Animal Species:Cotton Harlequin Bug

The Cotton Harlequin Bug is a member of the Jewel Bug family named for their bright metallic colouration.

Standard Common Name

Cotton Harlequin Bug

Identification

The males and females of the Cotton Harlequin Bug are different colours, with the females mostly orange and the males mostly blue-red.

Size range

2 cm

Distribution

The Cotton Harlequin Bug is found in eastern Australia.

Habitat

The Cotton Harlequin Bug lives in urban, agricultural and coastal areas.

Seasonality

The Cotton Harlequin Bug is common during summer in Sydney gardens and among ornamental trees in parks.

Feeding and Diet

The Cotton Harlequin Bug feeds on many species belonging to the hibiscus plant family (Malvaceae), including ornamental hibiscus species and cotton. It feeds mostly on young shoots, piercing the stems and sucking the sugar-rich juices intended for shoot growth.

Economic/social impacts

Cotton Harlequin Bugs are sometimes a minor pest of cotton and have been known to cause the introduction of a fungus, which rots the cotton boll. In gardens, they cause flower buds to drop prematurely.

Classification

Species:
diophthalmus
Genus:
Tectocoris
Subfamily:
Tectocorinae
Family:
Scutelleridae
Superfamily:
Pentatomoidea
Infraorder:
Pentatomomorpha
Suborder:
Heteroptera
Order:
Hemiptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags bugs, pests, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,

6 comments

Gillian - 12.04 PM, 06 April 2012
Did you know that the MacDonald Ranges east and west of Alice Springs were said to have been formed during Aboriginal Dreaming by the carcases of hawk moth caterpillars (Yeperenye) killed by stink bugs? The stink bugs were probably a relation of the Harlequin beetles.
Gillian - 11.04 AM, 06 April 2012
I was pruning my native hibiscus plants yesterday and found a couple of orange harlequin beetles standing guard over their egg clusters; one group hatched this morning and when bringing in the garbage bins, I noticed a heap of newly hatched blue harlequin beetles with parent rounding them up on the lid of the green waste bin - it hadn't been emptied - and relocated them to the hibiscus garden...plenty of pics now to add to my collection for turning into great rigid laminated bookmarks!
David Britton - 10.01 AM, 10 January 2012

Hi Inge,

That is the ground shield bug Choerocoris paganus (Fabricius, 1775). It is in the same family as the Cotton Harlequin bug, but has a much broader distribution and is found in all states of Australia, and is about half the size of T. diophthalmus.

harlequin - 7.01 PM, 01 January 2012
just found this most beautiful specimen of a Cotton Harlequin Bug on my pavement on a farm in Beverley/Western Australia. Does that confuse the theory that it is an Eastern States bug?

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fortgibbes - 7.05 PM, 04 May 2011
This gathering of cotton harlequin bugs was photographed by me at Haberfield, Sydney, NSW, in January 2010.

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cjveitch - 3.02 PM, 24 February 2010
As requested by Dave Britton, here is an image of a cotton harlequin bug Tectocoris diophthalmus (Hemiptera: Scutelleridae), found near my home in Torquay Vic.

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