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PYCANUM PONDEROSUM
TESSARATOMIDAE
CLEAR RESIN ENCAPSULATION

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Classification

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Hemiptera

Suborder: Heteroptera

Infraorder: Pentatomomorpha

Superfamily: Pentatomoidea

Family: Pentatomidae

Subfamily: Pentatominae

Tribe: Catacanthini

Genus: Catacanthus

Species: Catacanthus Incarnatus

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Phylogenetic systems of
Mantodea (Dictyoptera)

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PYCANUM PONDEROSUM
Tessaratomidae

Tessaratomidae is a family of true bugs. It contains about 240 species of large bugs divided into 3 subfamilies and 56 genera.

Tessaratomidae was first described as a family group by the Swedish entomologist Carl Stal in 1864.

Tessaratomidae is classified under order Hemiptera (true bugs), suborder Heteroptera, infraorder Pentatomomorpha, and superfamily Pentatomoidea (shield bugs and stink bugs). It is currently divided into three subfamilies: Natalicolinae (with 8 genera), Oncomerinae (with 15 genera), and Tessaratominae (with 33 genera and one of uncertain placement).

They are mostly found in tropical Africa, Asia, and Oceania though a few species can be found in the Neotropics and Australia. There are about 240 species known.

Tessaratomids resemble large stink bugs (family Pentatomidae) and are sometimes quite colorful. Most tessaratomids are Old World, with only three species known from the Neotropics. Some members of Tessaratomidae exhibit maternal care of eggs and offspring. The defensive chemicals of certain species can cause significant damage if they come into contact with human skin; they may also cause temporary blindness.

All species are exclusively plant-eaters, some of major economic importance as agricultural pests. A few species are also consumed as human food in some countries.

Larger species of Tessaratomidae are known informally as giant shield bugs, giant stink bugs, or inflated stink bugs, but they generally do not have a collective common name and are referred to mostly as tessaratomids.

Tessaratomids are ovate to elongate-ovate bugs. They range in size from the smallest members of the tribe Sepinini at 6 to 7 mm , to the large Amissus atlas of tribe Tessaratomini at 43 to 45 mm . They are generally quite large and usually exceed 15 mm in length.

The head of tessaratomids is generally small and triangular, with the antennae having 4 to 5 segments (though some of them, for example Siphnus, have relatively large heads). The scutellum (Latin for 'little shield', the hard extension of the thorax covering the abdomen in hemipterans) is triangular and does not cover the leathery middle section of the forewing but is often partially covered by the prothorax. The tarsi (the final segments of the legs) have 2 to 3 segments. They are most reliably distinguished from pentatomids by having six exposed abdominal spiracles instead of five.

Like all hemipterans, instead of mandibles for chewing, tesseratomids possess a piercing-sucking mouthpart for feeding (rostrum). In tesseratomids, the rostrum has 4 segments.Tessaratomids are oftentimes vividly colored.

Tesseratomids, like most heteropterans use chemical defenses (allomones), the source of the common name for pentatomoids - stink bugs. When threatened, tessaratomids may squirt a strong jet of caustic liquid up to a distance of 15 to 27 centimetres .

The chemicals produced by heteropterans are usually alkanes and aldehydes from glands in the thorax. Compounds that are primarily for protection against fellow arthropods (to which they are lethal). However, the defensive chemicals of tessaratomids (particularly that of Tessaratoma papillosa and Musgraveia sulciventris) are notable for being one of the most debilitating to vertebrates, probably a defense specifically aimed against birds. They can cause damage to human skin and even cause temporary blindness if sprayed unto the eyes.

Natural enemies of tessaratomids include several tiny parasitoid wasps as well as other hemipterans.

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