Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs from Singapore

shiny stinkbug colony
Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 8:49 AM
dear bugman
I found a bunch of stinkbugs huddled on a leaf in a mangrove swamp.Could you help me identify them?Why are they huddled together?Are they laying eggs?

Jewel Bugs
Jewel Bugs

Dear Curious,
In our opinion, there are Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs in the family Scutelleridae, not Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae. Interestingly, the closest image we could locate online is on the Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore website, and the matching insects are identified as Calliphara nobilis in the Family Pentatomidae and indicates: “Larvae are found only on Excoecaria agallocha, feeding on developing seeds, but adults can be abundant in gregarious swarms beneath any large leaves (e.g., Rhizophora spp.) and disperse with a loud buzzing when disturbed.” The plant that is mentioned as the larval food, Excoecaria agallocha or Buta-Buta, looks identical to the plant leaf in your photo. W
e tried searching that name, and found a mounted specimen on an Australian Government website, but the colors are different and the spots are larger and the family is identified as Scutelleridae. The spot size may be variable and the colors may fade with death. An untranslated Asian website has many images of the species, and other than being much greener than your image, they look remarkably similar.  Sadly, the species is not represented on one of these lovely stamps.

Jewel Bugs
Jewel Bugs

Update: April 2, 2011
We just posted a new letter and consequently, we have identified these Jewel Bugs as Mangrove Stink Bugs,
Calliphara nobilis.

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