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 abdomen.

As their name suggests these bugs favourite food is the seed 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. As such it is regarded as an agricultural pest. For some reason it is particularly harmful to millet crops in Sudan. They are not regarded as a serious pest in South Africa.

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. The nymphs of the Sunflower Seed Bug are orange and are marked with yellow and brown.

References and further reading

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

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

Farmers Weekly


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