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

Pentatomidae, Greek pente meaning five and tomos meaning section, are a family of insects belonging to order Hemiptera including some of the stink bugs and shield bugs.[1]


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).[2]


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".[3] 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 an unpleasant scent from a glandular substance released from pores in the thorax when disturbed. The chemicals involved include aldehydes, making the smell 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 in referring to the distantly-related species Boisea trivittata and to some unrelated insects, including beetles in the genus Eleodes such as the Pinacate beetle.

Economic importance[edit]

Many stink bugs and shield bugs are considered agricultural pest insects, because they can create large populations which 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.[4] However, some genera of Pentatomidae are considered highly beneficial: the anchor bug, which can be distinguished by the red-orange anchor shape on the adult, is one example. It is a predator of other insects, especially Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, and other pest insects.

Pentatomidae morphology

Some also 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]

See also[edit]

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.[5]

European species[edit]

European species within this family include:[6]


  1. ^ Michael Chinery (1993). Insects of Britain & Western Europe. London: Harper/Collins. p. 72. ISBN 0-00-219137-7. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ "Stinkbug Prints Info". Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Penn State University". Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Jason Bittel. "Stinkbugs Have Spread to 41 States; Can We Stop Them?". National Geographic. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Species list in Fauna europaea

External links[edit]