These curious conjoined insects look like the "push-me-pull-you" creatures of the bug world - I came across three couples, and one solo bug, in a very short stretch of pavement here in Chennai.
They are, it seems, red cotton stainers or something very closely related - and yes, they're mating. The insects can be serious pests for the cotton crop, though they are fairily undiscriminating as to what they feed on.
I can't quite work out why, with such flamboyant colouring they don't make a tasty morsel for the birds all around. But there didn't see to be a feeding frenzy going on.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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