Shield Bugs

Order Hemiptera

Family Pentatomidae

Introduction

Shield Bug, Western AustraliaThe poor old shield bug has the unenvious title of being called a stink bug. All because it has a small gland in its thorax which produces a horridly foul smelling liquid when provoked. Potential predators and human alike retreat once they get a whiff of the odour. For any of you who really care the stench comes from what is known as aldehydes and it takes a good scrubbing to get off your hands. The bug gets its  'other' name from the distinctive triangular looking shield on their thorax.

Characteristics of a Shield Bug

Shield bugs, Western AustraliaOther than the fact that they stink, some Shield Bug's are predatory and love nothing better than skewering their victims (often a slow moving caterpillar) with their rostrum. Once impaled the Shield Bug will slowly drain the victim of its body fluids.  Another distinguishing feature is that the pronotum (dorsal) exoskeletal plate often extends out from the sides. Both the nymphs and the adults have piercing mouthparts to suck sap from plants or juices from other insects.