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EMBOLOSTERNA TAURUS BEETLE TAXIDERMY

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KINGDOM : Animalia

PHYLUM : Arthropoda

CLASS : Insecta

ORDER : Hemiptera

SUPERFAMILY : Pentatomoidea

FAMILY : Tessaratomidae

GENUS : Embolosterna

EMBOLOSTERNA TAURUS BEETLE

The Pentatomoidea comprise a superfamily of insects in the Heteroptera suborder of the Hemiptera order and, as such, share a common arrangement of sucking mouthparts. They are commonly referred to as shield bugs, chust bugs, and stink bugs. The roughly 7000 species under Pentatomoidea are divided into 14 or 15 families.

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

Shield bugs have glands in their thoraces between the first and second pair of legs which produce a foul-smelling liquid, which is used defensively to deter potential predators and is sometimes released when the bugs are handled carelessly.

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.

Adult shield bugs are attractive insects, easily characterised by their flatish oval or five-sided shield shap (the pentatomids). They are often called stink bugs because when threatened, some species produce a pungent liquid from special glands near their hind legs (poke one and then sniff your hand). Most shield bugs feed on plant sap and some are pests of economically important crops such as coffee and cotton. Few gardeners would consider them to be pests, although the noxious liquid they produce can taint the taste of some fruit. Most shield bugs need symbiotic bacteria for the digestion of the sap. They acquire this aid-to-digestion at an early age, their mother smears her eggs with the bacteria so that the young nymphs ingest them as they feed on the egg case.

Unlike many insects, shield bugs often show parental care, guarding their young from predators. The Parent Bug (Elasmucha grisea) is so named because the female will actually sit on the eggs until they hatch. This reduces levels of attack from parasitic wasps.

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