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Pittosporum shield bug - Monteithiella humeralis

By N A Martin (2016)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Hemiptera
Family:
Pentatomidae
Scientific Name:
Monteithiella humeralis (Walker, 1868)
  • Adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on a shoot of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on a shoot of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Plant & Food Research
  • Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Pittosporum shield bug, Pittosporum bug

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Synonyms

Strachia humeralis Walker, 1868
Antestia orbona Kirkaldy, 1909

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Biostatus and Distribution

This adventive shield bug comes from Australia and is found in the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It was first detected in New Zealand in 1950. It occurs on host plants, Pittopsorum species, in gardens and parks as well as in native ecosystems.

Conservation status: Widespread Australian insect that is a minor pest of Pittopsorum species.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

The Pittosporum shield bug overwinters as adults. Adults appear to gather in suitable overwintering sites and on plants for breeding. They are probably attracted to each other by an aggregation pheromone (volatile chemical). Breeding occurs on Pittosporum trees with unripe fruit and starts in spring, possibly as early as October, and continues until late summer. There are probably several generations per year. The overwintering adult females start laying eggs late spring. Each female lays several batches of eggs over several weeks, perhaps up to 8 weeks. This results in nymphs of all sizes being present at the same time. The resulting adults may mate and lay eggs until early autumn. Sometime during late summer the adult females cease laying eggs. This change is probably induced by a change in day length and perhaps by a combination of day length and temperature.

Eggs are laid in a cluster of up to 14, one for each ovariole. The eggs are a pale blue-green colour when first laid and turn white after a few days. Eggs are about 1 mm in diameter. Eye spots of the nymph are visible just before the egg hatches

Nymphs hatch from the eggs and are seen from November until April. First instar nymphs are like small, black, wingless adults. Nymphs go from one stage to the next by moulting, where the “skin” on the dorsal side splits and the next stage pulls itself out. As the insects progress through the nymphal stages their body and antennae change colour. The first instar is almost circular in outline, and coloured dark brown to black. The head and thorax (middle section of body) are usually black after the first day. The abdomen may be dark brown or black. The areas around the stink glands are black as are the edges of the abdomen. There is a pair of white spots near the front of the abdomen on the upper side. The legs are dark brown or black. The antennae are dark. The second instar is similar in colour to the first instar though there are often white areas on the lateral margins of the thorax (middle section of the body) and the first abdominal segment. It differs in that the head extends forward between the bases of the antennae and that the rostrum is very long and extends beyond the end of the abdomen. The rostrum contains the stylets used for feeding. As the second instar nymph grows, the rostrum no longer extends beyond the abdomen. Also the pair of white spots on the dorsal side of the abdomen turn yellow. The colour of third-fifth instars is similar the second instar.

Small wing buds can be seen on fourth instar nymphs. They are larger and more obvious on fifth instar nymphs. Adults emerge from fifth instar nymphs. In early summer, new eggs may be laid, but egg laying ceases in late summer. Depending on climate there may be 1-3 generations per year.

The length of the lifecycle (time from egg to adult) varies with temperature. In New South Wales, Australia, two entomologists, McDonald and Grigg, reported in 1980 that at fluctuating temperatures ranging from 10-33°C, the time from egg to adult was 41.3 days (range, 40-44 days). The time in days for each life stage were: eggs 5 (4-6), 1st instar 3.9 (3-5), 2nd instar 6.6 (6-8), 3rd instar 7.1 (6-8), 4th instar 9.4 (9-12), 5th instar 9.5 (-11). In New Zealand, Pendergast found that the time from egg to adult was 52 days during February and March in a laboratory.

Walking and flying
The nymphs and adults have six legs (three pairs) that are used for walking. The adults have two pairs of wings, the front pair is modified as covers for the hind wings. Part of the forewing is coloured brown, while the rest is membranous.

Feeding
Like other Hemiptera, the Pittosporum shield bug has sucking mouth parts. The long stylets, special shaped rods, are held in the rostrum. When it feeds, the bug moves the tip of the rostrum to the surface of an unripe fruit or other suitable part of the plant. During feeding the stylets are inserted into the plant. The mandibles hold the rostum in place. The maxillae stylets are inserted further into the plant. They form two tubes, one through which saliva is injects into the plant and a second through which plants juices are sucked up into the insect. Feeding of the Pittosporum shield bug has not been studied, but it probably can use its saliva to digest the tissues of the plant.

