Giant Shield Bug Nymphs from Tanzania

Subject: What’s this bug
Location: Northern Tanzania
February 13, 2016 11:51 pm
Seen in the pare mountains in northern Tanzania , was dripping liquid from its behind
Signature: David

Giant Shield Bug Nymphs
Giant Shield Bug Nymphs

Dear David,
This identification presented quite a challenge for us, and though we have not found anything conclusive, we are deducing its identity based on what we have been able to uncover on the internet.  These are immature True Bugs in the suborder Heteroptera, and they really remind us of immature Giant Mesquite Bugs found in North America because of both their bright colors and habit of remaining in aggregations.  In beginning our search, we did not want to leave out the possibility of your individuals being members of the superfamily Pentatomoidea that includes Stink Bugs and Shield Bugs.  Our first visual match is of a drawing we found on Etsy that is identified as
Piezosternum subulatum and the site indicates that the art print “Ships worldwide from Puerto Rico.”  We found a very good likeness to Piezosternum subulatum on FlickR, but it also seems to originate from Puerto Rico.  We decided to research any relatives found in Africa, and on the French site Heteroptera, we found six members of the genus listed, three from Central and South America and three from Africa and Madagascar.  We also learned that the genus is classified in the family Tessaratomidae, commonly called Giant Shield Bugs or Giant Stink Bugs.  Piezosternum fallax is listed from the countries “Cameroon, Central African Rep., Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zaire” so that seemed like a good possibility, but alas, Heteroptera only pictures the adults and your individuals are nymphs.  It should be noted that many immature Heteropterans are brightly colored, but upon growing wings when they mature, the wings hide the bright colors of the body.  We have not had any luck locating any images on nymphs in the genus Piezosternum from Africa to verify if our suspicions are correct so we eagerly welcome input from our readership to solve this query with visual evidence.

Giant Shield Bug Nymphs
Giant Shield Bug Nymphs

Hey Daniel, thanks so much , that’s was so thorough and educational and overall interesting . I hope you guys enjoyed seeing the pxutures as well though they don’t do the little guys justice in the least bit . Keep me updated as more information possibly becomes available , I live in a pretty remote area and near some understudied old growth forest so you never know what I’ll run into around here ! I appreciate the help and look forward to sending stuff your way in the future . If anything is ever undataloged would be happy to share the credit . Best wishes and have a great day !

We really look forward to getting additional submissions from you David.  It is marvelous that some old growth forest is being preserved as open space in Tanzania.

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