The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Sunflower Seed Bug

Afrikaans name:

Sunflower Seed Bug

Photo © Steven Herbert

Agonoscelis versicolor

The Sunflower Seed Bug grows to a length of a 10 mm or slightly bigger. It has black stripes on its head and yellowish-brown bands along the sides of its abdoment.

As their name suggests these bugs favourite food is the seeds of sunflowers. It injects saliva into the seed through a needle-like projection on its mouth. This saliva dissolves the contents of the seed which it then sucks out.

The Sunflower Seed Bug doesn't only target sunflowers. It feeds off other crops such as soya, sorghum and millet as well.

Females lay about 10 batches of eggs with around 50 eggs in each batch. These are laid on the underside of leaves on the ground.

References and further reading

Remarkable Insects of South Africa - Author: Lambert Smith - Published: 2008 - Page: 42

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 138


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