This is a female Cotton Harlequin Bug guarding her clutch of eggs. This photo was chosen to be part of an exhibition of images of invertebrates held in the Sydney museum in 2007. The competition is called “Up Close and Spineless” and is held every year. I missed the last couple of years, but hopefully I will have something new to enter this year. This one was taken in the grounds of the units where I live at Surfers Paradise, Queensland.
_ The males and females of the Cotton Harlequin Bug are different colours, with the females mostly orange and the males mostly blue-red. The Cotton Harlequin Bug feeds on many species belonging to the hibiscus plant family (Malvaceae), including ornamental hibiscus species and cotton. It feeds mostly on young shoots, piercing the stems and sucking the sugar-rich juices intended for shoot growth. Females guard their eggs from the time they are laid until they hatch._ (Australian Museum.)
Canon EOS 400D. 90mm Macro lens. Sigma ring flash.