Martincito's picture

Dicyphus epilobii - cannibal?

Observed: 6th October 2013 By: MartincitoMartincito’s reputation in InvertebratesMartincito’s reputation in InvertebratesMartincito’s reputation in InvertebratesMartincito’s reputation in Invertebrates
Dicyphus epilobii... cannibal?

I'm pretty sure that these are both Dicyphus epilobii, but what is going on here? The active insect was taking a lot of interest in the one underneath, which was pretty badly injured I think. Is this an example of bug-on-bug cannibalism?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Dicyphus (Dicyphus) epilobii interacts


Martin Harvey's picture


Cannibalism is certainly what it looks like. As far as I know Dicyphus bugs are fairly general predators, despite their delicate appearance. I have seen them feeding on other bugs before (although as fas I recall this has only been when the other bug was already injured), but not the same species.

Entomologist and biological recorder

Joe Botting's picture

new for me too...

I've certainly seen predatory mirids feeding on other mirids, but like you, never on its own species. As a lot of nymphs occur in a small area, it would be really detrimental if they did start to eat each other. I wonder whether in this case the prey was already dead or badly injured - I'd be surprised to find the other Dicyphus had actually killed it, but you never know.

Martincito's picture

I've added some more

I've added some more photos...