Amongst the sorted samples were a few specimens of a very strange hemipteran. It has a long protuberance arising from the dorsal surface of its thorax and ends in a swollen knob, almost as if an insect pin had broken in half and the bottom half was missing. Thanks to Thomas Henry at the Systematic Entomology Lab, we were able to identify this insect as a mirid of the genus Helopeltis. As strange as they may seem to entomologists in California, they can be common and serious pests in the Australasian Region, especially on cocoa. Other crops attacked include mango and sweet potatoes.
Pentatomidae (stink bugs)
This family, commonly called stink bugs, emits a noxious odor when disturbed. They frequently feed on plant sap and can be serious pests in some areas. Other species are predaceous, and can be very beneficial, feeding on lepidopterous caterpillars, aphids, mealybugs, and other soft-bodied pests. The species imaged here has been identified by David Rider of North Dakota State University as the genus Glaucias.
Reduviidae (assassin bugs)
Reduviids are predatory insects with short, stout beaks. One subfamily (Emesinae) has bodies that have become extraordinarily thin and elongated. Several emesines were collected on the expedition, as well as a few colorful species of other subfamilies.
Scutellaridae (shield bugs)
This family includes species that have the thoracic scutellum enormously expanded over almost the whole abdomen. These species are often quite colorful, even in the nymphal stages.
These large, strange Oriental bugs are close relatives of the stink bugs (Pentatomidae). Usually they are larger than pentatomids and often have flanges on the tip of the abdomen. David Rider has suggested that they may belong to the genus Pygoplatys. One species, P. longiceps, appears to be from the same region of the Philippines and has the same shape of lateral and apical flanges. However, published photos show a brown coloration without bright silver spots. This discrepancy may be attributed to color changes over time.