Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Harmostes bug

with 43 comments

Pale Green Bug on Ageratina havanensis 7329

How about this bug in the genus Harmostes that I found on an Ageratina havanensis bush that was flowering way out of season on June 8th along Old Spicewood Springs Road? (Thanks to the folks at bugguide.net for quickly identifying the genus.)

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 2, 2015 at 5:29 AM

43 Responses

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  1. I’m not a bug person, but have to admit they are fascinating seen up close.


    September 2, 2015 at 6:34 AM

    • Now I get to say that at least in this case the bug didn’t bug you. The bugs with “shields” on their backs appeal to my sense of geometry.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2015 at 7:54 AM

  2. What a handsome fellow! I am reading a wonderful book you might enjoy, called “A Buzz in the Meadow” by a retired entomologist.


    September 2, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    • Probably not a lot of people would use the word handsome for a bug, but I’d say it fits. Have you painted any portraits of handsome insects?

      Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll add it to my list.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2015 at 7:59 AM

      • I haven’t painted any bugs, actually. A few butterflies, but no bugs. I did draw a series of box elder bugs in my sketch book. They are pretty cute when they are little.


        September 2, 2015 at 8:56 PM

        • That could be said of many of us people, too, don’t you think?

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 2, 2015 at 9:19 PM

          • Snicker….


            September 4, 2015 at 8:27 AM

            • I’d rather have a Mounds bar.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 4, 2015 at 1:16 PM

              • Really? Well, to each his own…


                September 6, 2015 at 8:32 AM

                • As the French say: Chacun à son goût, Each to his own taste. I like to translate it as Each to his own goo, which in the case of Snickers and Mounds is appropriate for a climate as warm as the one in Austin.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 6, 2015 at 8:43 AM

                • Ah, yeah, yuck! Here, as well although my calendar assures me fall is on its way.


                  September 6, 2015 at 9:34 AM

                • Aussi, c’est le mot juste.


                  September 6, 2015 at 9:35 AM

                • I won’t ask you to juste-ify that.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 6, 2015 at 10:33 AM

                • Bon, parce-que I have forgotten most of my French.


                  September 6, 2015 at 10:39 AM

                • In that case I won’t ask you to Frenchify the second part of your sentence.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 6, 2015 at 10:53 AM

                • Whew, that’s good. Are you fluent in French, as well as Spanish?


                  September 6, 2015 at 10:57 AM

                • I had three years of French in high school, then majored in French in college. Along the way I took a couple of years of Portuguese and spent much of the summer of 1966 in Lisbon, so when I applied to the Peace Corps I put my first choice as Brazil and figured I was a shoo-in, because how many applicants could the Peace Corps get who’ve already had two years of Portuguese? Bureaucracy being what it is, the Peace Corps offered me Honduras, and that’s how I ended up learning Spanish. After Latin (also three years in high school), French, and Portuguese, I already had a big head start on Spanish. In fact during my first Portuguese course all but one other person in the class had already studied lots of Spanish, so I’d learned some of that language on the side in tandem with the Portuguese.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 6, 2015 at 3:26 PM

                • That is impressive. I found Portuguese difficult to learn for some reason but French came easily. I have often wondered if there is some genetic memory at work, as I am half French myself. Do you think there is anything to this?
                  That is really cool that you were in the Peace Corps.


                  September 7, 2015 at 8:49 AM

                • I’d have thought that the nasal vowels of French would have given you an advantage with Portuguese, even if they’re not all the same nasal vowels. There’s also the fact that knowledge of one Romance language provides a big head start on another, but once again I’ll have to say: Chacun(e) à son goût.

                  I’m not convinced that there’s genetic memory of that sort, especially on such a short scale. A couple can have ancestors in their location going back hundreds or thousands of years, but if that couple moves to a foreign country and has children, those children will be native speakers of the new country’s language.

                  Being with the Peace Corps in Honduras was better than being with the army in Vietnam.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 7, 2015 at 1:36 PM

  3. Strong hind legs and very narrow front. Good for pushing through the flowery parts. That hind wing edge could use a bit of repair. I doubt if that will happen.

    Jim in IA

    September 2, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    • That’s a good insect insight about being able to push through the flowery parts. I’ll add that bugs of this sort can also fly, and over the years I’ve had plenty of them fly away when I got too close with my camera.

      I, too, noticed the damaged rear edge of the wing, though I gave no thought to repairing it. I doubt the missing bit was enough to interfere with flight.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2015 at 8:06 AM

  4. ….I am not given to insect items, but how lovely this creature’s wings are–AND, now I know the name of what appears to be the same insect we find here in late Spring (though it is brown, yet with the same shape). So you are always teaching and me learning.


