Spot the toad bug!

Did you know that “toad bugs” existed? And that they look like their namesake, as you can see in the photo below (if you can find it!)?

Toad bugs are “true bugs”—in the order Hemiptera—and comprise about 100 species in the family Gelastocoridae. They’re also toadlike in that they are predators who hang around the banks of streams and rivers.

Here’s another photo:

In looking up photos for this post, I came across this article, which tells you about another very bizarre species, and one that interacts with amphibians.  Trigger warning: Nature red in tooth and claw!

15 Comments

  1. Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. It’s the symmetry of the pattern that gives it away. So why don’t camouflaged species develop asymmetric patterns? Are there developmental constraints that prevent this?

    • BJ
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      What a great question. I’d love to know the answer to this as well, if there is one.

    • Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Camouflaged species do develop asymmetric patterns. And remember, predators may not locate prey via symmetry; they may be looking for contrasts in color. Birds, for instance, have only one fleeting chance to inspect a tree or the ground.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      As noted, asymmetry does happen, but symmetry is more common, even for camouflage patterns. I suspect developmental constraint.
      I can only resort to waving my hands while saying: 1. Even a flawed symmetrical camouflage is better than no camouflage. And, 2. Asymmetry is hard.

    • Posted October 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      We’re bilaterians so it’s probably easier to be bilaterally symmetric. Also, we only know to look for symmetry because we know there’s something in the pic. If we were just taking a glance as predators do, we would probably miss it.

      • Posted October 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Which PCC-E (what does that stamd for? Professor Ceiling Cat Emeritus?) has already mentioned, now that i read it.

        • Diane G.
          Posted October 12, 2017 at 2:05 am | Permalink

          “(what does that stamd for? Professor Ceiling Cat Emeritus?)”

          Yes. 🙂

  2. busterggi
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Only an intelligent designer could create such an insect as the toad-eating beetle.

    An evil intelligent designer that is.

  3. Paul S
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Very well camouflaged. I wonder if I’ve ever seen one without knowing.

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I had seen plenty of these, but I have not seen one for many, many years. I suspect its because they are well concealed and I have not thought to look. I should! They can be spotted when they hop.

  5. nicky
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    If a functional flyer one would at least expect a structural symmetry.
    Although… there is the Blohm & Voss BV 141…

  6. Diane G.
    Posted October 12, 2017 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    “In looking up photos for this post, I came across this article, which tells you about another very bizarre species, and one that interacts with amphibians. Trigger warning: Nature red in tooth and claw!”

    Gah! Thankfully I discovered that their distribution is thus: “The genus contains about 30 species distributed in the old world, with the African continent as the center of diversity.” May it never be introduced to the New World!

    That’s actually from a website that has some pretty interesting info about and photos of the beetles, though:

    http://gilwizen.com/epomis/

    I suppose the fact I feel sympathy for the poor toads outs me as a bit of a phylumist…

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 13, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      They are delightful creatures aren’t they. Is this a good time to mention a certain bot fly in a certain biologist’s skull.

  7. Posted October 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Hah, what a puff piece. This make you a toady for toad bugs! Harrumph!

    On Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 2:31 PM, Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “Did you know that “toad bugs” existed? And > that they look like their namesake, as you can see in the photo below (if > you can find it!). Toad bugs are “true bugs”—in the order Hemiptera—and > comprise about 100 species in the family Gelastocoridae. They’r” >


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