  • Drawing of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), the scale line equals 1 mm. (Published in Fauna of New Zealand Number 35, fig. 14). Image: Des Helmore © Landcare Research
    Drawing of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), the scale line equals 1 mm. (Published in Fauna of New Zealand Number 35, fig. 14). Image: Des Helmore © Landcare Research
  • Adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A mating pair of adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on an unripe fruit of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), note that one bug has white bands on its antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A mating pair of adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on an unripe fruit of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), note that one bug has white bands on its antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A mating pair of adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on an unripe fruit of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae)), note that one bug has white bands on its antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A mating pair of adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on an unripe fruit of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae)), note that one bug has white bands on its antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A cluster of 14 white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A cluster of 14 white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A cluster of white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), laid on the upper side of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), eggs about to hatch, note the red eyespots and the dark T-shape of the egg buster. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A cluster of white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), laid on the upper side of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), eggs about to hatch, note the red eyespots and the dark T-shape of the egg buster. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Newly hatched nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), by their eggshells on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae); note the dark T-shaped egg busters.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Newly hatched nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), by their eggshells on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae); note the dark T-shaped egg busters. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Newly hatched nymphs (black) of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) sitting by their eggshells (white) on the upper side of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Newly hatched nymphs (black) of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) sitting by their eggshells (white) on the upper side of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • A cluster of white egg shells and first instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), note the dark T-shape of the egg buster on some egg shells. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A cluster of white egg shells and first instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), note the dark T-shape of the egg buster on some egg shells. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • First instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), clustered around egg shells. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    First instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), clustered around egg shells. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Second instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), with egg shells and moulted skins of first instar nymphs, note the rostrum protruding from the hind end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Second instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), with egg shells and moulted skins of first instar nymphs, note the rostrum protruding from the hind end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Drawing of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) nymphs, (Published in General and Applied Entomology 12: 61-71, figs 8-14).  Image: F. McDonald and Janice Grigg © F. McDonald and Janice Grigg, General and Applied Entomology
    Drawing of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) nymphs, (Published in General and Applied Entomology 12: 61-71, figs 8-14). Image: F. McDonald and Janice Grigg © F. McDonald and Janice Grigg, General and Applied Entomology
  • Second instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), with egg shells, note the rostrum protruding from the hind end of the abdomen and the white patch  on the lateral margin of the first abdominal segment. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Second instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), with egg shells, note the rostrum protruding from the hind end of the abdomen and the white patch on the lateral margin of the first abdominal segment. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Second instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), note the long rostrum extending beyond the end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Second instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), note the long rostrum extending beyond the end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a second instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the long rostrum extending beyond the end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a second instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the long rostrum extending beyond the end of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A second instar (lower) and third instar (upper) nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a stem of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A second instar (lower) and third instar (upper) nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a stem of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Two third instar nymphs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Two third instar nymphs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Fourth instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the small wing buds. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Fourth instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the small wing buds. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the large wing buds extending onto the abdomen and the white band on the antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the large wing buds extending onto the abdomen and the white band on the antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), on leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of a fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the large wing buds extending onto the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of a fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the large wing buds extending onto the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Fifth instar (stage) nymphs and adults of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), gathered on a shoot of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae) in late summer.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Fifth instar (stage) nymphs and adults of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), gathered on a shoot of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae) in late summer. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Adults and fifth instar (stage) nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), gathered on a shoot of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae) in late summer.   Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Adults and fifth instar (stage) nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), gathered on a shoot of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae) in late summer. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
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Recognition

Pittosporum species, the host plants of the Pittosporum shield bug (Monteithiella humeralis) are also hosts of the Australasian green shield bug (Glaucias amyoti). The adults of the two species are easily distinguished, but the other life stages can be more difficult to tell apart.

Adult Pittosporum shield bugs are brown and smaller than the green adults of the Australasian green shield bug.

Eggs of the two species are of similar size, but differ in colour. Freshly laid eggs of the Pittosporum shield bug are pale green and turn white, while the eggs of the Australasian green shield bug are tan coloured, they can be much paler, more like off-white.

Nymphs
In New Zealand the first instar of both species are black and they both sit on their egg shells or stay close so they can be identified by the colour of the eggs.

Second instar nymphs of both species are also similar and are most easily identified by the colour of the egg shell if these are nearby. Pittosporum shield bugs may have a brown abdomen. Both species start with white abdominal spots and as the nymph ages the spots turn yellow. Both species may have white patches on the lateral margin of the thorax and the first abdominal segment.

