Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the March 30, 2009 Newsletter, issued from near Natchez, Mississippi:
EASTERN LEAF-FOOTED BUG
In the abandoned orchard area several thistles are flowering. Usually you can find crawling around the flowers of most of the plants the bug shown above.
That's the Eastern Leaf-footed Bug, LEPTOGLOSSUS PHYLLOPUS. Other bugs, especially "stink bugs," share the species' general shape and large size, about 3/4- inch long, but only leaf-footed bugs possess the fanlike wings on the hindlegs' tibias. Among several species of leaf-footed bugs, only the Eastern Leaf-footed wears such a white bar across the back.
And thistles are considered the Eastern Leaf-footed Bug's prime natural host plant. However, the species has proven flexible enough to move onto many human-cultivated plants where sometimes it causes lots of damage -- on fruit and seeds of cotton, peaches, and tomatoes, beans, black-eyed peas, and sorghum, stems and tender leaves of plants such as potatoes, and more.