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Predatory Stink Bug (Podisus spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Predatory Stink Bug

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Predatory Stink Bug offspring are all flash and color in their youth, but like most species, all that changes with maturity.

Updated: 09/16/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The physical form of juvenile and adult of Predatory Stink Bugs is quite different. Young nymphs are round and mostly bright red or orange, looking somewhat like small Lady Beetles. As they grow, bands of white lines develop and the nymph becomes flatter. Adults are a drab brown, having lost all remnants of youthful radiance after molting into adult form. This less conspicuous coloring makes for good camouflage and allows the adult to get closer to insect prey undetected. The predatory part of this bug has to do with its attack and dispatch method. Predatory Stink Bugs have short beaks and sucking mouth parts that are used to siphon nutrition out of a living food source. They slowly approach caterpillars, pupae, and other insects that may be larger, and stab the oblivious bug to begin feeding from it. Members of one species of Predatory Stink Bug feeds on plant juices when very young, but it graduates to caterpillars and sawfly larvae as an adult.

Adults hibernate over winter and emerge in the spring to seek mates. Females lay fertilized eggs under leaves or other objects where they hatch within a week in the right conditions. After several instars, a species like P. placidus reaches maturity in just a month. The diet of plant-chewing insects makes the Predatory Stink Bug a beneficial partner in the garden.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Pentatomidae
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          Genus: Podisus
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            Species: spp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Podisus spp.
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 11mm (0.27" to 0.43")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; red; white
Descriptors: odor; flying; stripes; multicolored

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 7mm (0.3in) and 11mm (0.4in)
Lo: 7mm
Md: 9mm
Hi: 11mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Predatory Stink Bug may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Predatory Stink Bug. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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