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Dodonaea decorations

December 14, 2015

Metallic shield bugIt’s collection time in our seed production area, which was set up to supply seed for the Goulburn Broken Indigenous Seed Bank at University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus. One of the species is Narrow-leaf Hop-bush (Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustissima) which attracts a wide variety of colourful bugs (order Hemiptera) and beetles (order Coleoptera).

Most of the bugs appear to be intricately patterned shield-back bugs belonging to the family Scutelleridae, commonly known as Jewel Bugs or Metallic Shield Bugs. It is not entirely clear what they are feeding on, but they do seem to be found mostly on bushes with an abundance of seed capsules. True bugs have piercing and sucking mouth parts, compared to beetles which have biting, chewing mouth parts.

Click on any of the photos below and view as a slide show.
Could these be the new natural alternative for festive season tree decorations?

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