Monday, January 14, 2013

The Cotton Stainer

Often overshadowed by the charismatic and more appealing chimpanzees, the great variety of insects found in Mahale Mountains NP is certainly very interesting. Especially after a little research you realize what and enormous array of bugs share the same place as us.

A bug often encounter along the forested paths of Greystoke camp is the pale cotton stainer. Relative small in size with a body length up to 17 mm it’s brightly colored and feeds mainly on seeds associated with species of wild hibiscus and kapok . Interestingly adults remain mated for days!

Mating cotton stainers on the forest path near Greystoke camp

And where the name comes from…?

The Cotton Stainer is widely spread with over 300 species worldwide. Adults can pierce cotton bolls to suck sap from the seeds, allowing a fungi to enter the cotton which stains it with a yellowish color. Especially during the industrial revolution in the USA this little bug caused massive problems.
That’s what I said – you just have to look it up and it becomes very interesting!

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