Thorn bug, Huejutla, Hidalgo, México by Eduardo Axel

Picture Story

In this photo we can see a congregation of thorn insects, belonging to the Umbonia crassicornis species, of the Membracidae family. These thorn insects have a very peculiar and striking shape and colors, which can vary according to the stage of development in which the insect is; In this case we have insects in their nymph stage (the smallest), in their juvenile stage (those of yellow color) and the adult (strong green color) that is the mother, being another of the characteristic characteristics of these insects, since who care for their young until they reach maturity. Another thing that draws attention is that, although they are of a very striking color, they perfectly camouflage themselves in their environment, their host plant is an arboreal species with large spines on which they also feed, this plant is known in Mexico by the name Huizache (Vachellia farnesiana). Each female will lay up to 100 eggs on a branch and once the young have matured to a point where they can leave the congregation, the males will first emerge about 7 meters from the host plant, while the females will leave. after and they stay closer traveling only 3 meters. This separation of the sexes helps discourage inbreeding and results in a more stable population. The species is restricted to warm climates, which limits its distribution to the tropical regions of northern South America to Mexico and Florida. As we can see, this is an amazing species and it was very gratifying to be able to photograph it.

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