Master of Disguise – Thorn Bug

Thorn Bug and Nymphs

An elongated ornate shaped horn, pronotum (slightly curved spine), appears on their backs. This horn is used as a deterrent for predators. It also acts as camouflage allowing the thorn bug to appear as a thorn, thus blending with the plant’s foliage.

Female thorn bugs are known for being great caregivers. Since the adult females guard, and tend to their brood, the nymphs have an astonishing 50% survival rate. Adult and juvenile thorn bugs are active all year, especially during the cooler months.

Thorn bugs are known for their unique ability to create multiple sounds for communication. Adult male thorn bugs fly from plant to plant attempting to find a mate using certain sounds as a courtship call. Other communication consists of warning signals (vibrating noises) announcing the arrival and the location of any predators.

Interesting Facts

  • Greatest predator – the wasp
  • Thorn bugs are harmless to humans
  • Mature thorn bugs are roughly ½ inch in length
  • Thorn bugs diets consists of various legumes and fruit trees
  • Thorn bugs reside in Florida, Southern Texas down to Central America.
  • The adults and juveniles both feed on the nutrients of the same trees they reside
  • Adult thorn bugs are green or yellow with reddish lines and brownish markings
  • Adult males and females of the same species can sometimes have quite different pronotal shapes or colors
  • Thorn bugs utilize their piercing beaks to penetrate plant stems, thus allowing them to feed on the nutrients (sap) within a plant (legumes and other ornamental and fruit trees)
  • Female thorn bugs embed their group of cream-colored fertilized eggs in the tender bark of trees. After 20 days the eggs hatch. They will breed four generations annually.
  • The female thorn bugs pass on a chemical deterrent to her offspring, thus making them distasteful to potential predators
  • The adult females guard their eggs and remain as protector and caregiver throughout their development which may take up to several months

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