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:
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:
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 . 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