.
The first is this halloween-ready Chrysomelid beetle, Disonycha discoidea. A quick search finds that these are not super uncommon and range throughout the southeastern U.S., but it was a first for me and I was very excited when I say it’s flashy colors peeking through the branches. This species is very unique within it’s genus, which are typically characterized by vertical striping on the elytra. I was so absorbed with acquiring the beetle that I didn’t pay any attention to the plant I found it on, which was likely it’s host (Passiflora), a plant with immensely ornate and photogenic flowers.
This next encounter came much closer to home. A magnolia tree on the grounds of our apartment complex had some very conspicuous inhabitants: these newly emerged leaf footed bugs (genus Leptoglossus). As is typical for this group, the eggs have been oviposited on the midrib of the leaf in a single row. You can see the exit holes on some of the eggs.
While I am confident that these are Leptoglossus, I am unsure of which species they are. The fact that they were feeding on magnolia suggests they may be L. fulvicornis, a known magnolia feeder. However, the general colors and shapes make me lean toward the generalist L. zonatus, which also occurs in this area. Hopefully the resourceful people on BugGuide can help me with his.
On the same tree were several other patches of nymphs surrounding their eggs, as well as some later instar nymphs and an adult. I was sadly unable to catch the adult for photos, and that likely would have helped immensely in getting a species level identification.