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Plant Bug

a green Miridae on Tithonia thurberi photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed in Madera Canyon, Sta. Rita Mountains, Arizona, USA. 10 Sept 2010. Length is 7mm. Inflorescence of Tithonia thurberi

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The large and diverse insect family Miridae contains the plant bugs, leaf bugs, and grass bugs, and may also be known as capsid bugs. It is the largest family of true bugs belonging to the suborder Heteroptera, with over 10,000 known species and new ones constantly being described. They are small, terrestrial insects, usually oval-shaped or elongate and measuring less than 12 millimetres (0.5 in) in length. Some are brightly coloured, others drab or dark. Some genera are ant mimics at certain stages of life. Most of the more well-known mirids have received attention because they are agricultural pests. They pierce plant tissues and feed on the juices.

The bug pictured here has likely been feeding upon the developing seeds in the sunflower head. A few grains of pollen adhere to the bug and potentially could be transported by the flying bug to another plants. I speculate that this bug is not a significant pollinator, because it does not have a reason to visit many plants.

Miridae -- Plant Bug Family

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Arizona Naturalist
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Invertebrates in Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 7 October 2013