Family SCUTELLERIDAE Leach, 1815 - shield bugs
The family includes seven subfamilies, about 80 genera and at least 450 species presently known. They occur in most regions, but are most common in tropical and subtropical areas. The subfamily Scutellerinae almost exclusively occurs in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eurygastrinae is chiefly Old World, Odontotarsinae is mainly Holarctic, with representatives in most other regions, and Pachycorinae is almost exclusively New World (27 genera and 125 species), with only two genera in the Old World.
The species are medium to large, ranging from 5 to 20 mm in size, and characterized by the greatly enlarged scutellum that almost entirely covers the abdomen, and often also the forewings. In most representatives the body is strongly convex, the antennae are 5-segmented (3-segmented in some Scutellerinae), the anterior part of the prosternum is laminarily broadened, and the tarsi are 3-segmented. Most species are more or less brownish, but especially tropical species are brightly coloured. Scutelleridae are plant feeders, living in many different habitats. Some are of economic importance, and especially species of Eurygaster are among the most destructive Heteroptera, damaging wheat and related grain crops. The eggs are deposited in small numbers in parallel rows and develop one after the other.
Several species exhibit maternal care (Pachycoris) or egg guarding (Tectocoris, Cantao). There are 1-2 generations a year, and generally adults overwinter.
Catalogues: Oshanin, 1912 (Palaearctic, outdated); Stichel, 1961 (Palaearctic, outdated); Göllner-Scheiding, 2006b (Palaearctic). Economic importance: Schaefer & Panizzi, 2000. Morphology: Kumar, 1965b; Fischer, 1995 (spermatheca). Revisions: Fuente, 1974a (species from Spain); Gadalla & Fadl, 2000 (Egypt).