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St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer (Dysdercus andreae)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer.

 Updated: 3/14/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Originally a pest of cotton plants, St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer has moved on to another important cash crop in the sunshine state.



St. Andrew's Cotton Stainers are a type of Red Bug known for marking or staining the fruit it feeds on. The torso has a white diagonal, or tilted cross, like that of St. Andrew on the Scottish flag. Its bright red body has black wing tips, two black spots in the middle of the body near the center of the cross, and a black triangle near the pronotum ('shoulders') smudged with red in its center. Nymphs are commonly seen with adults on the same plant and have a plump abdomen with white lines running across it. Each white line has a tiny black dot on the midline of the insect.

Historically, Cotton Stainers attacked young cotton bolls. Cotton bolls are the fluffy fruit of the cotton plant. When harvested, these tufts of cotton make fabric and cotton balls. The bug's feeding habit streaked the fresh, white cotton boll a yellowish brown color that never washed out. This staining ruined harvests on a grand scale, establishing the genus as an agricultural pest. This species can cause young cotton bolls to remain small in size. In addition to cotton, both nymphs and adults groups pierce edible fruits with their beaks and drink the juices inside. They are increasingly seen in fruit orchards and may be to blame for orange drop, a consequence of feeding on oranges which results in the fruit completely falling off the tree the same day. Spraying soapy water on affected plants may deter them. Removing weeds, debris, and other hiding places on the ground removes their winter shelters.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Pyrrhocoreidae
          Genus: Dysdercus
            Species: andreae
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Dysdercus andreae
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 12mm (0.31in to 0.47in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red, black, white
Descriptors: oranges, drop, cross, diagonal, triangle, dots, smear, stain, flying, pest, harmful
Territorial Map
Alaska  
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Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
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.