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Leaf-footed Bug

Piezogaster calcarator

Leaf-footed Bug, Piezogaster calcarator, photo © by Mike Plagens

In ponderosa woodland near Washington Park, Gila Co., Arizona. 17 July 2016. These female bugs are concentrating their feeding on the growing shoots of New Mexico Locust sapling.

Coreidae -- Leaf-footed Bug Family

Leaf-footed Bugs are so called because the back legs are enlarged and often very conspicuous. In this species the hind legs of the males are expanded to a much greater degree than are those of the females. The are many species of this family in Arizona. The gathering at left might have one or functions. First most plants can fight back when an insect begins feeding upon it, frequently by increasing the production of bio-toxins. By working together the group of feeding bugs might overwhelm the plants defenses. Second, coreids are themselves capable of ejecting a noxious-smelling chemical to deter attack by birds. By sticking together in a conspicuous group the bugs can mount a more significant defense. A simple experiment might be designed to test if either of these hypotheses are valid.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 5 Jan. 2017.