Friday, May 09, 2008

Further Serendipity With Wheel Bugs

Wow. I went back outside to see if the hatchling wheel bugs had dispersed away from the egg clusters yet, and found that new eggs were I watched!

As you can see, the newly hatching wheel bugs come out a light, bright orange. When I first saw them, I wondered if they had been parasitized or if something else had laid eggs interspersed with the wheel bug eggs. Evidently, though, that's just the color they come out. Then, as they harden, they turn black with a red abdomen.

It also intrigued me to see how they came out of the egg - head first through the whitish top of each egg. It's like a well-packed box, the kind where once you unpack it, you have to wonder how it all actually fit neatly inside the original dimensions. Try as you will, you can never pack it all back in.

I checked to see if any other egg clusters were hatching, and in a short time I found a total of 4, all with newly emerging babies amid a group of already emerged ones. It amazes me how insect lives can be so closely coordinated, despite seemingly great distances separating them.

It reminds me of how the termite colonies all emitted their winged reproductive termites on the same day, at basically the same time, around Mobile. Of course, I can understand how the timing of that event would be critical - for proper genetic recombination, reproductives from multiple colonies need to be flying (and mating) at the same time.

I'm not sure that I understand why it would be so important for the wheel bugs eggs to emerge in such a closely coordinated event...but whether I understand it or not, it's evidently what occurs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. I've searched all over the web and STILL haven't seen anyone mention watching how they mature.. Every year for about 2 mos (I'm in Fl) I have them all over my fences where I work and I've been watching them for 5 yrs now. See how the new bugs are all bright orange and hanging upside down like that coming out of the "eggs"? No one ever mentions how these bugs CONTINUE to do this "hatching/shedding" process over and over but coming out of what looks like their "old" bodies,leaving a shell of themselves hanging once they fully emerge. They hang upside down andthose orange butts break open where they connect to the head and out comes a whole new and even BIGGER bug.. Its like they are shedding or growing themselves bigger somehow inside of themselves.. and they do it everytime that big orange part gets a certain size.. When they come out of the old shell they are bright orange,then turn black and the butt looks all shrivled up and black. Then it turns orange and swells and they rehatch again....