I came across this mass of baby shield bugs perched on top of a dry thistle flower, couldn’t believe how many there were! After photographing them I noticed that there were a lot of adults around, too, so I took advantage of them and asked a few of them to model for me, which they very kindly did, one of them insisting on perching on my hand!
Now for a bit of information about shield bugs…………
Shield bugs have glands in their thorax between the first and second pair of legs which produce a foul smelling liquid. This liquid is used defensively to deter potential predators and is sometimes released when the bugs are handled carelessly.
The nymphs, similar to adults except smaller and without wings, also have stink glands.
The nymphs and adults have piercing mouthparts which most use to suck sap from plants, although some eat other insects. When they group in large numbers they can become significant pests. Shield bugs normally appear during the spring and summer months.
They are commonly eaten in Laos, and are regarded as delicious due to their extremely strong odour. The insects are sometimes pounded together with spices and a seasoning to prepare cheo, a paste mixed with chillies and herbs. This is eaten as a side dish with glutinous rice.
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