Fun Spined Soldier Bug Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Feb 20, 2024 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 26, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Spined soldier bug facts, such as they are distinguished by their extending spinal cords, are interesting.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

The spined soldier bug (Podisus maculiventris ) belongs to the species called stink bug. They are most commonly found in North America. Despite being stink bugs, they are often welcomed by local homeowners and local farmers because they are predators to other harmful pests. Some of the most destructive pests they search for and prey on in field crops are the corn earworm, Mexican bean beetle, gypsy moth caterpillar, cabbage worms, flea beetles, and Colorado potato beetle. The scientific name of this predatory stink bug is Podisus maculiventris and they belong to the order Hemiptera.

For their efficiency in the search of and reduction of pests and biological control, the stink bug (Podisus maculiventris) have been exported to Eastern Europe and Russia for biological control programs. Spined soldier bugs do not survive in extremely cold climates. They are used in heated greenhouses to reduce pests. The adults in the spined soldier bug (Podisus maculiventris) species live among plants and crops such as asparagus, cotton, potatoes, and tomatoes. They attack other insects by penetrating them with their proboscis and sucking out all juices from its body. The stink bug, (Podisus maculiventris) species average lifespan is five to eight weeks, and male soldier bugs live slightly longer than females. A female soldier bug lays20-30 eggs at a time and up to a thousand in its lifetime. 

You may also check out the fact files on the giant water bug and wheel bug from Kidadl.

Spined Soldier Bug Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spined soldier bug?

The spined soldier bug is a small insect that belongs to the category of stink bug in North America. Stink bugs, scientifically known as Pentatomidae, belong to the order Hemiptera. They are also called shield bugs. Pentatomidae is a part of the superfamily Pentatomoidea. There are around 900 genera and 4700 species in the Pentatomidae family, and they are found all around the world. Pentatomids like spined soldier bugs have mouthparts that can pierce and suck juices out of their prey. Some Pentatomidae are agricultural pests, but others like the spined soldier bug prey on other pests and are beneficial. They eat the larva of other stink bugs, some of which are agricultural pests.

What class of animal does a spined soldier bug belong to?

Spined soldier bugs belong to the class of animals known as Insecta. The predatory stink bug (Podisus maculiventris) belongs to the order Hemiptera.

How many spined soldier bugs are there in the world?

There are millions of these insects in the world. Since this species is not in any danger of extinction, there has been no effort to count the approximate population of these bugs in the world. They are found all over the North American continent and are commonly seen in natural farms, gardens, and home yards. The predatory stink bug (Podisus maculiventris) belongs to the order Hemiptera.

Where does a spined soldier bug live?

Spined soldier bugs live in farms, woods, and in houses. Predatory stink bugs live among plants and crops and fly through them at a great speed. Spined soldier bugs easily populate a place with eggs because of they move around large distances in a small time. This bug (Podisus maculiventris) belongs to the order Hemiptera.

What is a spined soldier bug's habitat?

Spined soldier bugs (Podisus maculiventris) are nymphs found in the countries of Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico. They span over all the North American continents and have also been exported to Eastern Europe and Russia. They beneficial for their pest control abilities in plants. Except in extremely cold climates, adults of spined soldier bugs can thrive and populate and produce larva in a short time. Spined soldier bugs are commonly found in crops. Some crops particularly linked with them are asparagus, potato, beans, celery, eggplant, and tomato.

Who does spined soldier bug live with?

The spined soldier bug (Podisus maculiventris) lives comfortably in places populated with humans. They do not live in packs and prey alone with the help of their penetrative mouth organ. It is very common to find predatory stink bugs in greenhouses and farmlands for pest control. They quickly reproduce and make a home of their surroundings.

How long does a spined soldier bug live?

The adult's nymph instar from the Hemiptera order has a short life of five to eight weeks.

How do they reproduce?

