Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter


from the March 30, 2009 Newsletter, issued from near Natchez, Mississippi:

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.