Monday, July 30, 2007

Predatory Stinkbug

There are a reported 250 species of stinkbug in North America. Secretions emitted from scent glands on their body when disturbed give them the "stink" part of their name. It also gives them a bad taste which protects them from some, but not all predators. It's really not a foul odor and once you smell one you'll never forget it- kinda like the smell a skunk. If you would like to influence one into emitting its funk hold one between your thumb and index finger and squeeze slightly and you'll get the desired affect.
Some stinkbugs feed on plants and can be harmful towards them, but this particular one, the predatory stinkbug (Euthyrhynchus floridanus) is beneficial in that its prey consists of plant pests such as caterpillars and beetles. Looking at the photo of its underside you'll notice its flexible feeding tube or proboscis, which pops out like a long drinking straw and is used to suck the bodily juices from its prey- like a kid with a straw in a juice box. Over on Burning Silo Blog there's a nice photo of some predatory stinkbug eggs that have begun hatching.

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