What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

help with ID
Hello Mr. Bugman:
I’m an Extension Agent on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and my friend, who is traveling in Australia, sent this ‘bug’ picture. It was taken at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney and I’ve tried to identify the “bugs.” My guess is that they are tortoise shell beetles of the family Chrysomelidae . However, my collegue who studies ticks and is known as the “tickman” disagrees and says they are bugs – and not beetles. Could you please help me with identifying these creatures? Thank-You,

Hi Diane,
These are immature Cotton Harlequin Bugs, Tectocoris diophthalmus. According to the Geocities website, they are in the family Scutelleridae: “Species in this family are know as Jewel Bugs or Shield Backed Bugs . Bugs in this family are usually colourful with metallic colour of spots. Shield-backed bugs are plant suckers. They can be distinguished from other bugs by their scutellum completely covered the whole abdomen and wings. This is why sometimes they are miss-recognized as beetle. They are easily distinguished from beetles by having sucking mouthparts and the shield on the back is continuous, not the divided wings cover with separation at the middle. This family are closely related to stink bugs (Family Pentatomidae ). They also produce offensive odors when disturbed. We found three species in this family. ” Elsewhere on the site, it is noted that: “The bugs are also known as Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs . Females are orange with small patches of metallic blue scatter over their body. Males are metallic blue with red patches. Their patterns can be quite different between individuals. Males are smaller than the females in size. Their scutellum completely covers the whole abdomen and wings. “

Thank-You!!!! You’re a great resource for help in identification. I forwarded your reply to my friend who’s traveling in Australia. She really appreciated it and is bedazzling her friends with her local “bug” knowledge. Thanks again,

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One Response to Immature Cotton Harlequin Bugs from Australia

  1. comrade says:

    I have spent the last few hours finding out what these beautiful little creatures are and this page has been by far the most informative. I like keeping weird animals that no one else would even consider as a pet, over the last summer I got looper caterpillars to change into moths. I have 2 immature male Tectocoris diophthalmus that I found today. Any information on how to keep them, I’m new to this but I think I’m trying to say I want to know how to keep the 2 males I found today and I’m also interested in how to find their eggs and keep them through all the stages of development. I have lived in the Illawarra for most of my life and loved these bugs since was very young, I’ve heard there is a photo of me covered in them, when I was about 2.

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