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  • Giant Mesquite Bug - (Thasus spp.)

    Giant Mesquite Bug - (Thasus spp.)

    Giant Mesquite Bugs are at home in the Southwest, where their favorite plant grows in the Sonoran desert chapparal.

    Staff Writer (8/1/2017): The Giant Mesquite Bug is very large and conspicuous. This gives it an advantage over possible insect predators, but it also makes it easier for birds and lizards to find and eat them. They are usually found hanging around on Mesquite trees, whose wood is often used by people to smoke meats or barbecue. This native plant is a food source for the insect.

    Young, larval Giant Mesquite Bugs from the species neocalifornicus differ greatly in their appearance compared to the more mature form. This species is found mostly in the U.S.. They are usually found in large groups, clustered on a mesquite. They feed on the juices pulled out of its softer plant parts like new leaves, seed pods and young stems. Their coloration is quite bold. They are bright red with many vivid white horizontal lines along their backs. Along the 'spine' is a series of white dots with a few black rings in between them. Their legs have red and black bands. Females have flattened discs near the tips of their antennae. They emit a chemical that smells and is meant to deter predators from eating them.

    Adults look darker, longer and have a triangular block of yellowish white lines crossing over their elytra. They may look dark brown or olive green with bright red bands on their black legs. Their sides are also red. They, too, can emit a chemical deterrent that has a noxious odor, but the make-up of it changes once they mature. It is thought that the chemical secretion morphs in order to be more beneficial against the different predators the bug encounters at particular life stages.

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    Details of the:
    Giant Mesquite Bug

    Category: True Bug
    Common name: Giant Mesquite Bug
    Scientific Name: Thasus spp.

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hemiptera
          Family: Coreidae
           Genus: Thasus
            Species: spp.

    Size (Adult, Length): 15mm to 40mm (0.59in to 1.57in)

    Identifying Colors: brown, white, black, orange, red, green

    Additional Descriptors: flying, large, lines, long

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona; New Mexico; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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