Subject: What is this bug – Beetle?
Geographic location of the bug: Jalisco, Mexico
Time: 11:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I found this guy in my garden. It’s size is what first caught my attention. I took it’s picture but did not, unfortunately take a measurement. It is about 8 to 10 times larger than an average Ladybug (which I thought it might be some giant species of at first). I wanted to find out if it was a beneficial insect or if it was going to do damage to my garden. No one I know seemed to know what it was from the picture (except a lot of people thought it was some kind of Ladybug as well). I did relocate it to a wild area near my house since I did not want to destroy it. Hopefully you can help me solve the mystery of it’s identity.
How you want your letter signed: Mario L Pardillo
This is not a Beetle. It is a True Bug in the family Scutelleridae, commonly called Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs. We believe based on images posted to ResearchGate and to iNaturalist that it is in the genus Augocoris, possibly Augocoris illustris. That species is listed on BugGuide, though the individuals are highly variable, ranging from pure orange to pure white, and judging by this image of a mating pair on BugGuide, they are also sexually dimorphic. The food plant listed on BugGuide is Chrysophyllum oliviforme, and regarding your concerns about it being damaging to your garden, we believe that as a native species, it has predators that will keep it in check and you should not worry unless you find large numbers on individual plants.