Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A suitable name

with 10 comments

Can you see why this type of insect came to be called a leaffooted (or leaf-footed) bug? Yes, it’s because the flared-out portion of each rear leg reminded people of a dry leaf. Based on Valerie Bugh’s Austin Bug Collection, I’d say this insect is Leptoglossus zonatus. You may recognize the soft and narrow leaves supporting the bug as those of snow-on-the-prairie, Euphorbia bicolor, which you’ve seen here several times recently.

This photograph is from the same September 28th session in northeast Austin that produced the pictures of a prairie agalinis and an aster that appeared in the last two posts.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2012 at 6:09 AM

10 Responses

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  1. I’ve seen those in my garden eating my tomatoes before. I always hope to see assassin bugs (no leaf-like flaring on the back legs) but rarely do.


    October 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    • If you like, we can call this type of bug a tomato assassin, but I know that’s not what you had in mind. Not long ago I showed a true assassin bug in these pages, though it was getting nectar from a flower rather than being bellicose.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      • I like the idea of calling it a tomato assassin! They apparently also like to eat eggplant as well, though they stayed well away from my okra.


        October 10, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        • That makes sense, given that tomatoes and eggplant are both in the nightshade family, whereas okra is in the mallow family.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM

  2. I’m so glad I moved from Texas to WA state! In Texas, those things were the bane of my garden. I guess we don’t have them here in WA. In fact, I have hardly any bugs because the birds eat them all! 🙂


    October 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    • Each region has its pros and cons. Some of the most delightful species in Texas aren’t found in Washington, and vice versa.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2012 at 1:15 PM

  3. A great macro shot that almost makes the bug look pretty. Nice work.


    October 10, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    • Thanks. I could say that some of my best friends are bugs, but that would only be true photographically.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2012 at 8:09 PM

  4. Isn’t he a handsome fellow? I like his distinctly art-deco look. The design on his body, especially, looks much like the angular geometric forms and chevrons you see utilized in many art-deco buildings. Very nice, and nicely captured!


    October 11, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    • Ah, Buggus artdecoensis, a new name for the species. One of the hallmarks of a bug in the entomological sense is a “shield” of some sort on their backs, often with chevrons. I’m glad you enjoy the designs and the photo, and thanks for the comparison to Art Deco, which it never occurred to me to make.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM

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