Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 16, 2003
Publication Date: June 22, 2003
Citation: Thomas, D.B., Eger, J.E., Jones, W.A., Ortega Leon, G. 2003. The african cluster bug, agonoscelis puberula stal (heteroptera: pentatomidae), established in the new world. Florida Entomologist. 86:151-153.
Interpretive Summary: A stink bug from Africa has invaded North America. This insect, known in Africa as the "cluster bug", has now been found in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, throughout all of Mexico, and in the Caribbean Islands of Jamaica and Hispaniola. Collection records suggest that the original introduction took place in the early 1980's, although the first record for the United States is 1990. It appears that the bugs feed and breed on common horehound, a weed common to roadside and waste places. However, in South Africa, there are reports of the bugs damaging winter fruits.
An African species of Pentatomidae, Agonoscelis puberula Stal, is reported for the first time from Mexico, the southern United States, and the Islands of Jamaica and Hispaniola, where it has now established. The oldest western hemisphere record dates from 1985. This species has gone unrecognized probably because of its close resemblance to species of the New World genus Trichopepla Stal. The primary host plant of A. puberula is the introduced weed, common horehound, Marrubium vulgare. It has also been reported to damage winter fruits in South Africa.