    September 2, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    • You and Melissa (who commented above), both painters, found something to like in the patterns of this insect’s wings. Maybe you and she will be inspired to paint some insects now.

      As a long-time teacher, I find it second nature (pun intended) to pass along what I’ve learned. In this case, it’s that many genera of bugs have the same general shape and shield-like appearance, so Harmostes may or may not be the right genus for the brown bug you’ve noticed. If you take a photograph of one next spring, you can submit it to bugguide.net for identification the way I did with this one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2015 at 8:15 AM

  5. Wow, great shot! Bugs are so interesting up close. So many structural variations!

    Art at Hand

    September 2, 2015 at 8:34 AM

  6. nice picture


    September 2, 2015 at 8:53 AM

  7. This is one of those ‘stink bugs’ that give off odor if you touch it (to move out of house), isn’t it? The ones here are duller colors (this one is beautiful). Like iguanas, these guys just ‘ooze’ prehistoric, don’t they? I love them because they conjure such images of ancient times.

    Sammy D.

    September 2, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    • As far as I know—and I don’t know a lot about insects—this is not a stinkbug, though it and stinkbugs are both in the Hemiptera:


      My modus operandi is take pictures first, then try to identify. There are plenty of patterns and textures to play with in insects like this bug.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2015 at 2:21 PM

  8. Cute as a bug in a….plant which is a suitable place for these, I guess. I always get a chuckle when seeing plant bugs…and others…with their legs all spread out like this. I don’t know about me…seeing bugs as cute, but I do.
    Your Ageratina havanensis blooms remind me a little of my boneset flowers.

    Steve Gingold

    September 2, 2015 at 2:46 PM

    • As a long-time portrayer of insects, you know whereof you speak, and we could say that your eyes have grown more acute to a cute bug when you find one.

      This Ageratina used to be classified as a Eupatorium, which may well be the genus of the boneset you have in Massachusetts. With all your antics in nature, I hope you haven’t ever needed to have a bone set—especially not from photographing boneset.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2015 at 4:55 PM

      • Well, there you go… boneset is indeed a Eupatorium. I’ve only broken bones at home (walking into the brick base for our wood stove) or playing softball in the wrong kind of shoes. Oh, yeah…I walked into a door jamb once on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Nothing bad in nature so far. Sounds like I should live outdoors instead of a house.

        Steve Gingold

        September 2, 2015 at 5:46 PM

        • It sure sounds like the outdoors is safer for you than the indoors. I hear they make some pretty good tents these days.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 2, 2015 at 8:11 PM

  9. So cool, the detail is so amazing…Just so spectacular.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 2, 2015 at 10:51 PM

  10. A bijou of a bug.


    September 3, 2015 at 6:34 AM

    • Good alliteration and good image. You’ve reminded me of the time when I studied French in high school and learned the nouns ending in -ou that make their plural with -x rather than the usual -s:

      bijou, caillou, chou, genou, hibou, joujou, pou.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 3, 2015 at 7:06 AM

      • What fun to find three words that are part of my experience in Cajun country: caillou (Bayou Petit Caillou connects Cocodrie and Houma), chou (a term of endearment, mon petit chou), and joujou, which I’ve heard used as “toy” or “plaything.”

        I suppose because I favor all the shades of turquoise and terracotta, I tend to spot them, and that’s the first thing I noticed about this bug. It has just enough of the blue and brown to remind me of your previous photo, and of course the one from New Zealand. I do like the metallic sheen. His decoration looks almost like copper and turquoise.


        September 3, 2015 at 7:36 PM

        • As for the other four, bijou means ‘jewel’ (remember all those movie theaters named the Bijou?), genou means ‘knee’ (as in genuflect), hibou means ‘owl,’ and pou means ‘louse.’

          I hadn’t paid as much attention as you did to the brown in this bug, but it does make for a good Southwestern connection. I don’t recall seeing any artwork from that region that shows insects, but there may well be.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 3, 2015 at 8:48 PM

  11. About time I came over for another wildflowers fix–but then, here I am commenting on this bug! Such an elegant “coat” it has on; I can imagine it (writ large) on display in an art museum.

    Susan Scheid

    September 6, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    • I hope it doesn’t bug you that you find yourself attracted to a bug when you thought you were coming over for wildflowers. If you have an in with any art museum, Susan, you’re welcome to put in a plug.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 6, 2015 at 3:18 PM

  12. Excelente macro ¡enhorabuena!

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    September 8, 2015 at 5:03 AM

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