The other day I found this big green stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae: Chinavia hilaris) crawling on a swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, Asclepiadaceae) in a southeast Michigan floodplain forest. It may have been feeding on the milkweed, but I didn’t observe it. Stink bugs in general suck the sap from a wide variety of plants, and some like the brown marmorated stink bug are crop pests.
Stink bugs are usually easy to recognize thanks to some obvious features. These true bugs tend to be relatively large and wide, often have shield-shaped bodies, feature large triangular scutella, and sport five-segmented antennae (hence the family name Pentatomidae). Green stink bugs have evolved to display protective coloration, but many other members of this family (like the twice-stabbed stink bug) are brightly colored (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).
As the common name implies, stink bugs can be quite malodorous. Although they are perhaps the best-known insects that produce a defensive odor, many broad-headed bugs are capable of creating even more noxious scents (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).
Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson. 2005. Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects. Seventh Edition. Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.