The impaler

There are always outsiders in entomology, groups that don’t follow the norm. We’re taught, for example, that stink bugs are herbivorous (and often pests), that some feed on nitrogen-rich reproductive parts of plants while others feed on somatic tissue. So when you see a pentatomid on a light trap, you might think “How cute, look at this little bug! I wonder if there’s a plant around here it might feed on“. Then along comes the nasty little critter and impales a moth like it’s a scene from 300:

The poor moth never stood a chance

The poor moth never stood a chance

One might think it’s a fluke and not a regular occurrence, but then the next night you see the same thing, only this time it’s a poor ant that gets eaten:

Ant on a stick

As it turns out, there’s an entire subfamily of stink bugs (Pentatomidae: Asopinae) that is predatory, and it has been used as a pest control agent [1]. While its entomophagous habits are pretty well documented, I had never actually seen one. Finding out that some stink bugs make insect smoothies was one of the highlights of my recent jungle trip; I’ll leave the other ones for future blog posts!

1.- Robert G. Foottit and Peter H. Adler, 2009. Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN: 978-1-405-15142-9 Chapter 10: Biodiversity of Heteroptera – Thomas J. Henry


4 thoughts on “The impaler

  1. Pingback: They go "Crunch"

  2. Pingback: Wasp-mimicking katydids | They go "Crunch"

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