Insects Confused With Lygus

Don’t confuse lygus with other insects in the cotton field. Use this photo identification guide to differentiate among several different hemipterans (true bugs).

Each name links to more information on identification and management.

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First instar lygus nymph (left) next to aphids.
Lygus nymph
Lygus bug
Identification tip: Lygus bug adults are about 0.25 inch (6 mm) long, 0.1 inch (2.5 mm) wide, and flattened on the back. They vary in color from pale green to yellowish brown with reddish brown to black markings and have a conspicuous triangle in the center of the back. Nymphs resemble adults, but are uniformly pale green with red-tipped antennae.

Adult lygus bug, Lygus hesperus.
Lygus adult

Predaceous adult bigeyed bug.
Bigeyed bug
Identification tip: Bigeyed bug adults and nymphs are oval, somewhat flattened, about 1/4 inch (4 mm) long, usually brownish or yellowish, and have a wide head with prominent bulging eyes. Bigeyed bugs can be confused with other hemipterans in the same family (Lygaeidae), as well as insects in the Miridae family.
Calocoris norvegicus nymph.
Calocoris nymph
Identification tip: Adult Calocoris can be distinguished from lygus bugs by the presence of two black dots on the back, just behind the head. Calocoris nymphs do not have red-tipped antennae and black spots on the back as lygus nymphs do. Calocoris nymphs tend to be longer and narrower than lygus nymphs and have fine black hairs on the body
.Adult plant bug, Calocoris norvegicus.
Calocoris adult
Adult cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii.
Cotton aphid
Identification tip: Cotton aphid is highly variable in body size and color, and adults may be winged or wingless. Nymphs and adults of wingless cotton aphids vary in color from yellow to green to nearly black. Nymphs that are developing into winged adults look very different from the nymphs developing into wingless adults: they bear small welts or protuberances on their bodies and may be covered with a coat of dusty-like whitish wax. Their body color is often greenish blue, or amber and blue.
Say's stink bug nymph.
Say stink bug
Identification tip: The stink bug adult is shield-shaped with the posterior angles of the pronotum extended to prominent points. They are about 0.5 inch (12 mm) long, and more than half as wide as they are long. Color varies from green to dark brown.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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