School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Flea Beetle

Striped Flea Beetle (Phyllotreta)

Habitat: common throughout the eastern and Pacific areas of the U.S

Size: 1.5 to 2.5 mm long

Predators/Prey: They like to eat foliage of young plants. Striped flea beetles infest many crucifers but prefer mustard, turnip, radish, and related weeds.

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Damsel Bug

Damsel Bug (Nabis americoferus)

Habitat: gardens, orchards and field crops

Size: 8-12 mm

Predators/Prey: They eat aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, mites, moth eggs, and sawfly larvae.

Lifespan: Nymphs develop gradually through five nymphal instars on about 50 days to become adults. Damsel bugs have only one generation per year.

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damsel bug

This is the original scanning electron microscope (SEM) image before it was colorized.

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Plant Bug

Western Tarnished Plant Bug (Lygus Hesperus)

Size: 3 to 6 mm

Predators/Prey: They feed on the sap of plants.

Lifespan: The life cycle is completed in three to four weeks. There are two to three generations per year.

Interesting facts: The western tarnished plant bug is a major pest that attacks cotton and strawberry plants. In California this bug causes many millions of dollars in damage to the cotton and strawberry industry.

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Ichneumon Wasp

Ichneumon Wasp (Hymenoptera)

Habitat: Ichneumonidae occur in a wide variety of habitats like gardens, meadows or woodlands.

Size: about 2 cm

Predators/Prey: These wasps are parasitoid, which means that their larvae feed on only one host organism and almost always kill it towards the end of their development.

Lifespan: 12-22 days

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Ladybug

Ladybug colorized

Ladybug (Hippodamia convergens)

Habitat: Ladybugs live just about anywhere; they live in trees, gardens, fields, and in homes. They like warm temperatures and they hibernate during the winter.

Size: 6-8mm

Predators/Prey: Their favorite food is aphids. If aphids are scarce they feed on nectar, pollen, and soft plant parts. Lifespan: The total time from egg to adult is about 30 days. As adults they live one to two years.

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lady bug SEM image

This is the original scanning electron microscope (SEM) image before it was colorized.

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Flower Beetle

Soft Winged Flower Beetle (Collops vittatus)

Habitat: Flower beetles are commonly found in cotton fields and other agricultural crops.

Size: 10 mm

Predators/Prey:These are important predators that feed on soft-bodied insects including whiteflies (eggs, nymphs and adults), aphids, mites and caterpillars.

Lifespan: 60-80 days

Interesting facts: Arizona researchers have found that Collops can be very important in the natural control of whiteflies in cotton.

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Bed Bug

Bed Bug (Cimex lectularius)

Habitat: Bed bugs can be found in beds, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, carpets and crevices on the floor or on walls.

Size: 4-5 mm

Predators/Prey: They feed on the blood of humans or other warm-blooded animals. Some have been known to live as long as a year without food.

Lifespan: 10-18 months

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beg bug SEM image

This is the original scanning electron microscope (SEM) image before it was colorized.

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Green Lacewing

Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carner)

Habitat: They live on gardens, vegetable gardens and agricultural fields.

Size: 15 to 22 mm

Predators/Prey: Larvae feed on aphids, mites, and small arthropods.  Adult green lacewings are divided in two diet categories: mainly predatory and mainly pollen, nectar and honeydew.

Life Span: They live 2.5 to 3 months

Interesting facts:

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green lacewing SEM image

This is the original scanning electron microscope (SEM) image before it was colorized.

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Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle (Canthon)

Habitat: They live in habitats that range from desert to forest.

Size: 1mm to 6 cm

Predators/Prey: They feed on animal droppings. Undigested bits of food found in animals dung is what provides food for dung beetles.

Life span: They can live up to 3 years

Interesting facts:

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canthon bug

This is the original scanning electron microscope (SEM) image before it was colorized.

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Seed beetle

Seed Beetle (Algarobius prosopis)

Habitat: Seed beetles and their larvae feed on beans and seeds of other plants, and their larvae develop inside a single seed.

Size: 2-4mm

Predators/Prey: They feed only on the seeds of plants.

Interesting facts: Seed beetles are also commonly called “bean weevils”, even though they are not weevils in the strict sense since they lack a long snout. In Arizona, they are common in the seeds of mesquite and “algarrobo” trees.

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SEM image of grass bug

This is the original scanning electron microscope (SEM) image before it was colorized.

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