posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 02:10 AM
Lucky for you, I am an expert in entomology/insects.
The bug in question is indeed a bug (as opposed to beetles, flies, grasshoppers, cockroaches, wasps, moths, etc.). And specifically in the order
Hemiptera (bugs comprise of 2 orders, Hemiptera and Homoptera). Unfortunately, Hemiptera comprise of THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of species and families.
However, I can tell from the photo that we're dealing with a member of the suborder Gymnacerata (long-horned bugs), which consists of other families
that include the boxelder and milkweed bug. However, to get a more precise ID, it will require a closeup shot so that I can see how many antennae
segments there are and how many veins in the forewings. IDing Gymnaceratans can be very tricky.
For a sec, I thought these may be some kind of assassin bug due to the elongated edges of the abdomen common among assassin bugs, but these are also
common among leaf-footed bugs. Elongated edges of the abdomen, again, are no smoking gun though. Also, assassin bugs are strictly predatory (as
opposed to feeding on plants or scavengers of the dead), and they typically do not congregate like that. Congregation, however, is common among the
plant-sucking members of Gymnacerata. Also common is them scavenging on the dead, although that is NOT their primary source of food. They may also
turn to the dead if their primary food source is depleted.
These are DEFINITELY not beetles, and I knew right away these can't be from the first few posts. How? Beetle adults looks DRASTICALLY different
from their young. The young are called larvae and are typically wormlike. Looks totally totally different. Bug young, however, are called nymphs
and are basically just miniature versions of the adult but without wings and frequently with different coloration patterning.