Cotton Harlequin Bug, Tectocoris diophthalmus Click to enlarge image
Cotton Harlequin Bug, Tectocoris diophthalmus (Thunberg, 1783) Image: James McDonald
© James McDonald

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    diophthalmus
    Genus
    Tectocoris
    Subfamily
    Tectocorinae
    Family
    Scutelleridae
    Super Family
    Pentatomoidea
    Suborder
    Heteroptera
    Infraorder
    Pentatomomorpha
    Order
    Hemiptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    2 cm

Introduction

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

Identification

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

Habitat

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

Distribution

The Cotton Harlequin Bug is found in eastern Australia.

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 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.