black damsel bug

(Nabis subcoleoptratus)

Conservation Status
black damsel bug
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Black damsel bug is a small true bug. It is found in low on plants in fields and gardens across northern United States and adjacent Canadian provinces. It is common and locally abundant in Minnesota.

The body is soft and somewhat ant-like in appearance, and late stage (instar) nymphs are ant mimics. Adults average (10 mm) long. The head, thorax, and abdomen are black and shiny.

The head is narrowed into a distinct “neck” behind the eyes. There are two large compound eyes on the side of the head and two small simple eyes (occeli) on top of the head. The antennae are yellowish, thread-like, and long, more than half as long as the body. They have four segments. The basal segment (scape) is not twice as long as the head and is not abruptly thickened. The beak-like projection of the head that contains the piercing mouthparts (rostrum) is slender, yellowish, and has four segments.

The exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum) has a wide, distinct collar at the end (nearest the head).

The abdomen is in the shape of an elongated oval and is much wider than the thorax. Each abdominal section is enlarged laterally creating a continuous, flat, border (connexivum). The margins of the connexivum are yellowish.

There are two pairs of wings. The forewings (hemelytra) on the mature adult are thickened, very short, and do not have a membranous section. The hindwings are thin, membranous, and concealed under the forewings.

The legs are long, slender, and yellowish. They are not ringed. The third segment (femur) of the front legs is slightly enlarged.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: (10 mm) average

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Fields

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late May through August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Despite their small size, damsel bugs are able to deliver a painful bite when harassed.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Eggs overwinter. Late instar nymphs are ant mimics.

 
     
 

Nymph Food

 
 

 

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Plant bug (Miridae) nymphs

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30.

 
  7/1/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widespread and abundant

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hemiptera (true bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids and allies)  
 

Suborder

Heteroptera (true bugs)  
 

Infraorder

Cimicomorpha (thaumastocorid bugs)  
 

Superfamily

Reduvioidea  
 

Family

Nabidae (damsel bugs)  
 

Subfamily

Nabinae  
 

Tribe

Nabini  
 

Genus

Nabis  
  Subgenus Nabicula  
       
 

This species was formerly classified as Nabicula subcoleoptrata. The species Nabicula has been recently demoted to subgenus status, and this and other species were returned to the genus Nabis.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Nabicula subcoleoptrata

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

black damsel bug

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Hemelytron

The forewing of true bugs (Order Hemiptera), thickened at the base and membranous at the tip. Plural: hemelytra.

 

Instar

The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Rostrum

The stiff, beak-like projection of the carapace or prolongation of the head of an insect, crustacean, or cetacean.

 

Scape

On plants: An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster. On insects: The basal segment of the antenna.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    black damsel bug   black damsel bug  
           
 
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  Alfredo Colon
8/20/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

black damsel bug  
           
 
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Created: 7/1/2019

Last Updated:

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