Common Name: Spined soldier bug
Scientific Name: Podisus maculiventris (Say)
Description: Adults are vary in color from yellowish to pale brownish and are covered with small black specks. There is also a short black line on the wing tips which extends beyond the abdomen. A conspicuous spine on the middle of the front tibia may also be noticed. They are about 1/2-inch long. Eggs are metallic bronze.
This species may be confused with Euchistus species, which are common plant feeding stink bugs. The spined soldier bug has more acute spines on the edge of the pronotum.
Life Cycle: Eggs are laid in small clusters of 20-30 on leaves of plants. Immatures may be found clustered around the eggs shortly after they hatch. Young nymphs may feed on plant juices but later stages are predaceous. Each female may lay up to 1000 eggs. Adults may live for 5 to 8 weeks.
Habitat, Food Source(s), Damage: Prey include many kinds of caterpillars and grubs, especially those with few hairs. They are known to prey on larvae of the fall armyworm and the Colorado potato beetle.
Pest Status: This is one of the more prominent predatory stink bugs in North America.
For additional information, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent or search for other state Extension offices.
Literature: Slater and Baranowski 1978; Swann and Papp 1972.