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Known as the Man-faced Stink Bug or Man-faced Shield Bug, Catacanthus incarnatus is a species of true bug (Heteroptera) about 3 cms in length, native to Southeast Asia and India.  The bugs are found in four bright color morphs: red, orange, yellow and cream with dark eye spots on their leathery scutellum (shield-like projection of their thorax) and forewings, advertising their noxious taste and also perhaps functioning as eyespots to mislead predators.  Overall, the spotted pattern resembles a man’s face when one views the dorsal side of the bug oriented head down (Crew 2013).

Catacanthus incarnatus has recently been found to be a costly pest to the cashew industry in Karnataka, India, where they can be found in large aggregates of up to 300 individuals on one tree.  The bugs use their long stylet to pierce the skin of the cashew apple, and suck out the juices, leaving the fruit vulnerable to colonization by fruit flies and microbes.  Damage to the cashew apple reducing the yield of cashew nuts, which are dependent on the apple for growth (Bhat and Srikumar 2013).  Another report documents aggregation of 400-500 Man-faced stink bugs, many in mating pairs on the flame tree Delonix regia, on the Shivaji University campus in Maharashtra, India, July 2012 (Mamlayya and Aland 2012). 

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© Dana Campbell

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