Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Harmostes bug

with 15 comments

Harmostes Bug on Horesmint Flowers by Firewheel 7371

From June 8th, 2015—a year ago today—along Old Spicewood Springs Road, here’s a mostly side view of a bug in the genus Harmostes, which crowned some horsemint flowers, Monarda citriodora. The imaginary sunset in the background, whose warm colors contrasted so pleasingly with the green of the bug and parts of the horsemint that it dominated, was a firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella.

Note: I’m away from home and will be for a while. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

UPDATE: Out of the blue, on August 29, 2021, a contributor to bugguide.net identified another of my pictures showing this bug as Harmostes reflexulus.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2016 at 5:28 AM

15 Responses

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  1. Be safe, Steven, wherever you are. Carina

    • The main threat yesterday was poison ivy, which looks different here in northeast Illinois than it does back in Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2016 at 6:52 AM

  2. Rich colours … I wonder what that little bug sees when she looks about her? Do insects also see beauty in their world?


    June 8, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    • My impression is that an insect can be attracted to a scent or color but doesn’t have a concept of beauty. I wonder how we could ever find out if that’s the case.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2016 at 9:13 PM

  3. Really lovely photograph Steven!


    June 8, 2016 at 8:43 AM

  4. Very attractive bug. The bug’s coloration ties in nicely with the background.

    Steve Gingold

    June 8, 2016 at 2:53 PM

  5. Pretty bug made prettier by its surroundings


    June 8, 2016 at 9:02 PM

  6. I think your bug is handsome … (are bugs handsome?) And what a glorious image, colours and contrast – superb!


    June 9, 2016 at 1:00 AM

  7. I don’t remember noticing before that Harmostes comes from a root that means “to fit or join together.” That certain describes the striking designs on the bug’s back, which look a good bit like marquetry.

    It was interesting to find references to harmosts as “the name of the governors whom the Lacedaemonians, after the Peloponnesian war, sent into subject or conquered towns, partly to keep them in submission, and partly to abolish the democratic form of government, and establish in its stead one similar to their own.” There’s a lot of “it seems” and “it may be” in the reference, but finding the same word in etymology and politics tickles me.


    June 9, 2016 at 6:14 AM

    • The Indo-European root in question has been a very productive one. Closest in form to harmostes among regular English words is harmony, borrowed from Greek. Cynical me is inclined to say that etymology is much more harmonious than politics.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2016 at 6:13 PM

  8. […] mean any kind of insect). Naturalist Ken Wohlgemuth says it might be in the genus Harmostes (which I showed a member of in 2015). Click below to truly enlarge the true […]

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