Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lint Bug: The Aphid Wolf

Have you ever seen a lint bug?  Up until a few months ago I thought they were inconsequential, but cute,  little insects living on tree trunks.  I never really thought about what they ate, or their role in the ecosystem.

While doing research for another assignment I came across an article about lint bugs, and found they are brown lacewing larva.  As many of us know, green lace wing larva are voracious predators of many arthropod plant pests, and so are the larva of their brown winged cousins.  One web-site even referred to them as Aphid Wolfs.  They carry debris on their back for camouflage, and interestingly enough, some of that debris is actually body parts from their victims.  I might have a new favorite insect.

That gray pile of debris is a lint bug in a sea of  gloomy scale.

I snagged this close up picture from www.whatsthatbug.com