Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Hibiscus scentless plant bug

with 14 comments


At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 8th the Lady Eve drew my attention to the insects on various parts of a halberdleaf rose mallow plant (Hibiscus laevis). Those insects turned out to be (thanks, bugguide.net) hibiscus scentless plant bugs (Niesthrea louisianica). You’re looking at an adult above and two nymphs below. Colorful critters, don’t you think?




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A common theme in all my commentaries is that justice requires that all people be afforded the same rights. Alas, too often these days our governments and institutions act according to the satirical principle that George Orwell set forth in his allegorical novel Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

On September 5th I pointed out how Amazon acted illegally by treating contractors of different races differently. Just two days ago I pointed out a dorm that was allowing everyone except white people into its common spaces. Yesterday I learned about still another example of illegal racial discrimination, and it’s right here in my own state:

The largest public university in the United States is reserving faculty positions based on race and making six-figure bonuses available exclusively to minorities, programs that are now the subject of a class action lawsuit.

As part of a new initiative to attract “faculty of color,” Texas A&M University set aside $2 million in July to be spent on bonuses for “hires from underrepresented minority groups,” according to a memo from the university’s office of diversity. The max bonus is $100,000, and eligible minority groups are defined by the university to include “African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians.”

To learn more, you can read the full September 13th article by Aaron Sibarium in the Washington Free Beacon.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2022 at 4:25 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

14 Responses

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  1. Indeed, a very nice and special color patern.


    September 15, 2022 at 6:56 AM

    • And made even more appealing by the fact that I’d never seen this kind of insect before.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2022 at 7:21 AM

  2. On the lower of the two nymphs in the second photo, the pattern is remarkably chevron-like. It reminded me of the orb weaver Steve G. recently posted. The difference between the adult and the nymphs is akin to the difference between cactus bug nymphs and adults. I need to dig up a photo of the adult cactus bug to ease the “ewwww” factor for those who saw their nymphs as tick-like. This adult is one fancy bug, that’s for sure.


    September 15, 2022 at 7:04 AM

    • ps: a home-schooling mother in California was trying to identify a nymph-turned-bug she and her kids had raised inside a jar. I sent her to BugGuide, where she registered, posted the photo, and got an almost immediate response (hoverfly). Now, she and her kids have another resource to use.


      September 15, 2022 at 7:21 AM

      • BugGuide has been a great help over the years. Sometimes, as you described, I’ve had almost immediate responses. At other times a reply has come weeks after I’ve posted a picture for identification. In a few cases I’ve never gotten a response. I’ve gotten most of my submissions identified, so I’m grateful to BugGuide.

        Steve Schwartzman

        September 15, 2022 at 8:02 AM

    • I do see the chevrons you pointed out. (Etymologically, the word recognizes the likeness of something to the diverging horns of a goat.) There is indeed a resemblance to the marking on the orb weaver spider. I do hope you’ll dig up a photo of the adult cactus bug to “debug” the “ewwww” factor for those who saw their nymphs as tick-like. For all the time I spend wandering around in underbrush, I’ve been fortunate in almost never having gotten tick bites. Chiggers are a very different story.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2022 at 7:34 AM

  3. The scentless plant bug looks very similar to the ubiquitous stinkbug in our area. It does not belong to my favourite bugs since it emits a foul smell when touched.

    Peter Klopp

    September 15, 2022 at 9:57 AM

    • Fortunately (for people) this bug falls into the scentless category, so I paid no price for getting close to it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2022 at 10:38 AM

  4. That’s a handsome species.

    Steve Gingold

    September 15, 2022 at 2:54 PM

    • It is, and so are the flowers:

      Halberdleaf rosemallow

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2022 at 4:10 PM

      • When I first clicked the link I wasn’t sure if we were acquainted then and I had not checked the like button so did not know for sure until I scrolled down and saw my comment. It is lovely and obviously does not need the attraction of scent to draw a photographer in.

        Steve Gingold

        September 15, 2022 at 4:16 PM

        • Yes, we’ve been commenting back and forth for a long time. And yes, this flower requires no scent. I’ve returned to rose mallows a bunch of times in the years since 2013.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 15, 2022 at 4:52 PM

  5. Cool! X marks the spot on the adult.


    September 17, 2022 at 12:24 PM

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