Thursday, October 1, 2009

A pink stink bug

It must be the year of pink insects. The mania began with "Pinky" the katydid, which then led to "Pepto". As those two bugs grew in fame and reputation, I heard about several other pink Orthopterans. Actually, I don't believe there are any more glowing pink insects on the landscape; it's just that the widespread attention garnered by the aforementioned pinksters made people aware that someone might be interested in their finds, so they reported them.

Now, we have a pink bug of a very different type. Sandy Brown, who is an excellent photographer and very good field observer, sent me the following photo yesterday. She found this critter the other day in the Akron area and it's a doozy.

While exploring an old field, Sandy noticed something peculiar on the old inflorescence of a Queen Anne's Lace. It's an eye-catcher and certainly warranted closer inspection.

And in we go, to find something extraordinary, insofar as I know. These insects are Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, Halyomorpha halys, at least that's what we believe them to be. This insect is a recent arrival to U.S. shores. It's native to Asia and was first detected in eastern Pennsylvania in 2001, and has been on the warpath ever since. They've turned up in at least five other eastern states since, but I'm not sure how many or if there were any Ohio records prior to Sandy's find. It isn't surprising these stink bugs would get here, and quickly, especially as this find occurred very near U.S. Route 76, which is a major traffic artery from the east, and bugs could easily hitchhike on vehicles.

Anyway, the other more obvious coolness factor here is that one of the stink bugs is PINK, or if we wish to wax technical, erythrochroic. Stink bugs are plant juice suckers in the order Hemiptera. I have no idea how common pink hemipterans might be, but Sandy's creature is a rather extraordinary beast.

If anyone knows more about records of Marmorated Brown Stink Bugs in Ohio, or pink hemipterans, please let me know.

Thanks to Sandy for sharing her find!


Jana said...

Thanks for the explanation of why there are so many stink bugs when I go back to Pennsylvania. I never saw any when I was growing up there. Now they are house invaders.

You gotta love a pink stink bug though!

In Mohican yesterday, someone said they saw a aqua blue millipede or centipede. Ever heard of such a critter?

Susan Adams said...

I might have photographed one in southeast Oklahoma:

ceciliotis said...

Hello! Did anyone get to keep an eye on this little guy throughout the rest of the day? It looks to me like freshly molted adult. A lot of times when 5th instar molts, its body is still soft, and looks a pale white or pink color. In this picture I've linked you can see a freshly molted 2nd instar at the top there, another pinky!

ceciliotis said...

Oh yeah--so my point was, if you keep an eye on one of those throughout the day, it should slowly change back into the regular brown that you see more commonly!