Long-necked Seed Bug

The Long-necked Seed Bug, Myodocha serripes, is a common insect in grassy areas of Indiana. These tiny bugs are often overlooked; they are less than 10 mm (3/8 inch) when full grown. The occasionally attract notice when very large populations damage strawberries.

Myodocha serripes is in the family, Rhyparochromidae which means “dirt-colored”. Many members of this family have an enlarged femur on the foreleg. A ventral spine near the leg joint gives this bug the look of a fierce predator that uses its front legs to grasp and hold prey. However, it does not use its front legs to hold prey. It isn’t predatory. It feeds on seeds. Taxonomists routinely comment on the enlarged femurs in this group of insects, but comment little on how the femurs are used.

Myodocha serripes is attracted to lights at night. This one appeared on our Black lighting cloth.

Long Necked Seed Bug

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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10 Responses to Long-necked Seed Bug

  1. Dave says:

    A bit of nostalgia – I was pinning, or rather pointing, a Myodocha serippes while watching the first moon walk on tv. I remember writing that on the underside of the data label. At the time, I was under the misapprehension that the bug must be a predator. Now Neil Armstrong has died and no one has walked on the moon in a long time.

  2. jjneal says:

    You are not alone in guessing that Myodocha is a predator. All the grad students on first glance thought ‘small predatory Reduviid. The forelegs are obviously adapted to grasp something. Do they grasp seeds when they eat?

    With the digitization of collection information, I wonder if your note will make it online?

  3. sary says:

    Do they bite? My dad got bit by one that looked like this one and would want to know the risks.

    • jjneal says:

      Umm. Maybe it was a pirate bug. Bugs a notorious for biting non-hosts. So it is possible. Any bug can pierce human skin but tiny ones don’t inject much saliva.

  4. I was out looking for spiders last night and found these, instead. Lots of them, camped out on drying heads of mondarda. Perhaps every tenth head had one. One head had two. I might go out again tonight to see if they are up to anything interested in re forelegs. During the day they are elsewhere.

  5. Bugs h8 me says:

    Uhm, this thing happened to be in my car…Do things bite humans?

  6. jjneal says:

    These are small, only about 1 cm. Any true bug can bite but these are not like mosquitos

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