Now You See It…Soon You Won't?

The koa bug, the largest true bug (scientists call only some buggy insects true bugs) in the Hawaiian Islands, comes in four glittering metallic colors: green with red markings; red with green; yellow; and the rarest of all, blue.

Unfortunately, koa bugs of any color are getting scarce. Forty years ago, experts tried to control a pest insect, the southern green stink bug, by bringing to Hawaii flies and wasps they thought would prey on it. While the flies and wasps killed the stink bugs and their eggs, the koa bug and its eggs proved just as delicious—and defenseless. Now, experts fear that the koa bug may become extinct.

So this pretty creature is also a warning: “natural” pest control can be just as destructive as the chemical kind. Just ask a koa bug—if you can find one.

Vocabulary

bug:
A kind of insect that has mouth parts used for piercing or sucking. Some bugs have four wings, and some have none.

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Activity

  1. What is one way to describe the relationship between flies or wasps and koa bugs?
  2. Do you think the koa bugs have adapted to the change that came with the wasps and flies that were brought to Hawaii? Why or why not?