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PENTATOMIDAE Stink Bugs & Shield Bugs

Pentatomidae includes some of the stink bugs and shield bugs. They are broad, shield-shaped bugs usually with 5-segmented antennae (hence the family name) and a large triangular scutellum. The head is relatively small. They can be sap suckers or predators of other insects. They often practice maternal care until the second stage of metamorphosis of the young.

Aspideurus sp? Stink Bug


This specimen possibly Aspideurus sp was photographed on Enoggera Creek near Yoorala Street, The Gap on Wednesday 27 December 2006.

Insect > Bug > Pentatomidae
Photo: Robert Whyte

Austromalaya reticulatus (Brown Long-headed Shield Bug)


This somewhat elderly specimen was inside the house, and probably nearing the end of its life, although when encouraged to walk near an open window, walk onto the sill, then fall off, it did manage to fly away.

Insect > Bug > Pentatomidae
Photo: Robert Whyte

Austromalaya reticulatus (Brown Long-headed Shield Bug)


Another elderly specimen who has lost the left shoulder.

Austromalaya reticulatus (Brown Long-headed Shield Bug)
Photo: Robert Whyte

Bathrus variegatus (Zebra Shield Bug)


This shield bug in the Hyalini tribe of the Pentatomidae has an adult body length of about 15mm. It has some pretty jewel-like encrustations/ markings on its head and body. This is the only native Bathrus sp in Australia. It can be distinguished from others in its tribe by wing venation. The body revealed when flying is a rich burgundy red.

Insect > Bug > Scutelleridae > Pentatomidae > Shield Bugs - Tribe Halyini > Bathrus variegatus
Photo: Robert Whyte

Bathrus variegatus (Zebra Shield Bug) underneath


Insect > Bug > Scutelleridae > Pentatomidae > Shield Bugs - Tribe Halyini > Bathrus variegatus
Photo: Robert Whyte

Biprorulus bibax Spined Citrus Bug Nymph


Although native to Australia, Biprorulus bibax is considered a pest because it feeds on the fruits of lemons, mandarins and oranges, causing drying and brown staining of the fruit segments, gumming on the skin and premature fruit drop. Late-stage nymphs (IV to V) are mainly green with black markings. Adults are green, 1520 mm long, and have a pair of prominent spines on the shoulder of the thorax. Their native host is the desert lime, Eremocitrus glauca. When overwintering tight clusters of up to 50 adult bugs can be found in a single tree. A male-produced aggregation pheromone is responsible for the clustering. The pheromone is attractive to males and females, both reproductive and non-reproductive. SOURCE: PRIMEFACT 217, SPINED CITRUS BUG 3, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries ISSN 1832-6668

Spined Citrus Bug
Photo: Robert Whyte

Ocirrhoe unimaculata


This genus is a member of the tribe Rhynchocorini.

Ocirrhoe unimaculata This genus is a member of the tribe Rhynchocorini.
Photo: Robert Whyte

Poecilometis sp nymph

Eucalyptus Shield Bug nymph from above. This nymph looks to be about the third instar (stage) in its metamorphosis.

Insect > Bug > Pentatomidae > Poecilometis acanthopygius Gum Tree Shield Bug
Photo: Robert Whyte

Poecilometis sp adult


Adult Eucalyptus Shield Bugs are more camouflaged than the nymph, which spends most of its time under the bark of Eucalypts, while the adult roams on the outside of the tree, in this case Eucalyptus tereticornis.

Insect > Bug > Pentatomidae > Poecilometis acanthopygius Gum Tree Shield Bug
Photo: Robert Whyte

Poecilometis sp adult (just emerged)


The body of this newly emerged adult is still soft and relatively pale. Its colour will darken within a day.

Insect > Bug > Pentatomidae
Photo: Robert Whyte

Unknown Pentatomid nymph


A gold and black stink bug nymph photographed Sunday, 6 May 2007 near the Ashgrove gold course, in the creek bed, underneath the leaf-blade of a Wild Taro (Colocasia esculenta).

Insect > Bug > Pentatomidae
Photo: Robert Whyte

Unknown Pentatomid nymphs


Group of nymphs clustering on the leaf of a bush lemon (Citrus sp) Saturday, 8 November 2008.

Insect > Bug > Pentatomidae
Photo: Robert Whyte

Identifying nymphs, key to Stink Bugs


Identifying insect species from immature specimens is very difficult, often impossible, as most taxonomic resources focus on characters of the adult body form, so there are few keys available to accurately identify immature stages. The character states used to identify insects species often involve colour, wing venation, tarsal and antennal length. These characters are not always present or reliable in immature life stages. Identifying immatures usually relies on finding them in the presence of adults, or observing the life cycle of the organism. (Thanks to Mary Finlay-Doney, Inquiry Centre, Queensland Museum South Bank)

Book References

Hemiptera: Heteroptera (Pentatomomorpha)
G. Cassis, Gordon F. Gross, W. W. K. Houston, A. Wells,
Australian Biological Resources Study, Australian Biological Resources Study
Published by CSIRO Publishing, 2002
ISBN 0643068759, 9780643068759

Online references