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Nezara viridula2.jpg
Nezara viridula
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Pentatomomorpha
Superfamily: Pentatomoidea
Family: Pentatomidae
Leach, 1815

Pentatomidae are a family of insects belonging to the order Hemiptera, which are generally called stink bugs or shield bugs (members of the sister family Acanthosomatidae are also called "shield bugs").[1][2][3][4] The name Pentatomidae is from the Greek pente meaning five and tomos meaning section, which refers to the five segments of their antennae.[2]


There are several subfamilies, of which the Australian Aphylinae is often given family status, but is here retained as a subfamily, following Grazia et al. (2008).[5]


The scutellum body is typically half of an inch long, green or brown color, usually trapezoidal in shape, giving this family the name "shield bug".[6] The tarsi are 3-segmented. The forewings of stink bugs are called hemelytra, with the basal half thickened while the apex is membranous (as are the hindwings).


The stink bug derives its name from a pungent unpleasant odor from a glandular substance released from pores in the thorax when disturbed or crushed. The chemicals involved include aldehydes, making the smell somewhat similar to that of coriander. In some species, the liquid contains cyanide compounds and a rancid almond scent, used to protect themselves and discourage predators.

The term 'stink bug' is also used for the distantly-related species Boisea trivittata, and for some unrelated insects, including the pinacate beetles in the genus Eleodes.


Most stink bugs and shield bugs are considered agricultural pests, because they can grow into large populations that feed on crops (damaging production), and they are resistant to many pesticides. They are a threat to cotton, corn, sorghum, soybeans, native and ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, weeds, and many cultivated crops.[7]

Pentatomidae morphology

Some are commonly eaten in Laos, and are regarded as delicious due to their extremely strong odor. The insects are sometimes pounded together with spices and a seasoning to prepare cheo, a paste mixed with chilies and herbs.[citation needed]

Since recent arrival in the U.S., populations of the brown marmorated stink bug have grown significantly. As of October 2014, brown marmorated stink bugs can be found in 41 out of 50 states within the U.S.[8] In 2016 New Zealand's MPI put out an alert to prevent this invasive species from entering via imported cargo.[9]

Acoloba lanceolata

See also[edit]

European species[edit]

European species within this family include:[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chinery, Michael (1993). Insects of Britain & Western Europe. London: Harper/Collins. p. 72. ISBN 0-00-219137-7.
  2. ^ a b "Family Pentatomidae - Stink Bugs". Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  3. ^ "ITIS Report, Pentatomidae Leach, 1815".
  4. ^ "Acanthosomatidae — Overview". Encyclopedia of Life.
  5. ^ J. Grazia, R. T. Schuh & W. C. Wheeler (2008). "Phylogenetic relationships of family groups in Pentatomoidea based on morphology and DNA sequences (Insecta: Heteroptera)" (PDF). Cladistics. 24: 932–976. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2008.00224.x.
  6. ^ "Stinkbug Prints Info". Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Brown marmorated stink bug". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  8. ^ Jason Bittel. "Stinkbugs Have Spread to 41 States; Can We Stop Them?". National Geographic. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  9. ^ Ministry for Primary Industries New Zealand. "MPI on high alert for stink bug". MPI. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  10. ^ Species list in Fauna europaea

External links[edit]