Orange Black Stink Bug


Cotton Harlequin Bug - Tectocoris diophthalmus

Family Scutelleridae  

This page contains pictures and information about Cotton Harlequin Bugs that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Male and Female, body length 15, 20mm
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                                                                                                                                                        Photo: Steve Happ 
The bugs are also known as Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs. They are common in Brisbane. Females are orange with small patches of metallic blue scatter over their body. Males are red with metallic blue patches. Their patterns can be quite different between individuals. Males are smaller than the females in size. Their scutellum completely covers the whole abdomen and wings.
Female bug lays eggs and sticks them around stem during early summer. Maternal care is common in stink bug families. Cotton Harlequin Bug is well know for maternal care. 
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The patterns on their body can be quite different between individuals.  
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Above pictures show an adult male. The bugs suck the juice from hibiscus. They are found from summer to early winter.
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The bugs feed on plants of MALVACEAE includes hibiscus and cotton. The bugs, adults and nymphs, suck sap from host plants. They feed mostly on young shoots, piercing the stems and sucking the sugar-rich juices intended for shoot growth. As their common name implies, they also attack cotton. They are the minor pest of cotton, feeding on young shoots and bolls. 
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Photo: Jeff O'Donnell,  Sydney                                                Photo: Jeff O'Donnell, Sydney
The above pictures show the cluster of  nymphs. The pictures ware taken by Jeff O'Donnell in Sydney during early winter. We can see the 2nd to 5th instars stages in the cluster.


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On 11 Sep 2010, found this couple on the Hibiscus in our back yard. Found the female and her eggs on 23 Oct 2011. Female Cotton Harlequin Bug lays eggs around stem and will guard them until the eggs hatch.
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Hatched on 07 Nov 2010. 

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p 508, plate 3P.
2. Insects of Australia, Hangay, George, & German, Pavel, Reed New Holland, Sydney, 2000, p 65.
3. Tectocoris diophthalmus - Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Commonwealth of Australia 2005.
4. Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland - Queensland Museum Publications 2000. p89. 
5. Revision of the Australian Scutelleridae Leach (Hemiptera) - FJD McDonald and G Cassis, Australian Journal of Zoology, 1984.

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Last updated: February 26, 2011.