Later instars of the Pittosporum shield bug are black or dark brown with paler brown areas. Australasian green shield bug third-fifth instar nymphs may be green, though some have a dark head and thorax, and the abdomen is much paler.

  • Adult pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Dorsal (top) view of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); Note the absence of any white spots in a line. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Dorsal (top) view of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); Note the absence of any white spots in a line. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A cluster of 14 white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A cluster of 14 white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A cluster of 14 eggs of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Coprosma repens. Image: DSIR photographers © Plant & Food Research
    A cluster of 14 eggs of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Coprosma repens. Image: DSIR photographers © Plant & Food Research
  • Newly hatched nymphs (black) of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) sitting by their eggshells (white) on the upper side of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Newly hatched nymphs (black) of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) sitting by their eggshells (white) on the upper side of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • First instar nymphs of the Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium, clustered around their egg shells. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    First instar nymphs of the Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium, clustered around their egg shells. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Second  instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), with egg shells, note the rostrum protruding from the hind end of the abdomen and the white patch  on the lateral margin of the first abdominal segment. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Second instar nymphs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae), with egg shells, note the rostrum protruding from the hind end of the abdomen and the white patch on the lateral margin of the first abdominal segment. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Fourth instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the small wing buds. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Fourth instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the small wing buds. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the large wing buds extending onto the abdomen and the white band on the antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae); note the large wing buds extending onto the abdomen and the white band on the antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Third and fourth instar nymphs of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: DSIR photographers © Landcare Research
    Third and fourth instar nymphs of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: DSIR photographers © Landcare Research
  • Green form of a fifth instar nymph of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti; note the prominent wing buds. Image: DSIR photographers © Landcare Research
    Green form of a fifth instar nymph of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti; note the prominent wing buds. Image: DSIR photographers © Landcare Research
  • Dark form of a fifth instar nymph of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) feeding on Coprosma berries; note the prominent wing buds. Image: DSIR photographers © Landcare Research
    Dark form of a fifth instar nymph of Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) feeding on Coprosma berries; note the prominent wing buds. Image: DSIR photographers © Landcare Research
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Natural Enemies

Eggs of the Pittosporum shield bug may be parasitized by two species of tiny wasps belonging to the family Platygasteridae. Trissolcus oenone (Dodd, 1913), a native species, parasitizes several native shield bugs. Another egg parasitoid, Trissolcus basalisi (Wollaston 1858), was released into New Zealand in 1949 to control the green vegetable bug, Nezara viridula. It also parasitizes eggs of other shield bugs including the Pittosporum shield bug and the Australasian green shield bug. When this wide host range was discovered in the 1960s, it was regarded as beneficial, because at that time protection of crops was regarded as more important than protecting native insects. Eggs parasitized by T. basalis turn black.

Table: Natural enemies of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), from Plant-SyNZ database (5 June 2015). The reliability index shows the quality of evidence for the host association (0-10, 10=high quality).
Scientific NameCommon NameClassificationEnemy TypeReliability IndexBiostatus
Trissolcus basalis (Wollaston, 1858) (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Platygasteridaeparasitoid10adventive
Trissolcus oenone (Dodd, 1913) (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Platygasteridaeparasitoid10native
  • A cluster of white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae); the dark colour of the eggs indicates that they may be parasitised. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A cluster of white eggs of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) laid on the underside of a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae); the dark colour of the eggs indicates that they may be parasitised. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Parasitised eggs the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), some of the eggs are black whereas others have a black ring and some are unparasitised. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Parasitised eggs the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), some of the eggs are black whereas others have a black ring and some are unparasitised. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult wasp, Trissolcus oenone (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae), that has hatched from eggs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the way the wasps have chewed through the top of the eggs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult wasp, Trissolcus oenone (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae), that has hatched from eggs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the way the wasps have chewed through the top of the eggs. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae) investigating unhatched eggs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae) investigating unhatched eggs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Eggs of the Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Coprosma repens, the dark coloured eggs are parasitized by a wasp Trissolcus basalis (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Eggs of the Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on the underside of a leaf of Coprosma repens, the dark coloured eggs are parasitized by a wasp Trissolcus basalis (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • An adult egg parasite, Trissolcus basalis (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae) after emergence and eggs of the Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) from which the wasps are emerging.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    An adult egg parasite, Trissolcus basalis (Hymenoptera: Platygasteridae) after emergence and eggs of the Australasian green shield bug, Glaucias amyoti (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) from which the wasps are emerging. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

In New Zealand host plants are native species of Pittosporum and the Australian species Pittospotum undulatum.

