Harlequin Bug

Dindymus versicolor

Family:

Order: Hemiptera

Description:

Adult

Colour - Red and black with green or yellow abdomen. Bars of white on the thorax.

Body - Up to 12 mm. Oval.

Wings - 2 Pairs, both used in flight. Held flat and overlapping position when at rest. Coupled. Adults can fly Younger nymphs are wingless. Wing-span 15 mm. Bands on the forewing. Folded wings form 2 red triangles.

Mouthparts - Stylet. Sucking. Near rear of head.

Antennae - 3-10 segments.

Eyes - 2. Compound.

Legs -Long and slender. Feet (Tarsi) have 4 segments.

Head -Wedge shaped. Black.

Thorax - 3 segments.

Abdomen - Eight pairs of spiracles on underside.

Egg - ovoid.

Habits - Can't fly when cold. Give of an obnoxious odour if threatened.

Nymphs

Similar to adults. Usually 5 stages (instars).

Biology:

Life Cycle:

Adults over winter in sheltered crevices and cracks in tree trunks. Eggs are laid in undisturbed herbage or crevices in spring. They hatch to produce nymphs that look and behave similarly to the adult and wander freely to seek preferred plants such as mallows and Hibiscus.

Habitats:

Origin and History:

Distribution:

Significance:

Feed on young shoots and the underside of leaves of deciduous fruit, mallows, Hibiscus, Thomasia, Abutilon and Alyogyne. An occasional pest of ripe deciduous fruit and vegetables. Causes wilting of leaves, shrivelling of berries and mark petals of flowers. A minor pest vegetables, raspberries and dahlias.

Management and Control:

Spaying is usually uneconomic. Bugs do not breed freely in cultivated areas. Worst problems are usually adjacent to vacant undisturbed land with a thick mat of grass and herbage.

Related Species:

Similar Species:

Aphids, Lerps, various 'bugs' leafhoppers and scales.

References:

CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p502, 503.

Child, J.C. Australian Insects. Periwinkle Books. p38.

Jones, D. & Elliot, R. Pests Diseases and Ailments of Australian Plants. Lothian Publishing Co. p48, 49.

Froggatt, W.W. Australian Insects. William Brooks & Co. p335.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.