Someone’s going through changes

Even though these pics are a little blurry (I’m not that quick on the draw when it comes to photographing a rapidly moving bug) they show something important.


Many insects change pattern and even shape after they moult. Each stage in between moults, from being a larva through to adulthood is called an ‘instar‘ and some changes can be quite spectacular. This can lead to confusion when trying to identify the bug. It can also lead to missed opportunities to squish bugs before they reach maturity and start laying eggs.

Both of these pics are of the same species of bug, the Green Vegetable Bug.


The bug in the first pic is in its (probably 4th) instar. The bug in the second picture is a lot younger and is in the 3rd instar. Basically the same bug but a whole different look…and some humans get worked up over something as simple as skin colour…?

I reckon that these changes have evolved as a form of protection, with each instar looking different to maximise the chance of camouflage in different circumstances until the critter reaches the final stage that lives most of its life on the surface of the leaves. Different stages of different critters live in different environments and this system gives them a chance to lead a quiet life.

Maybe they just enjoy confusing gardeners!

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