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moss bug

moss bug
Windham, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA
Size: 1.25 mm
Collected Jan. 1, 2007 by sifting hand-shredded moss samples gathered Dec. 9 from wooded area. This looks superficially like a nymph. Is it immature or just apterous? Millimeter marks in background.

Images of this individual: tag all
moss bug moss bug moss bug moss bug moss bug

from Merrill Sweet: "very small -- perhaps Drymus"

Moved from True Bugs.

Moved from True Bugs.

Appearance points to it - but it is a very young nymph, indeed (no wing sheats). Some Lygaeids hibernate as larvae, but probably only partly (adults found at the same time).

cheers, Boris

Thanks, Boris.
I'm hoping it's a species that is recognizable from its moss habitat.

Wild guess
Looks rather like large milkweed bug, but size probably negates that. (I don't know how small they go.)

Some are colored like yours, but they're among the larger ones, so probably older immatures.

I wonder why they're red.
The antennae on this one are fatter and the head is larger compared to the body.

That is sort of odd, isn't it?
Color on large milkweed bugs seems pretty consistent, but I have posted an adult with a very pale color, in addition to red and black.

I'm not sure what the very small ones look like, but boxelder bug and red-shouldered bug might be other candidates. (I think they're Lygaeidae and Rhopalidae.)

My guess is
that this is a ground-dwelling species the adult form of which is probably less than 3mm long. Why else would it be found inside a matted clump of moss? I think most bugs overwinter as eggs or adults, coinciding with the appearance and disappearance of their food source. A ground-dwelling bug might not be so season-restricted in its development cycle.

At that size, I'd say a nymph of a Heteropteran species, but what group I don't know.

2nd nymph
Check out this nymph from same moss sample, Brad.

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