Shiny mostly red beetle
Location: Serpentine Falls Park, WA Australia
December 20, 2010 2:22 am
We saw this bug on somebody’s shirt yesterday afternoon near Serpentine Falls WA Australia. None of us could identify it but I got a pretty decent photo. I was surprised to not see any visible split in the shell. Any idea what this might be?
True Bugs are often mistaken for beetles. Your insect is a Red Jewel Bug, Choerocoris paganus, in the Shield Bug Family Scutelleridae which we identified on the Insects of Brisbane website. The Indigenous Flora and Fauna website, which identifies this species as the Ground Shield Bug states: “The Shield bugs resemble beetles with their tortoise-like shell. However, whereas in beetles this is formed by the hardened and thickened forewings, in Shield bugs the shell is formed by the greatly enlarged scutellum (which is like a tiny triangular plate between the wings of other insects). The patterns on this species vary markedly depending on the stage of growth (‘instar’). Females are basically orange with metallic green spots while males are blood red with metallic green blotches but there are many variations. The bugs are commonly noticed in aggregations of dozens.“ We would love to find some information on the wing structure of this species, but our initial web searching has not provided any information on the phenomenon that you noted. You indicate that there is no visible split in the shell, and that would be an indication of a fused wing structure which would render this species flightless which might be why it is commonly called a Ground Shield Bug. We hope one of our readers is able to provide information regarding the probability that the Red Jewel Bug is flightless.