When I first approached this bug I could see it was sitting on eggs and I didn’t want to frighten it off. So I tested its response to my presence by bringing my finger towards it from above and moving it from side to side. It responded by moving with my finger so the eggs were shielded from the direction of my finger. I thought, maybe that’s why they are called shield bugs, they shield their eggs from predation – so it seems.
I noticed she had her proboscis down on the eggs and thought she would be checking the condition of the eggs, not unlike any mum would feel her prospective young. I went back from time to time over the next week but there was no change so I didn’t try for more shots, only the side angles available without risking serious disturbance, and I wanted to see the young when they hatched.
Then, ten days after the first shot, through downpour after downpour – when it rains here it pours, I saw something had changed, there were fewer eggs. So I had a closer look and she was eating them, the eggs.
She hadn’t moved in all the time I had observed and she must have been starving, she was that unsteady on her feet. Maybe the eggs proved nonviable, some of the eggs look off in #4 and none of them looked like anything was developing inside as could be expected, and she was just doing what came natural, living to breed another day.
Today the only sign anything happened on the spot was the minimal debris where the eggs had been attached to the leaf.
The natural creatures are naturally conservationist. You can’t judge the God made.
Waste not, want not.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge