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Spined Soldier Bug

The Spined Soldier Bug is a predatory stink bug which preys on a variety of other insects (over 90 species), especially the larvae of butterflies, moths and beetles. It is one insect that farmers actually welcome, as it preys heavily on the larvae of the European corn borer, Mexican bean beetle, cabbage looper, Colorado potato beetle, flea beetles and many other crop pests. The adult Spined Soldier Bug has a prominent spine on each “shoulder.” It also has piercing-sucking mouthparts which it uses to impale prey and suck out their internal juices. The photograph shows a Spined Soldier Bug dining on the innards of a monarch caterpillar.

7 responses

  1. Christopher F Holland

    To the right of the caterpillar are a batch of yellow things? Seed pods? dust from a streaking yellow fairy? Plus there seems to be a bug amongst the yellow petals,” a fly perhaps?

    Thanks for the entertainment.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    • The yellow insects are aphids, which are there to suck the sap from the milkweed plant. I am not sure if the reddish insect is another stage of the aphid, or another insect altogether!

      August 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

  2. Dexter

    I’m surprised to see the beetle eating the monarch caterpillar. I thought they were really poisonous a a result of all the milkweed they eat. Are there many insects that seek out and tollerate monarchs for munching?

    August 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    • Hi Dexter,
      Ants, spiders and wasps all prey on monarch larvae, and for some reason aren’t affected by the cardiac glycosides. There are also a number of wasp and fly parasitoids (their larvae feed on their host from the inside) that target monarch larvae.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm

  3. Al Stoops

    Some information about the orange milkweed aphid, an interesting creature itself.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm

  4. Kathryn Connell

    I wish he’d leave the monarch alone and go after those creepy little aphids.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm

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