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TRUE BUGS: Leaffooted Bugs: Giant Mesquite Bugs (Thasus neocalifornicus)
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mesquite bugGiant Mesquite Bugs, live, appropriately, on various species of mesquite tree in the Southwest US and in Mexico. You can find these large leaf-footed bugs most easily in late summer and fall. The males have extra-large hind legs with bumps and spines. The females have thin and smooth hind legs. They tend to gather in large groups on the trees. They are slow fliers and impossible to miss. Not long before the weather turns cold in late October, they will have laid their eggs on a tree branch or twig and died off, their missions complete.

Total lifespan from hatching until death: about 8 months. Eggs survive the winter and hatch in the spring. There are five larval stages called "instars," starting with the first, hatchling. After a several days or longer, the nymph will pull itself out of its old skin (molt), and expand its soft new shell to a larger size before it hardens. This cycle repeats until the sixth molt, when it become an adult with wings. At each stage the nymph has different patterns and colors. These bugs feed on mesquite flowers, beans and tree sap through a short straw-like mouth. Unlike mosquitoes and assassin bugs, these insects don't bite and are quite harmless to hold in your hand. See this page at BugGuide.net for details.


COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 1st instar nymph (hatchling)
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:1/24/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Soon after emerging from egg. Shell color will darken to black except for
light-red band on abdomen (middle section)

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 1st instar nymph (hatchling)
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:1/13/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Comment:

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 1st instar hatchlings and eggs
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:1/13/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Comment: Note one hatchling emerging from egg

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, molting from 1st to 2nd instar
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:2/4/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
It only takes a few minutes for the bug to emerge from its old shell. Head is at bottom
left, legs and antennae are held to close to the body

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, molting from 1st to 2nd instar
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:2/4/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Almost done! It has already expanded in size while its shell is still soft

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 2nd instar nymph just after molting
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:2/1/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
The shell will darken from red to black as it hardens. First instar nymph at bottom left

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 2nd instar nymph
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:1/28/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Note that legs now have red and black bands

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 3rd instar nymph
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:5/31/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Note white stripes on left and right of each abdominal segment

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 4th instar nymph with larger stage 5 nymph
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:5/31/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Note red-orange color around the white stripes

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, 5th instar nymph
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:5/31/2004
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
Note the white stripes on abdomen are ringed in black and surrounded mostly by red

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug adults on tree
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:10/11/2003
Location:Patagonia, Santa Cruz Co., AZ
Giant Mesquite Bug
How many can you find?

COMMON NAME: Giant Mesquite Bug, male, on mesquite bean pod
Class:Insecta
Order:Hemiptera - Heteroptera
Family:.
Sub-family:.
Genus:Thasus
Species:Thasus neocalifornicus
Date:8/2/2003
Location:Sierra Vista, Cochise Co., AZ
giant mesquite bug
How many can you find?

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