Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Usual Suspects- Bug Lineup

Whilst walking about ye olde garden a couple of days ago I came upon this lil' buggie, first on my Rose Mallow Hibiscus (from local Gardens Oy Vey years ago, perennial and AWESOME!) and then I noticed its presence on my hollyhock leaves:

There were a good amount, about 8 on the hibiscus, and a few on the hollyhock.  Each bug was 0.5cm in length and a couple thick.
I flicked off a couple from the hibiscus and refrained from squishing them because they could be unknown beneficials, you know?

Bah, this is just another reminder that I need to work on my bug identification....

Either way, a quick internet search helped me find a million pics of bugs that look similarly like mine.  Lots of tabs in a row like a crime lineup I think has helped me narrow down some bugs over others.

I think (more or less, hope) that it might be a soldier beetle of some type as it's a beneficial:

or a kind of robber fly:
(which is still fine, but not so good as these guys seem to kill both good and bad)

Some details that might nix this hope for a soldier beetle is that the antennae of this bug are smooth (at least at the distance I was viewing them at) and the wings are more fly-like than "leather-wing" like, a major characteristic of beetles. So maybe more robber-y?

Another thing is that the eyes of this particular bug I had are well, really buggy. They are bulbous and stick out on the side of the bug's head like Princess Lea's hair buns.

So, as none of these descriptors are exact matches for the ZILLIONS of bugs/beetles that there are I am stumped as to the certainty of my hope that it's a soldier beetle.

Wish I could go up to one and be like, "Good day sir, if I might inquire as to your presence in my garden and the nature of your visit?  Be you friend or foe?  Would you care for a shot of neem oil or some delicious rain water?"

Even better would be if Google could use its Goggles feature for nature rather than just products...  How awesome would that be?!   Conservationists and butterfly counters and the like could make use of their phones in the field!

Anyways though, If anyone has any ideas, or can direct me to a nice entomology professor  who'll actually write back to me with info it would be appreciated.