Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

While it remains a mystery why anyone thought a peaceful green daisy-dwelling insect was a bed bug, the correct identification is Miridae, or plant bugs.

The mirids are one of evolution’s spectacular radiations. The family contains more than 10,000 mostly herbivorous species and is found worldwide. As many of you picked, mirids are especially recognizable by the cuneus, a portion of the fore wing that folds slightly downward and is separated from the rest of the wing by a subtle suture. I’ve indicated the cuneus on a tarnished plant bug here:

A Lygus sp. tarnished plant bug, showing the cuneus

For their efforts, the indefatigable JasonC wins 6 points for nailing the family ID with some supporting information. Entomologist Julie Stalhut picks up 4 points for being the first to provide the technical term, and Weird Bug Lady (who makes amazing plush insects) gets 4 more for noting the wing venation.

And I’m giving two points to Rob M because this was awesome.

This brings us to the end of month, and to the announcement of the July winner: JasonC.  Jason, please email me for your loot.

6 thoughts on “Answer to the Monday Night Mystery”

  1. Er. I’m assuming that Rob M.’s diagram of the “bed bug life cycle” is a hoax, made by altering a diagram of an aphid life cycle. I wonder how much of the general populace would be fooled by it into thinking that bedbugs will fly in their windows, and then burrow into their skin to lay eggs? If this diagram gets published widely, it could really freak out a lot of people.

  2. I love that the fall form (under the skin) is an ant. Hilarious. I’m going to use this in my entomology course final. The question: what is wrong with this picture?

  3. Bob definitely deserves more points for that, if he was the one who desinged it. It so neatly incorporates a large portion of human misunderstanding of “bugs”!

    I’m with Tim, though, this needs to be suppressed vigorously.

  4. I love it, especially that the hand is scratching the skin at 45 degrees? Any more or any less, the diagnosis would just not be right 🙂

  5. Ah, coasting by without knowing the material – it’s freshman calculus all over again. I have to disclaim that I stole much of the artwork; it is adapted from a diagram of aphid life cycles.

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