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Our local superhero origin story

This afternoon, Dr. Mark Lindsay posted a couple of photos of what was left of the bug that climbed up his daughter's leg, then seemed to have bitten her before succumbing to death by smashing, and he wondered what exactly was - especially after she developed small wheals on her leg and hand and he started thinking it looked like one of the "kissing bugs" that spreads the potentially fatal Chagas disease.

Fortunately, common sense and Entomology Twitter came to the rescue: Kissing bugs only tend to live in the tropics. And Dr. Alex Wild, an entomologist at the University of Texas and Jenn Forman Orth, a biologist and invasive-species expert at our own Department of Agricultural Resources, identified the remains as those of a western conifer seed bug, which is an herbivore, not a carnivore, and which does live around here.

Orth added:

And I suppose it would be more accurate to say they stab vs. bite, but they rarely do either, unless you are a pine cone...

To which Lindsay replied:

This will the superhero origin story of: Pine Cone Girl.

Free tagging: 


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and looked down to find an *aphid* biting me. (Or rather, stabbing and sucking, which is what they do.) It must have fallen onto my arm as I passed under a tree, but I can't imagine what possessed it to confuse me for a plant.

...on the other hand, maybe they just poke things until plant juice comes out.

Voting closed 21

I once collided with a bee while bombing along at 20+ mph on my bike. Hit me just under the nose and stung just above my upper lip.

I had a trout pout - which was expected - but couldn't smell for a couple of days.

Always felt bad about that bee.

Voting closed 11

Pine Cone Girl
Pine Cone Girl
Friendly neighborhood Pine Cone Girl
She falls down and hits the ground
Watch our girl clean up this town
She is, she is the Pine Cone Girl

Voting closed 41

'The Kissing Bug' Challenges Which Diseases Matter — And Why


Voting closed 10

It's more likely she's allergic to the bug. Cockroach is a common allergen so it's not a big leap to think other bugs encountered less frequently could be as well.

Voting closed 13

I had no idea they were found all across the southern US.

(And I'm glad to hear it wasn't one, although I expect they'll be in MA sooner or later.)

Voting closed 10

Ah. Stink bug season again.

Never thought that they bit people, though.

Voting closed 11