We've been watching these "Decorator Bugs" for the last couple of weeks and now know that they are Assassin Bugs, an incredibly clever and resourceful little bug. It turns out that what we've been observing is the nymph stage of the assassin bugs' development cycle. According to insects.about.com, Assassin bugs, like other Hemipterans, undergo incomplete metamorphosis with three stages – egg, nymph, and adult. The female lays clusters of eggs on plants. Wingless nymphs hatch from the eggs (that's what we've been watching), and molt several times to reach adulthood in about two months. Last night Diane and I caught one of the nymphs molting into adulthood. My strobe batteries died so these photos were taken with a tripod...shot at f14 for 10 seconds.
Our good friend Nick Hobgood over at C-O-N-G-O points out that these are the perfect candy corn colored treats for Halloween! But be careful, when threatened, assassin bugs can inflict a painful bite!