The Pentatomoidea are a superfamily of insects in the Heteroptera suborder of the Hemiptera order. They are commonly referred to as shield bugs, chust bugs, and stink bugs. As Hemiptera, they share a common arrangement of sucking mouthparts.[1]

Male Acanthosoma labiduroides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Pentatomomorpha
Superfamily: Pentatomoidea

See text

The roughly 7000 species under Pentatomoidea are divided into 14 or 15 families.[2][3]


The Pentatomoidea are characterised by a well-developed scutellum (the hardened extension of the thorax over the abdomen). It can be triangular to semielliptical in shape.[3] Pentatomoidea species usually have antennae with five segments. The tarsi usually have two or three segments.[4]

Shield bugs have glands in their thoraces between the first and second pair of legs that produce a foul-smelling liquid, which is used defensively to deter potential predators and is sometimes released when the bugs are handled. The nymphs, similar to adults except smaller and without wings, also have stink glands.

The nymphs and adults have piercing mouthparts, which most use to suck sap from plants, although some eat other insects. When they group in large numbers, they can become significant pests.

Species that resemble pentatomoids are found in the superfamily Coreoidea.


These families are classified under Pentatomoidea:[5]

  • Acanthosomatidae Signoret, 1863 – known as shield bugs, contains 46 genera and 184 species found worldwide[6]
  • Canopidae McAtee & Malloch, 1928 – found strictly in the Neotropical ecozone[7]
  • Cydnidae Billberg, 1820 – known as burrowing bugs, it contains 120 genera and about 765 species worldwide.
  • Dinidoridae Stål, 1867 – found in tropical Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America, composed of 16 genera and about 65 species[3]
  • Lestoniidae China, 1955 – small, round bugs that bear a resemblance to tortoise beetles (Chrysomelidae), composed only of one genus and two species, endemic to Australia[8]
  • Megarididae McAtee & Malloch, 1928 – contains only one genus (Megaris) and 16 species, small, globular bugs occurring in Central America[9]
  • Parastrachiidae Oshanin, 1922 – bright red and black bugs exhibiting maternal care of eggs, it contains only two genera: Dismegistus (Africa) and Parastrachia (Eastern Asia).[10][11][12]
  • Pentatomidae Leach, 1815 – known as stink bugs, it is the largest family in Pentatomoidea. It contains around 900 genera and over 4700 species.[10]
  • Phloeidae – large mottled brown and flattened bugs found strictly in the Neotropical ecozone. It is composed on only 2 genera and 3 species. They are known to exhibit strong maternal care.[7]
  • Plataspidae – found in Asia, particularly eastern Asia, although a few species of Coptosoma occur in the Palearctic. They are round plant-feeding bugs. It has about 59 genera and 560 species.[10]
  • Primipentatomidae – family with about four Early Cretaceous fossil species from China.[13]
  • Scutelleridae – known as jewel bugs or shield-backed bugs. Composed of 81 genera and about 450 species.
  • Tessaratomidae – known as giant shield bugs because they are usually relatively large. Has about 55 genera and 240 species worldwide (mainly in the Old World tropics).[2][3][14]
  • Thaumastellidae – small bugs usually found under rocks in tropical Africa and the Middle East. It contains only one genus and three species. There is some debate to their inclusion within Pentatomoidea.[15]
  • Thyreocoridae Amyot & Serville, 1843 – includes the former family, subfamily Corimelaeninae Uhler, 1872[16] – known as ebony bugs, they are small, oval, shiny black bugs.[17]
  • Urostylididae – contains about 11 genera and 170 species. They are found in Southern and Eastern Asia.[10] (including Korea).


The morphological unweighted tree of Pentatomoidea after Grazia et al. (2008).[18][19]











  Cydnidae sensu lato  






















See also


  1. "Hemiptera: bugs, aphids and cicadas". CSIRO. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  2. Cedric Gillott (1995). Entomology. Springer. p. 604. ISBN 978-0-306-44967-3.
  3. G. Cassis, Australia. Bureau of Flora and Fauna, & Gordon F. Gross (2002). Zoological catalogue of Australia: Hemiptera: Heteroptera (Pentatomomorpha). Csiro Publishing. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-643-06875-9.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. T. N. Ananthakrishnan (2004). General and applied entomology. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 370. ISBN 978-0-07-043435-6.
  5. David A. Rider (October 20, 2009). "Classification". Department of Entomology, North Dakota State University. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  6. Faúndez E. I. (2009). "Contribution to the knowledge of the genus Acrophyma Bergroth, 1917 (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Acanthosomatidae)". Zootaxa. 2137: 57–65.
  7. P220 Randall T. Schuh, James Alexander Slater, True bugs of the world (Hemiptera:Heteroptera): classification and natural history, Cornell University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8014-2066-0
  8. P136 Christopher G. Morris Academic Press dictionary of science and technology, Gulf Professional Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-12-200400-0
  10. Robert G. Foottit, Peter H. Adler Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society, John Wiley and Sons, 2009,ISBN 1-4051-5142-0
  11. Gengping Zhu; Guoqing Liu; Wenjun Bu & Jerzy A. Lis (2013). "Geographic distribution and niche divergence of two stinkbugs, Parastrachia japonensis and Parastrachia nagaensis". Journal of Insect Science. 13 (102): 1–16. doi:10.1673/031.013.10201. PMC 4012745. PMID 24738857.
  12. Jerzy A. Lis (2010). "Pretarsal structures in the family Parastrachiidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Pentatomoidea)". Zootaxa. 2693: 60–62.
  13. Yao, Yunzhi; Cai, Wanzhi; Rider, David A.; Ren, Dong (2013). "Primipentatomidae fam. Nov. (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Pentatomomorpha), an extinct insect family from the Cretaceous of north-eastern China". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 11: 63. doi:10.1080/14772019.2011.639814.
  14. James T. Costa (2006), The other insect societies; Belknap Press Series Harvard University Press, p.311, ISBN 0-674-02163-0
  15. P353 Zoological Catalogue of Australia
  16. David A. Rider, Cristiano Feldens Schwertner, Jitka Vilímová, Dávid Rédei, Petr Kment, Donald B. Thomas (2018) Higher Systematics of the Pentatomoidea. Chapter 2.2.18 in: Invasive Stink Bugs and Related Species (Pentatomoidea): Biology, Higher Systematics, Semiochemistry, and Management. J.E. McPherson, Ed. CRC Press DOI:10.1201/9781315371221-2
  17. Mike Boone (September 11, 2004). "Family Thyreocoridae – Ebony Bugs". BugGuide, Iowa State University. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  18. Dimitri Forero (March 13, 2009). "Pentatomoidea". Tree of Life web project. Retrieved April 28, 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)
  19. Jocelia Grazia; Randall T. Schuhb & Ward C. Wheeler (2008). "Phylogenetic relationships of family groups in Pentatomoidea based on morphology and DNA sequences (Insecta: Heteroptera)" (PDF). Cladistics. Wiley-Blackwell. 24 (6): 932–976. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2008.00224.x. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
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