Bronze Orange Bug Brissy Girl Jan Anderson/Flickr

Bronze Orange Bug

Musgraveia sulciventris

Did You Know?

  • A member of the Giant Shield Bug family Tessaratomidae
  • 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
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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 and leg joints.

Size

Eggs are about 2.5 mm in diameter; 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.

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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

Climate Adaptations

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.

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When and Where

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

  • In Queensland and NSW, particularly along the coast
  • On citrus plants in urban areas, commercial orchards and forests
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What Else?

Often known as the Orange Stink Bug because 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.