Sunday, August 1, 2010

Harlequin in the parsley patch


My lovely wife Pammy is my 'spotter'. She spots things out in the garden that I miss. Eagle-eyed she is, which of course is a good quality for a botanical illustrator to possess. This morning, she spotted this person in our parsley patch. Yes, it's hard to miss, but of course eagle-eyes didn't miss it.

It's a cotton harlequin bug, Tectocoris diophthalmus. I had to get in for a closer look...

That's better. Then I did what I always do when I'm not sure of what I'm photographing. I Googled it. Shoot and Google, that's my policy.

And good old Google, or more specifically the Australian Museum website, set me straight. This is a juvenile Cotton Harlequin Bug, a brand-newie, which will turn orange (with spots) as it matures into an adult. Those blue bits glint with a metallic wink in the sunshine.

Apparently I am lucky, in that we are currently infested with a single little kid of a Cotton Harlequin bug. My Googling tells me that these bugs, when they appear in large numbers, can be destructive little sap-suckers in gardens. They do attack cotton crops, as their name implies, and they love a good suck-and-chomp on hibiscus, abutilons (Chinese lanterns) and any other hibiscus family plants. However, they ain't fussy it seems, and any juicy flower buds can become its dinner.

I practise 'live and let live' as much as possible here in Amateur Land. So s/he's welcome here, and a pretty addition in fact. If s/he invites the gang around for a flower-munching party on, say, my citrus trees, I might have to get out the soap spray, but until then I'm happy to welcome this beautiful child into my garden.

9 comments:

julie paterson - garden said...

what a beautiful looking bug....perhaps he is attempting to mesmerize u with brilliant colour, whilst he secretly invites his friends!

patientgardener said...

What a gorgeous beetle. Looks like a little jewel

Jill said...

Very pretty!

Tracy said...

I have to say that I know very little, if nothing, of gardening. However, this particular blog struck me as beautifully interesting and I want to follow it, so I am. I love that you live in Sidney and I in Florida. I love this globalization and all it entails. Ok, one glass of vino too many. tata! Tracy

Claudia said...

We don't have that fabulous bug here in Hawaii. I'd like a pair of earrings like that!

On another note, I found your post on curry trees while I was looking for more information about the berries, and whether they're used in cooking. By the way, Charmaine's cookbook is also my favorite. Have you used them at all?

Jamie said...

Tracy: glad you like the blog. Hopefully I'll be able to get you into gardening, as Florida should be a wonderful place to grow all sorts of things.

Claudia: I've never used the berries in cooking, only the leaves. Charmaine Solomon has also put out an Encyclopedia of Asian food, and it the entry on 'curry leaf' she doesn't mention the berries at all, so I can only presume they are not used in cooking.

Brusseykins said...

Oh my God, the SAME bug landed on MY parsley a week ago! Well, probably not the same bug, but the same species... I missed out on getting a photo, though! Enjoying hat I've seen of your blog so far!

life in a pink fibro said...

I've seen these around the Fibro (am hoping it's just one that moves around a lot) and wondered what they were. Thank heavens for you (and Google). Is Pam drawing it? Can we see her illo please??? Pretty please?

Tracy said...

yes, I think I might try to start out small in the gardening adventure. Possibly this fall...it's a thought...