Saturday, September 26, 2015

One handsome Giant Leaf-footed Stink-bug (Acanthocephala Declivis)

With a quick mail exchange with Ted (of Beetles in the Bush), my hour was to go into looking up ID of this phantasm that was spotted one lucky afternoon in 2008.

With an even lesser of a foundation in ID back then, my trail went in a wrong direction, into Phasmatodea (erring right at the level of Order).
Where I was supposed to go, was Hempitera. And thereon to Hemiptera > Heteroptera > Pentatomorpha > Coreoidea > Coreidae.

As sure as Ted was with his ID (replying inside minutes of my asking), I wasn't, even after landing on the Coreidae page on Wikipedia. As an amateur, much of my identification is visual than morphological. But reading up the bit on morphology was helpful
The general morphological features of the Coreidae are an oval-shaped body, antennae composed of four segments, a numerously veined fore wing membrane, a metathoracic stink gland, and enlarged hind tibiae. Many species are covered with spines and tubercles
Considering Ted's comment on the horns, morphological adaptations came to mind, which could result in differently proportioned features. That consideration helped look for a more accurate match.

Which is an Acanthocephala, like one found here:
Giant Leaf-footed Stink-bug, Acanthocephala declivis
Photo courtesy Pete Williams, Gulf Breeze, Florida
December 12, 2006

Copyright (C) 2006 Pete Williams

This was the closest match, and reading on its ID solved the puzzle
Humeral angles of pronotum broadly expanded, extending laterally well beyond maximum lateral abdominal margin.
Next I went into an expanded/elongated pronotum frenzy. While Acantocephala has 27 subspecies, A. declivis seems a sure match, since its size and distribution both match.

A cursory search for related keywords on Google Images didn't throw a more beautiful specimen as this one. Makes me feel kinda swell, and lucky.

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