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Spined predatory shield bug

Image showing nymph of the spined predatory shield bug
Nymph. Photo: J. Wessels.
Spined predatory shield bug attacking a green vegetable bug nymph
Adult. Photo: K. Knight.
Image showing egg raft of the spined predatory shield bug
Egg raft showing short white spines around the rim. Photo: J. Wessels.


General information

Predatory shield bugs are found all year round on weeds and crops infested with caterpillars. Adults and nymphs are usually most abundant on cotton from December to February. The adult can lay about 200 eggs in its lifetime. The developmental period from egg to adult takes about 3 weeks and the adult can live for 4-8 weeks. Newly hatched nymphs remain clustered around the egg mass before dispersing. Both adults and nymphs are killed by insecticide sprays.

Scientific name

Oechalia schellenbergii

Description

Adults are 12 mm long and have a grey-brown, shield-shaped body with a light marking in the middle of the back and a pair of prominent spines on either side of the shoulder. Nymphs are dark grey with a characteristic red ring on the back. Eggs are laid in irregular-shaped rafts and are black with short white spines around the rim.

Similar species

Brown shield bug and glossy shield bug.

Pests attacked

Moth larvae including helicoverpa and loopers.

Impact on pest

Adults and older nymphs use piercing/sucking mouthparts to feed on insects. Young nymphs feed on plant sap.

Further information