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Metallic Shield Bug by melvynyeo Metallic Shield Bug by melvynyeo

Taken at night in Singapore forest.

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is a family of true bugs. They are commonly known as jewel bugs or metallic shield bugs due to their often brilliant coloration. They are also known as shield-backed bugs due to the enlargement of the last section of their thorax into a continuous shield over the abdomen and wings.[1] This latter characteristic distinguishes them from most other families within Heteroptera, and may lead to misidentification as a beetle rather than a bug. These insects feed on plant juices from a variety of different species, including some commercial crops. Closely related to stink bugs, they may also produce an offensive odour when disturbed. There are around 450 species worldwide.

Though some species are quite drab,[10] the most conspicuous jewel bugs are often brilliantly colored, exhibiting a wide range of iridescent metallic hues that change with the view angle.[6] The colors are the result of a combination of factors. Some species like Chrsyocoris stockerus and Scutellera nobilis display colors from multiple thin layers of pigmented chitin. The colors often change or become duller when the specimens are dried, due to the topmost chitinous layer becoming opaque and obscuring the colors of the bottom layer. The colors can be restored by moistening the surfaces with water.[11][12]

Iridescence (or goniochromism) in jewel bugs like Poecilocoris lewisi are the result of structural coloration. Instead of pigments, the colors are caused by the interference, diffraction, or scattering of light by numerous tiny structures.[11]

In Poecilocoris lewisi, multiple tiny conical protuberances around 900 nm in height and averaging at a diameter of 360 nm are scattered on the epicuticle. These structures affect light passing through them, producing their oily-looking blue sheen (known as the Tyndall effect or Mie scattering).[11][12]

In other species like the African shield bug (Calidea panaethiopica), the dorsal cuticle is dotted with tiny regularly spaced hemispherical cavities. The depressions act like Bragg mirrors. When light hits the pitted surface, it gives off multiple reflections resulting in the distinctive two tone yellow-blue iridescence.[13]

The colors and patterns on jewel bugs can vary significantly between instars and even within adults of a species.[14]

Jewel bugs are also known to mimic the colors, patterns, and shape of other organisms for defensive purposes. An example is the yellow-spotted black Steganocerus multipunctatus which exhibits Müllerian mimicry with the tortoise beetle Chiridopsis suffriani.

Add a Comment:
LucarioSunderland Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014
Wow nice colors Wow! 
maryjayne530 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
so preeettyy
SnowInHades Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Stunning beetle.
147CombatMedic Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014
Awesome colors on this little feller!  :w00t:
TheraveXIII Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
is it jsut me, or does it look like it has 2 strawberries on it?
Octoboy-the-8th Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
Maybe it is just you; I can see maybe 3 or four counting the ones on its back. 
herofan135 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Such colours, great shot here!
NdrN Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014
Very beautiful!
Woodswallow Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fantastic colours and focus!
MMDgirl12 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
very beautiful!
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Submitted on
March 26, 2014
Image Size
439 KB


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Camera Data

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed
1/160 second
Focal Length
100 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Mar 7, 2014, 10:54:16 PM
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
Sensor Size