Lygaeidea & Pyrrhocoroidea

Ant-mimicking Seed Bug I
Ant-mimicking Seed Bug II
Brown Seed Bug
Black and White Seed Bug 

Family Lygaeidae - Seed Bugs, Milkweed Bugs, Chinch Bugs

This page contains pictures and information about Lygaeid Bugs in Family Lygaeidae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Milkweed Bug nymphs 
Bugs in family Lygaeidae are elongate to elongate-ovoid insects. The body is either dark gray-brown or brightly coloured, contrastingly marked with orange to red and black (Lygaeinae). The antennae and labium are 4-segmented. The pronotum has a transverse impression across the calli. The scutellum bears a raised Y-shaped marking. The abdominal spiracles are dorsal in position. Larval dorsal abdominal glands are present between terga IV/V and V/VI.
This family can be distinguished from the Miridae and Coreidae by their forewings which have 4-5 veins and mostly ocelli absent. The front section of their forewings is slightly harden and the back section membranous. Their hind wings are always membranous. They are usually brown to red in colour. Adults are from 4 to 20mm long, with oval shape and flattened body. Their antennae are four segmented. 
Lygaeid bugs in other subfamilies are usually small and cryptically colored ground dwellers. Milkweed Bugs in subfamily LYGAEINAE are of medium to large size, boldly patterned in red or orange and black, and are found on or in conspicuously placed plant seed pods. 
DSC_7163.jpg (316510 bytes) DSC_7159.jpg (295455 bytes) PWC_7592.jpg (180453 bytes)
Feeding on seeds 
Most species feed on plant seeds. They are specialise on seed feeding, using their sharp proboscis to pierce the hard seed coat and suck the nutritious sap from the inner tissues.
Some species live among the leaf where they suck seeds within the inflorescence. Others feed on the toxic sap of plants such as Parsonsia and have bright colours to advertise their own toxicity while some species live among leaves litter where they hunt for fallen seeds. Some are predaceous. They sometimes present in great numbers.
We found quite a number of different species in this family. They are listed as subfamilies as below. 

DSC_6020.jpg (360176 bytes)Subfamily ISCHNORHYNCHINAE - Brown Lygaeid Bugs
Bugs in this subfamily are small in size and brown in colours. 
DSCN1468.JPG (68091 bytes)Subfamily LYGAEINAE - Milkweed Bugs
Milkweed Bugs in subfamily LYGAEINAE are of medium to large size, boldly patterned in red or orange and black, and are found on or in conspicuously placed plant seed pods. Those bugs feed on many different species host plants and seeds of the plant family Asclepidaceae, Apocyanaceae, and Solanaciae. This feeding habit earned the subfamily LYGAEINAE the common name of milkweed bugs.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 499.
2. LYGAEIDAE - Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2002. 
3. Terrestrial Invertebrate Status Review (Brisbane City) - Dr John Stanisic, Queensland Museum, 2005, page 61.
4. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.  

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Last updated: May 06, 2012.