Meadow Plant Bug – Leptopterna dolabrata

Meadow Plant Bug – Leptopterna dolabrata
Family Miridae – Plant Bugs 
Bugs Main | Bugs Index | Assassin Bugs | Plant Bugs | Ambush Bugs

Live adult bugs photographed at DuPage County, Illinois.  Adult Size = 10mm 

Adult female and late-stage nymphs are gregarious on their host plants

The meadow plant bug, as might be expected, is found on various meadow grasses, including softgrass (Holcus), foxtail barley, western wheatgrass, quackgrass, big and little bluestem, and  junegrass [3]. This bug was accidentally introduced from its native Europe in 1832 and is now endemic across North America.

Plant bugs, stink bugs, and lacebugs use their sucking mouthparts to feed on plant sap. Damage ranges from many small white spots on the leaves to distortion or destruction of plant tissue, depending on the pest and host plant. Some feed on many different types of plants while others feed only on a narrow range or single species. [1]

Most plant bugs are considered aesthetic nuisance pests since they rarely kill their host plants. However, leaf and flower distortion can be very severe and can greatly reduce the aesthetic value of landscape plants. Plant bugs  insert their mouth stylets into host plant tissues and inject a tissue dissolving saliva. They then suck out the liquefied plant tissues, much like other bugs suck the insides from their insect prey.

This adult male bug is feeding with rostrum inserted into a grass stem

Order Hemiptera: True Bugs number almost 5,000 species in North America, and 40,000 worldwide. They have mouthparts formed into a beak, adapted for sucking plant juices or the liquefied insides of their animal prey.
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha – Cicadas & Planthoppers
Suborder Sternorrhyncha – Aphids, scales, mealybugs, jumping plant lice