BUGS (Order Hemiptera) and others
There are some 134 familys and 82,000 species of "Bugs", found all over the world and in great variety. All have piercing, sucking beaks protruding from the front of the head; most have a triangular structure (the Scutellum) on the back between the bases of the wings, and most have two pairs of wings, with the forewing basally thickened and leathery..
Giant Water Bugs (Belostomatidae)
We have found these very large aquatic bugs (the largest true bugs) in Saguaro Juniper lands in the Sierra Blanca Spring, a small, truly perennial, shaded pool of water with abundant vegetation surrounding it. These more than 2-inch long beetles have prominent eyes, strong beaks, and foreleges adapted for holding prey while the sucking beak is thrust into the victim. They eat a variety of small aquatic animals, including (where available) fish. .
Cone-nosed Bugs (Triatoma spp)
Because of its importance in our area -- as a bug which is not well known to the general public, but which can in exceptional cases cause very severe reactions in humans to its nocturnal bites -- we are devoting an entire page to this remarkable insect. Click on the blue-underlined heading here:
Our general ignorance of bugs as a category forms is too great for further discussion here. In the sections below, we will present clusters of bugs encountered by season in given years.
After the good Spring rains of 2005, we had fairly good bloomings of spring flowers, especially white flowers like Desert Chicory and Pincushions. We found two main types of bugs attracted to these flowers. First, the set of six images grouped below (click on each image to enlarge it):
Below, a second type was found -- in fewer numbers -- on some of the same flowers as the bugs shown just above: (click on each image to enlarge it):
Below, we saw another type of bug at the same time, perched on a rock:
We saw a rich diversity of insects following good Spring rains in 2004, which led to a rich eruption of Spring annual sprouts and flowers on which insects could feast. Below are some results of one brief stroll near Saguaro-Juniper Hill beside the Pool Wash Ridge Road in the late afternoon of May 09, when the sun was low and the wind had diminished.
We found various "bugs" out eating the Engelmann Prickly Pears, as shown in these three images below. Note the two different forms shown here: (Click on each image to enlarge it):
We photographed (below) the type shown at far right above again in May 2005, again on Prickly Pears: (Click on each image to enlarge it)
On the right below, a creature with black eyes and red body works a White Thorn Acacia nearby (Click on each image to enlarge it):
Below -- from May of 2004 again -- are three images of bugs on the same kind of seedhead (whose size is indicated by the central image, showing part of the light-gloved knuckle of an adult index finger holding it). Left and center show the same beast, which has a kind of hourglass design on its back; on the right, something very different (click on each image to enlarge it):
In August of 2004, these two bugs were seen mating, below, on an upper branch of a mesquite tree at the Diversion Tank (now having some water in its bottom and lots of lush grasses around its flanks). (Click on each image to enlarge it.) In the image at left, one can clearly see (though blurred) see the characteristic triangular scutellum on the upper back, and also the enlarged femur of the back leg suggesting these are a species of leaf-footed bug (Family Coreidae), while the image at right gives a clearer view of the red-barred & enlarged femur.
Below, we see (at left) a better view of the flattened, red-barred tibia of one insect, while at right (we having unfortunately broken up the coupling by jockeying to get closer with the camera) you can see the yellow-and-black stripings along the sides of the wings. These features, plus the flat, rounded disk located towards the end of the antenna (a specialized sensory organ) tell us it is a Giant Mesquite Bug (Thassus gigas). (See also Sonoran Arthropod Studies: Mesquite Bug.) Mesquite Bugs feed only on the sap of mesquite trees . They emit an offensive odor when touched.
September 24, 2004: Below, three different kinds of Bugs on an Engelmann Prickly Pear:
Below, more detailed images of each: (Click on each image to enlarge it.) The two examples shown at left and center may be the same type of bug (note the white strip on top of the head), but the one at right is different (and looks like the one shown in a left-hand image from May of this year (see above).
This one, below, we only discovered while looking at photos of flowers for entry in our Wildflowers page. The image (from August 2004) is at the limits of its resolution, and not very clear, but the legs are remarkable: (Click on the image to enlarge it.)