T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Bug (Wheat bug) Nysius huttoni

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Class:        Insecta
Order:       Hemiptera
Family:      Lygaeidae
Genus:      Nysius
Species:     N. huttoni
Binominal name: Nysius huttoni
Common name: Wheat bug, New Zealand Wheat bug.

Nysius huttoni is a native bug common throughout New Zealand and is a pest of wheat and brassica crops. Has a wide food range which includes many plants of agricultural and horticultural significance but also many weed species. Nysius huttoni is more numerous and damaging in warm dry areas. Damage to brassica plants is due to feeding punctures made around the base of the plants. While seedlings are small this can directly cause plant deaths. With larger seedlings this feeding causes cankerous tissue growth or stem restrictions that appear similar to ring barking. These cause production losses and may kill the plants or make them susceptible to breakage from wind and stock movement.
The eggs when first laid are creamy white but turn deep orange by the time they hatch. There are 5 nymphal stages and as development proceeds through these stages wings become increasingly more obvious. The small nymphs are dark orange in colour but the later stages become grey or brown-grey. The first stage is approximately 0.5 mm long and subsequent stages increase in size until eventually they reach about 2 mm. The adults are about 4 mm in length and a dull brownish-grey. Their wings however reflect light giving them a silvery appearance. Nymphs on the other hand can be very difficult to see.