|scientific name Podisus maculiventris |
common name Spined Soldier Bug
This species is common along streams, densely wooded areas (Blatchley 1926), and in agricultural ecosystems (De Clercq 2000).
Adults are active from April to October (De Clercq 2000); a single specimen in the Strickland Museum was collected in November.
This species is brown in colour and lacks the obvious dull-yellow mottling apparent in P. placidus. The "spined soldier bug" lends itself to the characteristics of its pronotum. The pronotum has very concave margins with narrow, smooth sided projections on either side that resemble spines. There is a ventral spine on abdominal sternite II that projects anteriorly and reaches between the hind coxa. This characteristic isolates this species from P. brevispinus. Also, the membrane of the wings has a dark spot unlike P. placidus. Adults are of a larger size in comparison to the other Podisus species; length 11-13.5 mm (Blatchley 1926; McPherson 1982).
The eggs of this species hatch after approximately one week at temperatures between 20° C and 25° C. First instar nymphs are gregarious and phytophagous, but with consecutive molts become more independent and full on predators (De Clercq 2000). Between 25 and 46 days after hatching nymphs become mature adults (Blatchley 1926; De Clercq 2000). The species overwinters as adults and after emerging from hibernation begin mating immediately, often mating several times and with several partners. Up to 492 eggs have been recorded as being oviposited by a single female (De Clercq 2000).
This is the most common asopine species in N.A., though reportedly rare in Florida (Blatchley 1926).
This species is highly polyphagous, with more than 90 insect prey species, but primarily feeds on the larvae of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. First instar nymphs are phytophagous but become predatory after molting. In addition, later instars and adults are known to exhibit cannibalistic behaviour when food is limited (De Clercq 2000).
Maw et al. (2000) indicate a distribution ranging across the eastern provinces of Canada, from Manitoba to Newfoundland. However, Henry and Froeschner (1988) reported in their catalog that this species ranges as far as British Columbia to the west and Texas to the south. They also indicate introduced populations in Europe and Korea (Henry and Froeschner 1988). This species has not been collected in Alberta.
There is extensive literature on this species. Despite the generalist feeding habits, this species has a significant use in biological control due to sheer abundance in North America (McPherson 1982; De Clercq 2000).
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