This beautiful insect looks like a beetle, but it is in fact a bug – a true bug as entomologists call hemipterans. It is a member of the family Scutelleridae and is commonly called a jewel bug or a metallic shield bug. The Lychee Shield Bug or Green Jewel Bug, Chrysocoris stolli, is widely distributed throughout south Asia and South East Asia: from India to the Philippines.
Despite its fabulous appearance, it is a bit of a pest, reportedly feeding on some food plants and medicinal plants (1). One of these plants – Cassia occidentalis – is an exotic and widespread weed in India, and this insect is being considered as a potential biological control agent (2).
The fact that it is called the Lychee Shield Bug suggests to me that it might be fond of supping on lychees! It feeds on a wide range of plants, including some of those that happen to be grown by man! But hey, these bugs have been around an awful lot longer than us! I came across this insect in Chiang Dao – north of Chiang Mai – in northern Thailand.
The shield-like back of the insect – with the pronounced bulge at the front of the abdomen – is seen below. They are sometimes called shield-back bugs. In jewel bugs the scutellum – small shield-like structure – has expanded to cover the whole abdomen with the wings located underneath.
For a really fantastic blog on South East Asian Scutelleridae – I’m in awe of the photography on this website – check out Spineless Wonders by David Knowles (3).
- Pravesh Kumar and SC Dhiman (2013). Some Ethological Aspects of Chrysocoris Stolli Wolf (Heteroptera -Pentat Omidae –. Scutellerinae). Journal of Zoological Sciences 1(1), 8-12.
- Sehgal, P. K., and S. C. Dhiman. (2015). Effect of temperature and relative humidity on the occurrence of Chrysocoris stolli Wolf (Heteroptera Pentatomidae Scutellerinae) a potential biocontrol agent of Cassia occidentalies.
I am an entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.