Adults and juveniles feed on unripe fruit by inserting their stylets into the fruit and feeding on the unripe seeds and fruit tissue. They may also feed on leaves and stems.

Table: Host plants of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) from Plant-SyNZ database (17 June 2015). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
Perching kohukohu, Karo, Tawhirikaro, WharewhareatuaPittosporum cornifolium A.Cunn.Pittosporaceae10endemic
Kaikaro, Karo, KihihiPittosporum crassifolium Banks & Sol. ex A.Cunn.Pittosporaceae10endemic
Lemonwood, Kihihi, TarataPittosporum eugenioides A.Cunn.Pittosporaceae10endemic
KaroPittosporum ralphii KirkPittosporaceae9endemic
Black matipo, Kaikaro, Kohuhu, Kohukohu, Koihu, Kowhiwhi, Mapauriki, Pohiri, Powhiri, Rautawhiri, TawhiriPittosporum tenuifolium Sol. ex Gaertn.Pittosporaceae10endemic
Australian daphne, Sweet pittosporumPittosporum undulatum Vent.Pittosporaceae10naturalised
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Additional Information

Why Stink bugs
Pentatomidae are often called stink bugs because when handled they emit a strong smell. The nymphs have prominent glands on the upper (dorsal) side of their abdomen, while adults have glands between the bases of their legs. The chemicals may deter predators and cause other bugs to drop to the ground, but some of the chemicals produced may also act as aggregation pheromones.

Research Project
What triggers egg development in the spring and cessation of egg production in the autumn. Pittosporum shield bugs overwinter adults that hide among tree and shrub leaves, but may be seen basking in the sun. It is not known if they feed during this time. At some point in the spring they start feeding and eggs start developing in the ovaries of the females. In Auckland eggs may be found in late November. Overwintering adults could be collected and kept under different day length regimes to determine the environmental trigger for egg production.

In late summer, egg laying ceases. Is this caused by decreasing day length affecting the adults already laying eggs or those that have not yet started? Is the trigger a specific day length or decreasing day length?

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Information Sources

Cameron PJ 1989. Nezara viridula (L.), green vegetable bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). In: Cameron PJ, Hill RL, Bain J, Thomas WP eds A. review of biological control of invertebrate pests and weeds in New Zealand 1874 to 1987, Technical Communication No. 10. Wallingford, England, UK, CAB International. Pp. 111-114.

Coombs M, Khan SA 1997. New parasitoid/host records for Australian Pentatomidae, Tachinidae and Braconidae. Australian Entomologist 24: 61-64.

Cumber RA 1964. The egg-parasite complex (Scelionidae: Hymenoptera) of shield bugs (Pentatomidae, Acanthosomidae: Heteroptera) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Science 7(4): 536-554.

Lariviere M-C 1995. Cydnidae, Acanthosomatidae, and Pentatomidae (insecta: Heteroptera): systematics, geographical distribution, and bioecology. Fauna of New Zealand 35: 1-107.

Lariviere M-C, Larochelle A 2004. Heteroptera (Insecta: Hemiptera): catalogue. Fauna of New Zealand 50: 1-326.

McDonald FJD, Grigg J 1980. The life cycle of Cuspicona simplex Walker and Monteithiella humeralis (Walker) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). General and Applied Entomology 12: 61-71.

Pendergrast JG 1963. Observations on the biology and immature stages of Antestia orbona Kirkaldy (Hemiptera, Pentatomidae). New Zealand Entomologist 3(2): 19-25.

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database. plant-synz.landcareresearch.co.nz/.

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Acknowledgements

Dr Fred McDonald for permission to use his drawings published in General and Applied Entomology 12: 61-71, Figs 8-14.

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

Landcare Research New Zealand Limited (Landcare Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Other Images

  • A second instar (lower) and third instar (upper) nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a stem of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A second instar (lower) and third instar (upper) nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a stem of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Third instar nymphs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a stem of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Third instar nymphs of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a stem of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the large wing buds (arrow) extending onto the abdomen and the white band on the antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Fifth instar nymph of Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), note the large wing buds (arrow) extending onto the abdomen and the white band on the antennae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Second instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Second instar nymph of the Pittosporum shield bug, Monteithiella humeralis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on a leaf of Pittosporum crassifolium (Pittosporaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Suggested Citation

Martin, NA. 2016. Pittosporum shield bug - Monteithiella humeralis. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 29. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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