A Sharp Dressed Bug
I found this bug yesterday, on a very decrepit goatweed plant. I have been reading The Practical Entomologist by Rick Imes, and learning the basic insect orders, so I recognized that this is a hemiptera or “half-winged” insect, and I was able to find it pretty quickly in the Kaufmann insect guide. It is the Spot-sided Coreid, Hypselonotus punctiventris, and it is in the same family as Leaf-footed Bugs and Squash Bugs. It was about an inch long I would say, but if you click on the images you can see a much larger version.
The black section with white lines on its shoulder area looks to me like tuxedo lapels with a white tie, and its black-striped legs look like spiffy socks.
It was dusk when I found it, so I tried a shot with flash. The spotlight effect on its bronzy wings reminded me even more of an entertainer on a very tiny stage.
I started to think he looked pretty sharp, and being from Texas, that brought to mind the ZZ Top* song, “Sharp Dressed Man.” So with just two minor changes to the lyrics, I give you:
Sharp Dressed Bug
Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don’t know where I am goin’ to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don’t need a reason why.
They come runnin’ fast to give me a hug
Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed bug.
BugGuide.net linked its page to this amazing illustration from the Biologia Centrali-Americana, a book that was begun in 1879 and was expected to go to 12 volumes of 500 pages each, but instead was not published until 1915, by which time it had reached 63 volumes, and had also included archaeology. The whole thing is online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the plates are amazing.
*If you don’t know ZZ Top, I’m sorry. We can remedy that. Here’s the video. If you watch it, I hope you are imagining a version with a little sharp dressed bug.