Picasso bugs, where art and nature collide

Picasso bug

You can’t beat the brushstrokes of nature. Native to tropical and subtropical Africa, the oval-shaped Picasso Bug or Zulu Hud Bug is nature’s artwork.

The Picasso Bug (Sphaerocoris annulus) is a shield-backed bug species with a vibrant carapace that does more than illustrate its aesthetic beauty. The mosaic markings serve as a warning to predators.

Nicknamed “stink bug,” the tiny creepy crawler also emits a putrid smell when disturbed.

As the famous abstract artist Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” But seeing a bug like this would’ve tempted Picasso to become a naturalist instead.

Read more interesting facts about the Picasso bug below:

Where Does the Picasso Bug Live?

This captivating insect is found predominantly in the warm, humid environments of Africa’s tropical and subtropical regions. Its habitat spans from grasslands to shrublands and even near water bodies, showcasing its versatile survival skills.

What Do Picasso Bugs Eat?

Specializing in a plant-based diet, Picasso Bugs primarily feed on leaves, flowers, and fruits. Their specialized mouthparts enable them to pierce plant tissues to extract nutrients. Although not considered harmful to crops, they may cause minor aesthetic damage to ornamental plants.

How Big is a Picasso Bug?

Size-wise, the Picasso Bug is relatively modest, measuring between 5 to 12 millimeters. But its shield-like, oval-shaped body is a canvas for a dazzling array of colors that serve both as camouflage and a warning sign to predators.

Do Picasso Bugs Fly?

Don’t let its wings fool you; the Picasso Bug is not known for long flights. Instead, it uses its wings for short bursts to evade danger, relying more on its vivid patterns and foul smell for defense.

Can You Buy Picasso Bugs?

Interested in owning this masterpiece? Think again. Due to export restrictions and legal considerations, acquiring a Picasso Bug as a pet is often not feasible. Always approach any claims of their availability cautiously and be aware of legal and ethical constraints.

Quick Facts: The Picasso Bug at a Glance

  • Native Habitat: Tropical and subtropical regions of Africa
  • Diet: Primarily plant-based, feeding on leaves, flowers, and fruits
  • Size: Ranges between 5 to 12 millimeters in length
  • Flight Capability: Possesses wings but uses them for short bursts to escape predators
  • Availability as a Pet: Generally not feasible due to export restrictions and legal considerations
  • Defensive Mechanisms: Vibrant color patterns and a foul smell to deter predators

Picasso Bugs in images

Picasso bugs
Photo: Eu Curto Biologia (via TW/Nature_Is_Lit)
Picasso bugs
Photo: Twitter/Rainmaker1973
Picasso bugs
Photo: Twitter/Kiddopediatv

Originally posted June 30, 2021, and updated August 25, 2023.

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