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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Question on Identification


What is it?
What is it?  
I happened to catch this little guy, or little girl running around on my bed. My first thought is that it might be a bed bug, but with the markings on the back I thought it didn't look like anything I was able to find of pictures regarding bedbugs. Also, the segments don't look right for it to be a bedbug in my eyes. I have checked all of my room and bedding to see if there were any signs that I may have bedbugs, but have been unable to come up with much. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hi Sean,

Thanks for the great photo!

You have a spined soldier bug (Podisus maculiventris) nymph. The adult will have wings that cover the pattern on its body and will have large spines on its shoulders. It is definitely not a bed bug and won’t bite you. It is predatory, which means it eats other insects, mainly larvae of other insects. Many of the insects these bugs eat are considered to be crop pests, so stick this guy or girl in your garden if you have one!


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jessica Mellinger


I can answer questions about invertebrates native to California, including insects commonly found in homes. If you have an identification request, please attach a photo to your question.


I was involved in collection and identification of invertebrates for the United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division for six years. Also, I provided these same services intermittently for the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment for many years. I have been a member of since 2009.

Department of the Interior: United States Geological Survey, Davis Field Station; University of California, Davis Aggie Alumni Association; UC Davis Center for Neuroscience; U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

I have two B.A.'s from the University of California, Davis and two Associate's degrees from Sacramento City College.

Awards and Honors
Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the Department of the Interior

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