A bug's legs

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Maypop, Passiflora incarnata, is passion vine with lovely purple flowers. It has been a great

Fancy legs on this leaf-footed bug.

draw at home for Gulf fritillaries, even though it has developed strategies that try to discourage butterflies from laying their

Nectar glands on calyx of
a passion flower.

eggs on the leaves. Its flower buds have nectaries on the edges of the calyces that draw ants, presumably to attack butterfly larvae.  In addition to the ants, the plant tries to discourage butterfly egg-laying by producing glands on the leaf stems that appear to be eggs already in place. The butterflies still are ahead in this little evolutionary game.

However, the vine has drawn another critter that has arrived from the Caribbean. It's a leaf-footed bug, whose official name is Chondrocera laticornis. Its antennae have little swellings in various segments, but those smart leaf-like back legs are hard to beat. Figures. South Florida always draws the flashiest.