Alice Springs Fauna •

Alice Springs InsectsAlice Springs Green Blowfly Ants (Formicidae) Australiphthiria sp (Bee Fly) Eucalyptus Tip-wilting Bug Ground Shield Bug (Choerocoris paganus) Ippatha australiensis Mydas Fly, Miltinus sp Soapberry Bugs, Leptocoris sp Robber Fly, Bathypogon sp Spilostethus sp Stiletto Fly (Agapophytus yeatesi) Yellow-shouldered Hover Fly, Ischiodon scutellaris

One of the Large Milkweed Bugs, genus Spilostethus (possibly Spilosethus hospes, formerly Lygaeus hospes).

Large Milkweed Bugs (Spilosethus hospes), Alice Springs NT
Large Milkweed Bugs (Spilosethus hospes), Alice Springs NT

Also commonly known as Lygaeid Bugs, these bugs are quite colourful in bright red/orange or yellow, and black or brown in colours. They have a slight elongated body shape, ocelli (light detecting organs composed of s single lens – “simple eye”). They have a scutellum (a hard plate or scale on the thorax of the insect) with distinct weak-raised Y-shaped mark.

Large Milkweed Bugs (Spilosethus hospes), Alice Springs NT
Large Milkweed Bugs (Spilosethus hospes), Alice Springs NT

Most Lygaeid Bugs feed on seeds or plant sap and during the breeding season, the adults, together with the different instar stages can be found feeding on the same plant. Pictured here is the adult Lygaeus hospes on the foliage of the sweet potato plant.

Large Milkweed Bugs (Spilosethus hospes), Alice Springs NT
Large Milkweed Bugs (Spilosethus hospes), Alice Springs NT

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Hemiptera
  • Suborder: Heteroptera
  • Infraorder: Pentatomomorpha
  • Superfamily: Lygaleoidea
  • Family: Lygaeidae
  • Subfamily: Lygaeinae
  • Genus: Spilosethus
  • Species:
    • Spilosethus decoratus
    • Spilosethus hospes
    • Spilosethus pacificus

Footnote & References

  1. Many thanks for ID to Daniel Heald and Helen Van-Ross, members of Entomology Australia “Invertebratology”, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/507004496955277/
  2. Spilostethus Stål, 1868, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/e8396de8-89d9-4be2-88d5-00ee5f9ce9c3
  3. Lygaeid Bugs – Superfamily LYGAEOIDEA, Brisbane Insects and Spiders, https://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_lygaeoidbugs/Lygaeidea.html
  4. Lectotype of Lygaeus hospes Fabricius, 1794 var. celebensis Breddin, 1901, Researchgate, https://www.researchgate.net/figure/FIGURES-1-3-Lectotype-of-Lygaeus-hospes-Fabricius-1794-var-celebensis-Breddin-1901_fig1_277602437

Alice Springs InsectsAlice Springs Green Blowfly Ants (Formicidae) Australiphthiria sp (Bee Fly) Eucalyptus Tip-wilting Bug Ground Shield Bug (Choerocoris paganus) Ippatha australiensis Mydas Fly, Miltinus sp Soapberry Bugs, Leptocoris sp Robber Fly, Bathypogon sp Spilostethus sp Stiletto Fly (Agapophytus yeatesi) Yellow-shouldered Hover Fly, Ischiodon scutellaris

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