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giant shield bug nymphs

Lyramorpha sp.


This is probably Lyramorpha cf. maculifer but without the adult form I can't say. I don't know exactly what is going on here. In order to understand my confusion please see similar spottings from the same location (2011): and (2012): where the adult forms were present providing parental care. What is strange in the current spotting is that it looks like a sub-adult instar is guarding the nymphs (as a surrogate for the parent?)!!! See this spotting of later stage instars of this species


This spotting on goldfussia (Strobilanthes sp.) hedge vegetation a large semi-urban yard & garden next to a disturbed patch of remnant forest. This is in the equatorial tropics on northern New Guinea.


Suspected adult form:

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Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 7 years ago

Well Scott, I have a female cat that adopted two very young kittens... I think that motherly instinct in insects and spiders is closely related to hormones and pheromones. Maybe an almost adult female shield bug is already prepared to feel them. Anyway, I really wanted to know what is happening there.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks Sergio. I've been watching this species produce offspring for about 4 years here and while I've seen different stage instars mixing (see last link in my description), this is the first time I've seen a single late stage instar "assuming the sentry position". It was definitely too old to be from this brood. In every previous case I've always seen an adult standing guard but not his time. So for my little laboratory, this seemed novel. I guess maybe the adult was "lost" somehow (mortality?) because they are tenacious in their defense of nymphs this small. And maybe this late stage instar showed up (for whatever reason). :-)

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 7 years ago

Scott, I've seen scenes like that one here. Very often, hatchlings from an egg stack have different growth rates. This example ( is from a milkweed bug brood, but I've seen it happening with pentatomidae, reduviidae and coreidae too. So, it is not uncommon at all to have an older instar among earlier ones. And, I also noted that the nymphs tend to stay together untill they reach maturity, for safety, I guess.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks Maria, Larry, Luis & Sckel ;-)

Sckel 7 years ago

small coffins with a central cross.

LuisStevens 7 years ago


LarryGraziano 7 years ago


Maria dB
Maria dB 7 years ago

Interesting behavioral spotting!

Scott Frazier
Spotted by
Scott Frazier


Spotted on Feb 15, 2014
Submitted on Feb 19, 2014

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