In the spring of 2017--Year 5 for our Creek Field restoration--I found bugs I had never seen before.
But what were they?
To the naked eye they looked like bits of dead leaf caught on a growing plant.
A magnifying lens on my phone camera and Bugguide.net helped me identify these tiny insects: they were Jagged Ambush Bugs--an apt name, as their bodies are strange conglomerations of abrupt angles. The genus is Phymata--but the different species of Phymata are hard to identify.
"Phymata" means "swollen" and refers to the bulbous front legs.
| Those bloated femurs|
look like crab claws! These bugs are
on Daisy Fleabane in the Creek Field, April 2017.
|Creek Field, April 2017.|
The enlarged front legs help Phymata catch prey. The front legs are so different from the other four!
|Phymata on Golden Alexander in the Creek Field, April 2017. |
Note how different the front legs are from the back ones.
|Here are Phymata looking like dinosaurs.|
|Phymata on Hairy Aster, September 2017.|
When I noticed a fly caught on Swamp Milkweed in the wetlands, I expected, upon closer examination, to find a crab spider as the culprit. But then I saw the swollen femur....
|A Jagged Ambush Bug holds a fly with its|
swollen front leg. Swamp Milkweed
Wetlands, September 2017.
The restorations are growing up!