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Sweetpotato bug (Physomerus grossipes)

Kutu ketela or sweetpotato bug (Physomerus grossipes) is an insect species in Coreidae, brown with black legs, adults growing about 2 cm long, oval shaped, segmented antennas, heavily veined membranes, metathoracic odor glands and enlarged rear tibia.

P. grossipes generally live in Leguminosae and Convolvulaceae especially sweet potato (Physomerus grossipes), pink morning glory (Ipomoea carnea), purple beans (Vigna unguiculata), Asian pigeonwings (Clitoria ternatea) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).

Dlium Sweetpotato bug (Physomerus grossipes)

Sweetpotato bugs suck liquid from the stem which causes plants to wither and disrupt fruit production. P. grossipes places eggs at the bottom of the leaves or stems or grass around them. Females are very protective of their children, keeping eggs and nymphs from predators as the most famous example of maternal care in Coreidae.

Even so, about 20% of eggs are eaten by predators such as ants and 13% are lost by parasitoid predation by chalcid wasps which lay eggs in eggs of P. grossipes. The surviving eggs will hatch in about 15 days. Sweetpotato bugs pass five nymph stages starting from 85-88 days before adulthood.

Mothers continue to care for gregarious nymphs and feed them food that suggests social dimensions. Some mothers working together to care for their children or unmarried females will help raise a child who is not his.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Coreidae
Subfamily: Coreinae
Genus: Physomerus
Species: P. grossipes

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