Thursday, April 18, 2013

Koa Bug

Coleotichus blackburniae
The Koa Bug is the largest species of true bug that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. They can be found on all of the main islands of the chain, living in Koa trees and `a`ali`i bushes.

Like all true bugs, Koa Bugs have no chewing mouth parts. Instead, they have a little tube-like mouth part that they use to get inside the seeds of their host plants. Once inside, they suck out the insides.

Kos Bugs are also members of the "Jeweled Bug" family, Scutelleridae. Because of this they sport an enlarged, sheild-shaped thorax. However, the Koa Bugs are different from many of their cousins because they do not have the ability to secrete a stinky, defensive chemical. They are sometimes called "Stinkless Stink Bugs".

Unfortunately, the Koa Bug populations are being hurt by some introduced species. Non-native Stink Bugs made their way to the islands and started to cause damage. To get rid of those invasive bugs, a Stinkbug-eating Fly was brought in... only it can't tell the difference between the native and non-native bugs. Though you can still find Koa Bugs on most of the larger islands, the population is declining.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Hawaii
Size : Body length up to 15mm
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Hemiptera
Family : Scutelleridae -- Genus : Coleotichus -- Species : C. blackburniae
Image : Libraries Impact Learning

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