You are on page 1of 5

Musgraveia sulciventris is a large stink bug,

referred to as the bronze orange bug or more

commonly called stinkbug. It is an Australian
insect in the family Tessaratomidae. A familiar
visitor to gardens and orchards, it is considered a
pest, particularly on plants in the citrus group.
Adults grow to 25 mm (1 in) long. They suck sap
from the tips of plants.[1][2]

Swedish entomologist Carl Stl described the
species in 1863 as Oncoscelis sulciventris, from a
collection near Moreton Bay in Queensland.[3][4]
English entomologists Dennis Leston and G.G.E.
Scudder reclassified the bronze orange bug as
Musgraveia sulciventris in 1957 due to
reorganisation of Oncoscelis and related genera.
[5] It is the type species of the genus

Description and life cycle[edit]

Mating takes place between late November till
early March around Sydney. The female lays up
to four clutches of eggs. Each individual mating
between a male and a female takes 3 to 5 days,
with a batch of 1014 eggs laid 13 days

afterwards. These are deposited on the

undersurface of a leaf, generally new growth. The
bright green spherical eggs are around 2.5 mm
(0.1 in) in diameter. The incubation period varies
according to weather, but at 25 C and 60%
humidity averaged around 7.4 days to hatch.[7]
The nymph stages are so different in colour they
could be mistaken for different species.[8] The
species has five instars or stages of
development. The first instars remain huddled
near the eggs,[7] and are transparent pale green
with greenish white legs and antennae and
orange eyes. The second instar is more buff or
pale yellow.[9]

Life cycle of Musgraveia sulciventris

A cluster of 13 small spherical eggs glued
together on a twig. Visible through each are the
pair of eyes of the developing embryos, except
for an unfertilized egg.
Small flattened ovoid bug wandering on a twig.
Empty eggs lie below them with holes at the
An oval dorsoventrally flattened nymph of the
bronze orange bug on a citrus leaf.

A bronze orange bug clinging to the underside of

an orange leaf. The shape of its body is distinctly
Left: A cluster of bronze orange bug eggs. The
embryos can be made out through the clear egg
membranes, as well as the small ring of
micropylar processes on each egg. The second
egg from the bottom right is unfertilized and
remains a murky green; Center left: Nymphs
emerging from the eggs. Early instars of bronze
orange bugs are bright green in color; Center
right: A fourth or fifth instar nymph resting on a
citrus leaf. It is now brilliantly orange in color with
black margins and a small black dot at the center
of its body; Right: An adult bronze orange bug on
the underside of a citrus leaf. The adults are
much drabber in color than the nymphs. Below it
is also a green third instar nymph
Distribution and habitat[edit]
Musgraveia sulciventris is found in Queensland
and New South Wales in Eastern Australia, as far
south as Wollongong.[6] Its range has spread
significantly since European colonisation.[10]


Its native host plants include desert lime (Citrus

glauca), the Australian finger lime (Citrus
australasica)[7] and Correas.[11] It has become a
major pest of cultivated citrus crops, where it
sucks the fluid from new growth and young fruit,
causing them to turn yellow and drop off.[8]
Whole crops can be devastated.[12]

The common name of stinkbug refers to a

malodorous liquid the insect sprays when
threatened. It is composed of alkanes, cimicine
and aldehydes from glands in the thorax. These
compounds are primarily for protection against
fellow arthropods (to which they are lethal).
However, the defensive chemicals of M.
sulciventris are notable for being among the
most debilitating to vertebrates, probably a
defence specifically aimed against birds.[13]
They can cause damage to human skin and even
cause temporary blindness if sprayed unto the
eyes.[14][15][15][16] The bronze orange bug can
spray the liquid at a target up to 0.6 m (2 ft 0 in)

Insects that prey on the bronze orange bug

include the common assassin bug (Pristhesancus
plagipennis), the predatory Asopinae bug species

Amyotea hamatus, and the parasitoid wasps

Eupelmus poggioni and Telenomus spp..[3]

Related Interests