The word “bug” has many meanings, often referring to just any insect, and even software glitches, but this one is a real bug, a member of the Insect Order Hemiptera. It is large (to 3 cm), has colourful nymphs (young stages) and in some years it can be found during summer on vines of Morinda (Gynochthodes jasminoides). The bug’s scientific name is a bit of a mouthful, Canungrantmictus morindana. They popped up in January this year on a Morindavine scrambling over a waist-high Banana Bush beside the MCCG’s Old Gold Creek Sawmill Walk at the end of Gold Creek Road, Brookfield. Looking a bit further we found them on several other morindas nearby and also on our own property about half a kilometre away. After hatching from eggs, presumably laid on the vine, the growing nymphs suck sap from the fresh tips of the vine, turning it black as it dies and making it easier to find the nymphs. Strangely, they usually hang upside down as they feed, and their underside is very pale grey, almost white, making them visible. Following the last moult, adults emerge to be two-tone brown and they don’t hang around for long; adults are seen much less often.
Canungrantmictus morindana Nymph (Gordon-Grigg)
Despite being large and conspicuous they remained unknown until Geoff Monteith, a well-known Queensland entomologist, collected some near Canungra in SE Queensland in the 1980s. Subsequently Jan Grigg found them near the end of Gold Creek Road and later reported them in a side branch of the Carnarvon Gorge. As told in a 2004 article by Geoff in the Queensland Entomological Society Newsletter, the species was described formally and named in 2002 by Mexican entomologist Harry Brailovsky while visiting the Queensland Museum. The ‘mictis’ part of its name comes from it being in the Mictis ‘tribe’ within the Family Coreidae (the ‘tip wilters’). They are now known to have a much wider distribution, being reported from just north of Brisbane to Wahroonga in NSW and are apparently always associated with the same species of vine.
Canungrantmictus morindana Adult (Gordon-Grigg)