Subject: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Variant?
Location: Portland, Oregon
November 11, 2016 5:09 pm
These two hemipterans were playing touchy-feely near Portland, Oregon. One is obviously a Western Boxelder bug, but the other one is leaving me slightly perplexed. Although the photograph doesn’t do it justice, the shield bug was essentially black and gold, almost as if highlighted with goldleaf. I suspect it is just a variant of the brown marmorated stink bug; I’ve seen ones with brownish, or reddish, or greenish hues, but never one that that seemed to sparkle in the sun. In any case, after about a minute of inter-species investigation the two bugs went their separate ways. Your thoughts? I know you’re probably inundated with identification requests, so if this is just another BMSB, please feel free to ignore the inquiry.
Signature: David Hopkins
We have corrected the spelling error you requested. In our opinion, this is NOT a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug because according to BugGuide: “The brown mottled color and banded antennae are distinctive” and your individual has solid colored antennae. This might be an African Cluster Bug, Agonoscelis puberula, which we found on BugGuide, though BugGuide does not list the range for this invasive species in Oregon at this time. Our biggest doubt regarding that as the identification is that BugGuide indicates it is “very pubescent” or hairy, and your individual appears to be quite smooth in your high quality image. So, for now we cannot commit to a species identification, and we really like your inter-species investigation with the Western Boxelder Bug.
Thanks for your very prompt reply, Daniel. I noticed the lack of antennal banding, as well, although there does seem to be some variation in the widths of the light and dark bands on the brown marmorated stink bug. With a little imagination (well, with a lot of imagination, actually) hints of white at the antennal joints might be made out, but not enough to be considered banding. I think you’re right that it’s probably not an African Cluster Bug; not only is it not very pubescent, it lacks the light “Y” or trident shape commonly seen on the scutellum. For now, let’s call it Verus mysterium!