Pentatomidae Leach, 1815
* Larivière, M.-C. 1995: Cydnidae, Acanthosomatidae, and Pentatomidae (Insecta: Heteroptera): systematics, geographical distribution, and bioecology. Fauna of New Zealand, (35)
Pentatomidae, Greek pente meaning five and tomos meaning section, is a family of insects that includes some of the stink bugs and shield bugs.
The idiomatic term stink bug is also applied to distantly related species such as Boisea trivittata, the boxelder bug, and the Eleodes sp., the pinacate beetles.
If disturbed, stink bugs emit a pungent liquid containing cyanide compounds with a rancid almond scent. Their antennae are 5-segmented, which gives the family its name. Their bodies are usually shield-shaped. The stink bugs have thick wing covers known as shields.
Many stink bugs and shield bugs are considered agricultural pest insects, because they can create large populations; they suck plant juices and damage crop production, and they are resistant to many pesticides. However, some genera of Pentatomidae are considered highly beneficial; the anchor bug, which can be distinguished by the red-orange anchor shape on the adult, is one example. It is a predator of other insects, especially Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, and other pest insects.
In the British Isles there are 33 species of shield bugs belonging to the super-family Pentatomoidea, 32 of which are native and 1 which is considered to be newly naturalised. Of these 32 species, 17 belong in the family Pentatomidae. Stink bugs hibernate in the winter.
The stink bug is known as bọ xít in Vietnamese, and is featured in Vietnamese cuisine.
* Forest bug (Pentatoma rufipes)
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License