|Photo Credit: Zeimusu|
Although the word "bug" is often used to describe small insects in general, it actually refers to insects in the order Hemiptera. Stinkbugs, of which there are thousands of species, are among the most interesting.
The many species of stinkbug have adapted to a wide variety of habitats. they inhabit areas ranging from deserts to tropical mangrove swamps. Stinkbugs in the tropics are among the largest and most spectacularly colored.
About 300 species of stinkbug can be found in the United States. Most are plain, but one exception is the brightly colored harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica.
Stinkbugs eat a wide variety of food, which differs according to species. Many stinkbugs suck the sap from plants, Herbivorous species have special bacteria in their digestive tract which breaks down the plant matter.
Many stinkbugs prey on any insect that is small enough to be overpowered, like the beetle. Soft-bodied insects such as the caterpillars are their usual prey, but some species of stinkbug can be cannibalistic and will sometimes eat other stinkbugs.
Did you know?
- A single species of stinkbug manages to survive in the Arctic.
- The female stinkbug shows great care for her eggs and young, more so than any other group of insects with the exception of bees, wasps, ants, and termites.
- Females of the European species, Elasmucha grisea, stay with their offspring for several weeks after they hatch, then die.