member of a large, widely distributed family of true bugs
with flattened, shield-shaped bodies. Most are 1/4
in. (6-12 mm) long. Those species whose hard upper covering, or scutellum, covers most of the abdomen are known as shield bugs. An unpleasant-smelling secretion is emitted from two glands on the thorax and remains on whatever the bugs visit. Most stinkbugs suck plant juices; some feed on other insects. Certain species, such as the brightly colored harlequin bug, are destructive to garden crops. Many stinkbugs are protectively colored in brown or green; a black species is common on blackberries and raspberries. The eggs are usually shaped like squat barrels with hinged lids and are glued upright in double rows to the leaf surface. The young mature in five nymphal stages (see insect
). Stinkbugs of several species are used as human food in Mexico, India, and Africa. There are over 5,000 species, with several hundred in North America. Stinkbugs are classified in the phylum Arthropoda
, class Insecta, order Hemiptera, family Pentatomidae.
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