Monday, July 17, 2017

Spiny Assassin Bug Eggs and Babies

 In my native plant garden recently I found these very attractive eggs on the underside of a swamp milkweed leaf.  I thought they were some kind of squash bug egg and kept them to see what would hatch.

The eggs were small, but quite a bit larger than the Monarch butterfly eggs I had been looking for, and placed in these very nice rows, for a total of 15 eggs.

 The eggs had a very symmetrical pattern and were facing in the same direction.
I thought the eggs looked a bit like a tiny football, with their shiny, copper color and pattern.

I don't know how old  they were when I found them, but 5 days after finding them they hatched and I was very surprised to see what the hatchlings looked like.  Not at all what I was expecting.
 All 15 eggs hatched.  And the hatchlings were a surprising bright red with many black spines all over their bodies.

Their antenna were longer than their bodies and legs, and were waving all around as they started to move away from the eggs as a group.
They obviously expanded their bodies quite a bit after emerging from their eggs.

Spiny Assassin Bugs are true bugs, and in the insect order called Hemiptera.  All true bugs have a tube-like sucking mouth, and they either suck plant juices, or prey on other insects and suck the juices from their prey.

Spiny Assassin Bugs are predators and capture other insects to eat.

As they eat they grow, and need to shed their skins to grow.  With each shed they look different, so see below.

This is what the Spiny Assassin Bug looks like in its second instar, after it has shed its skin once.

I will try to post pictures of their next instars, but will need to recapture one as they have been released back into the native wildflower garden to contribute their part to the very active ecosystem there.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Siah St. Clair, May I ask permission to use photograph of the monarch egg? I would like to use it in an art quilt. Please contact me back at
    Sincerely, Kay Strebeck