Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Spined Soldier Bug.
Updated: 6/25/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A gardener's true ally, the Spined Soldier Bug guards fruits and vegetables from the destructive forces of plant eaters.
Adult and nymph forms of the Spined Soldier Bug look very different from each other. This may lead to the unfortunate removal of young ones from their habitat: produce gardens and farms. Nymphs are round-bodied and small, coming in a variety of color variations depending on their age. Young ones are red and black. Older forms have short elytra (wing coverings) that may be brown with black edges, or completely black. The abdomen has orange or red center with black patches and yellow or white stripes crossing it. Adults are brown with black marks on the tips of the clear wings. A spine juts out of each 'shoulder'. A long dagger-like extension at the face pierces insect prey.
The immensely varied diet of the Spined Soldier Bug includes many insects that harm plants. Armyworms, cabbageworms, bean and potato beetles, and other types of caterpillars and borers are dispatched, reducing their numbers. Females lay small, round fertilized eggs on leaves. Many broods can be produced each year, helping gardens maintain a constant biological control for pest insects. A Spined Soldier Beetle among fruits and vegetables is a welcome sight.