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  1. 294 Photo by Jan Anderson (Brissy Girl on Flickr)
  2. 294_0 Mating photo by Jan Anderson (Brissy Girl on Flickr)
  3. 294_1 Eggs photo by Emily Sephton
  4. 294_2 Nymph photo by Jan Anderson (Brissy Girl on Flickr)
  5. 294_3 Nymph photo by Jan Anderson (Brissy Girl on Flickr)
  6. 294_4 Nymph photo by Graham Prichard
  7. 294_5 Photo by Jan Anderson (Brissy Girl on Flickr)
  8. 294_6 Photo by Greg Miles

Bronze Orange Bug

Musgraveia sulciventris

Appearance

  • Colour: baby bugs (nymphs) are initially bright green (as are the eggs from which they hatch), before turning orange-red with a black dot on their back. An adult is bronzy-black with a broad thick body and a triangular back plate. Its head is small in relation to the rest of its body and it has orange antennae. Its leg joints are orange.
  • Size: eggs are about 2.5 mm in diameter and adults are about 2.5 cm long.

Behaviour

  • Diet: sap from citrus plants, including orange, lemon and lime trees, which it sucks through its tube-like mouthparts. It may also feed on the fruit and flowers of these plants.
  • Flight: a strong flyer.
  • Breeding: after mating, females lay eggs on the underside of host leaves, and the bright green eggs hatch into baby bugs (nymphs) about one week later.

What to Observe

  • Presence (to establish the first and last sighting for the season)
  • Courting/mating
  • Presence of eggs
  • Presence of nymphs (baby bugs)
  • Mass outbreak

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

Climate change could mean that the distribution of the bug’s food plant changes, which in turn could cause a change in the distribution of bugs. Also, warmer conditions as a result of climate change could result in the life cycle of bugs starting earlier and becoming prolonged. (Ian Endersby, personal communication).

When To Look

  • From spring and throughout summer.
  • Young can be seen from late winter.
  • Adults are commonly seen in October and November.

Where To Look

  • On citrus plants in urban areas, commercial orchards and forests.
  • In Queensland and New South Wales, particularly along the coast.

Bronze Orange Bug Occurrence Map ALA

References

CSIRO 1991. The Insects of Australia. CSIRO Publishing.

Goode, J 1980.  Insects of Australia. Angus & Robertson Publishers.

Hangay G and German P 2000. Insects of Australia. Reed New Holland, Sydney.

Schuh RT and Slater JA 1995. True Bugs of the World (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). Cornell University Press, New York, USA.

Zborowski P and Storey P 2003. A Field Guide to Insects of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, Australia.

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  1. Did You Know?

    When disturbed, the bug squirts a foul-smelling fluid that can stain and burn human skin and eyes. This is used for defence against potential predators.

    It is a pest in some commercial citrus orchards as sucking sap from the plants causes the stalks and young shoots to wilt and fall off. Its secretions also burn the leaves.

    It is a member of the Giant Shield Bug family (Tessaratomidae).