T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Shield bug (Forest shield bug) Oncacontias vittatus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Acanthosomatidae
Genus: Oncacontias
Species: O. vittatus
Binomial name: Oncacontias vittatus
Common name: Forest shield bug

Oncacontias vittatus is a shield bug native to New Zealand and is New Zealand’s only true forest dwelling shield bug. It is found on native trees and shrubs throughout the country, from the coast to subalpine areas, often near streams, swamps or other waterways. Forest shield bug nymphs prefer feeding on grasses, while adults will suck the sap out of a variety of New Zealand plants including "hard-leaved' plants like rimu. If a native forest occurs near urban areas they will also feed on exotic trees.
O. vittatus was one of the first insects from New Zealand to be described by a European scientist (a Swedish entomologist Fabricius in 1781) from collections made during Captain Cook's visits.