With 86% of all plants and animals on land and 91% of those in our oceans still to be named and catalogued (according to a 2011 study), so much of the natural world is still waiting to be discovered. Nature enthusiast Peter Webb made his own small contribution to the catalogue of life when he discovered a little bug that got South African entomologists very excited...

Earlier this year, I was out in the field helping a friend photograph jumping spiders and was using a sweep net to swish my way through the long grass. Glancing to check on my ‘catch’, I suddenly spotted a tiny, green, diamond-shaped insect (about 9mm long) amongst the other debris at the bottom of my net.

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I had no clue what it was (in fact, it was so small that I could not really see it properly), so I placed it in a container to take home with me. Later, an online search revealed nothing about the mystery bug. My next strategy was to contact a friend who’s a leading authority on South Africa’s Heteroptera (or what we call ‘true bugs’). I sent him a few photos and before long, I had a very excited entomologist on the phone. So what did I find? A juvenile ambush bug (apparently, the predatory front legs are a distinctive feature). Ambush bugs are exceptionally rare and very little is known about them, but we do know that they spend their short lives hunting and feeding on insects (which they ‘ambush’ on flowers). In order to be properly identified, my juvenile find needs to be safely reared into adulthood (thankfully, my entomologist friend has a lot of experience caring for delicate bugs!).