Is it a wasp? Is it an ant? No it’s a…

Broad-headed bug (Alydus eurinus). These bugs are common in goldenrod fields in autumn. When I first saw this insect, moving about the grass stems and goldenrod, flicking its wings, I followed after it because I thought it was a spider wasp. It was only when it stopped and I got a good close look at it that I discovered I’d been fooled by an outstanding mimic. Not only does the adult bug convincingly mimic black spider-hunting wasps, the younger nymphs of these bugs even more convincingly imitate ants! This profile, I surmise, must provide some level of protection as they sit and siphon off plant sap with that long, needle-like drinking straw of a mouth. Should you consider collecting one, be forewarned that they also protect themselves by emitting foul smelling pheromones, well in league with the stink bugs.

Broad-headed Bug (Alydus eurinus)
Lashbrook Park, Northfield
September 16, 2012
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