The bulbous red eyes on the Red-Shouldered Bug, an uncommon feature in insects, generate a curious interest in this otherwise overlooked insect.
The mostly black Red-Shouldered Bug has bright red edges on its pronotum, the 'shoulder' area of the insect. This vivid red is also seen in the large eyes, an unusual color for most insects. The abdomen edges are also red and may or may not be visibly extended from under the wings. Despite the alarm coloration, this insect is not a threat humans. It is also scentless, meaning it won't spray a noxious chemical when disturbed like other similar-looking insects.
Like many plant bugs, the Red-Shouldered Bug tends to form large congregations around host plants, and even seeks winter shelters inside warm houses and buildings. Because many plants in the Soapberry family are food sources for this type of bug, it is sometimes referred to as a type of Soapberry Bug. They are fond of the sweet sap and fruit from various trees as well and have been seen feeding on figs, plums and cherry trees. Dead insects and food leftovers from humans are also welcome parts of the Red-Shouldered Bug's diet.
This species can be found on or near host plants during the spring, summer and autumn. In warmer regions, a female can produce two broods a year. They are seen almost year round in California, Florida, Texas and Mexico.
Scientific Name: Jadera haematoloma
Other Name(s): Soapberry Bug, Jadera Bug, Goldenrain Tree Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 14mm (0.35in to 0.55in)
Colors: black, red
Descriptors: red eyes, shoulders, edges, sides, flying
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.