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Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Spined Soldier Bug



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Image Credit: Tim in PA
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A gardener's true ally, the Spined Soldier Bug guards fruits and vegetables from the destructive forces of plant eaters.



Updated: 09/08/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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: fruit trees and vegetable gardens. 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-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 all eaten, reducing their population sizes. 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 Bug among fruits and vegetables is a welcome sight.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Helpful insect icon
Rounded insect body icon
Striped or banded insect icon


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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: maculiventris
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Podisus maculiventris
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 13mm (0.31" to 0.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, red, white, brown, orange, yellow
Descriptors: round, sword, spine, stripes, multicolored, plant bug, nymph, beneficial, helpful
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 13mm (0.5in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 10.5mm
Hi: 13mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Spined Soldier 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 Spined Soldier Bug. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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