Female adult spined soldier bugs lay eggs in small clusters of 20-30. They lay their eggs on top of the leaves of a plant. There are five natural stages of the nymph's life which are called an instar. Except for nymphs in their first instar, all other spined soldier bugs prey on other insects. The appearance of these insect nymphs goes through significant changes from the first instar to the adult instar. They grow in size and the color of spots on their body changes.

What is their conservation status?

Spined soldier bugs are found abundantly in the North American continent. They are under no threat of extinction and have a conservation status of Not Evaluated.

Spined Soldier Bug Fun Facts

What do spined soldier bugs look like?

Spined soldier bugs are small and brown in color and they have colored spots on their body. Their protruding spine over their shoulders and head gives them their name. Adult spined soldier bugs are shaped like a shield and are approximately 0.4-0.6 in (1.1-1.5 cm) in length. They have two wings, and along with that wing, the abdomen is marked with dark and bright colored spots. The insect name spined soldier comes from its outward extending spine at the back of its head. It is easily distinguishable by its spotted brown color.

Female spined soldier bugs lay eggs on leaves.

How cute are they?

If you think spined soldier bugs are especially cute, you may be among the exceptions. For most people, their appearance is gross and they would rather stay away from these bugs especially because they can fly with their wings.

How do they communicate?

Information about the communication of this Hemiptera order nymph instar is not known yet.

How big is a spined soldier bug?

An adult spined soldier bug is approximately 0.4-0.6 in (1.1-1.5 cm). They are very small insects. A medium-sized spider can be up to 10 times bigger than a big spined soldier bug.

How fast can a spined soldier bug fly?

Spined soldier bugs are known for their ability to fly at a fast pace through crops and plants. They can populate a place very quickly by laying eggs everywhere.

How much does a spined soldier bug weigh?

There is no data on the weight of the populations of these predators.

What are the male and female names of the species?

This insect population is not known by different male and female names. Male or female adults are referred to by the name spined soldier.

What would you call a baby spined soldier bug?

The insect babies of these adults are called larvae.

What do they eat?

They are predators of caterpillars and moths, along with larvae of Mexican bean beetle and corn earworm, which serve as their food in life.

Are they poisonous?

Spined soldier bug predators are not poisonous. They can still bite you in your local garden or park and it would hurt. There is no danger associated with the nymph instar.

Would they make a good pet?

It would be near impossible to domesticate insects like the spined soldier bug. Adults are still part of many houses for their ability to keep pests away from garden plants by feeding on them.

Did you know...

Spined soldier bugs actually save humans a lot of money every year in agriculture. Some pests can destroy crops, plants and cause heavy losses in agriculture. These populations of bugs search for and keep those pests away by feeding on them. This is why the life of this nymph is very important to many small and big farmers because they act as natural pest control.

Are spined soldier bugs harmful?

These nymph bugs pose no harm. They can prove to be a nuisance if adults are found in abundance, but they do not pose any threat to humans. It's important to spray pesticides in your garden and seal windows and doors with a loaded caulking gun to get rid of or control this pest (Podisus maculiventris). The pest (Podisus maculiventris) is attracted to light so you may want to keep your outdoor lighting minimal. They typically come out at night because of their attraction to light.

What arthropods are spined soldier bugs predators of?

Nymph bugs search for and prey on pests like the cabbage looper, imported cabbageworm, false potato beetle, Mexican bean beetle, velvet bean caterpillar, and flea beetles.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other insects from our giant huntsman spider facts and krill facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable realistic bug coloring pages.

Spined Soldier Bug Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Beetles, moths, and caterpillars

What Type of Animal were they?

Omnivore

Average Litter Size?

17 - 70 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

What habitat Do they Live In?

tundra, and temperate climates

Where Do They Live?

usa, canada, Mexico

How Long Were They?

0.4-0.6 in (1.1-1.5 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Insecta

Genus

Podisus

Family

Pentatomidae

Scientific Name

Podisus maculiventris

What Do They Look Like?

Brown

Skin Type

Exoskeleton

What Are Their Main Threats?

humans, reptiles, and birds

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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