We were picking blueberries today when I spotted this tiny insect. At first I thought it was the nymph of a pest-munching assassin bug, but then I spotted its knife-like mouthpart (called a rostrum) inserted into an unripe blueberry. I knew then it was a vegetarian and not an assassin. I couldn’t resist this little leaf-footed bug’s iridescent blue coloration and ran for the camera. Though leaf-footed bugs are plant eaters (or suckers, rather) they don’t really do any significant damage. Notice this little nymph’s enlarged back legs? Now you know where the name leaf-footed bug comes from!
At first I only noticed a little bee clinging to this blue vervain (Verbena hastata) in the outdoor gardens at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh. As I got closer, I noticed that the bee was too still to be alive. I touched it gently with my finger and it quickly scuttled away – but not on its own six legs! The jagged ambush bug (Phymata sp.) that had captured the bee ran around the stem to keep me from stealing his lunch. He wasn’t happy with my camera’s lens only an inch away, but he stood still long enough for me to take a few shots. I find a few dozen ambush bugs in my own garden every season. They are tough to spot because they are well camouflaged and only about a third of an inch long. I find them most often on, or in, a flower – lying in wait to ambush their prey