iNaturalist | Alan Manson

Picasso Bugs Are Like Beautiful, Stinky Works Of Art

It's not every day you see a picture of a bug and think, "Wow. That's a beautiful bug." But it's also not every day that one is literally named after a famous artist, so it's safe to this little guy is a super special insect.

Allow me to introduce you to Sphaerocoris annulus, AKA the "Zulu Hud Bug", AKA the Picasso bug, an insect so gosh darn pretty that the biologists who discovered it were reminded of something the great Pablo Picasso himself might have painted.

So, they just went ahead and named it after him.

Indeed, each and every one of these critters looks like they just hopped off an easel in Picasso's studio with a fresh coat on paint on their shells.

According to Our Breathing Planet, these guys belong to the Shield Backed Bug family, and measure in at about the size of a fingernail. So, if they weren't so brightly colored, odds are they would go largely unnoticed.

But that beautiful design isn't just for aesthetic purposes. These bugs use their vibrant colors and patterns to send out a warning to predators.

What is that warning, you ask? Well...

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While these arthropods are visually stunning to look at, they won't seem quite as beautiful once you smell them.

Giphy | Padma Lakshmi

As it turns out, Picasso bugs are close relatives of the aptly-named stink bugs, and if they feel threatened, they're going to emit a noxious odor.

So, perhaps these little guys are best admired from afar than up close.

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Picasso bugs are found in more tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

iNaturalist | Alan Manson

Currently, they don't appear to be in any danger of extinction and seem to have quite stable numbers. However, they are considered to be at some risk, largely due to threats caused by habitat loss and climate change.

h/t: Our Breathing Planet

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