Key Difference – Stink Bug vs Kissing Bug
Bugs belong to different classes of the insect group. They are now commonly studied owing to the harmful effects of bug attacks. Stink Bugs and Kissing Bugs are two main types of parasitic bugs that were discovered in the world. Stink bugs are also called as Halyomorpha halys. They mainly feed on plant matter and exist in a parasitic relationship with plants. Kissing bugs or the members of the subfamily Reduviidae are exclusively vertebrate parasites and feed on the blood of the vertebrates for their survival. The key difference between the Stink Bug and the Kissing Bug is the type of feeding organism they use. The stink bug mainly feeds on plant matter whereas the Kissing bug feeds on vertebrate blood.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is a Stink Bug
3. What is a Kissing Bug
4. Similarities Between Stink Bug and Kissing Bug
5. Side by Side Comparison –Stink Bug vs Kissing Bug in Tabular Form
What is a Stink Bug?
The stink bug is an insect which belongs to the family of Pentatomidae. Stink Bug is also known as Halyomorpha halys and there are many types of stink bugs out of which, the most commonly found stink bug is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. They are commonly distributed across China, Japan, and Taiwan,. However, they were also accidentally discovered in the USA recently. The stink bug prefers to spend the winter seasons in a home condition, where it is well protected by the extreme winter conditions.
The adult Stink Bug is about 1.7cm long and they vary in their colors from shades of brown to gray, off-white or black. There are unique marking patterns found on the Stink Bug. The characteristic alternating dark brown bands on the abdomen side, the brown mottling in the leg side can be observed clearly in the Stink Bug.
The name Stink bug is derived, due to the fact that it can release a bad odor if moved or trampled or injured. The stink glands located on the underside of the thorax secrete chemicals known as trans-2-decenal and trans-2-Octenal that are responsible for this bad odor. The stink bug possesses proboscis. The proboscis of the stink bug helps it to pierce through the plant and suck the cell sap and plant juices to fulfill their nutritional requirements.
During the mating season of Stink bugs, the male emits special chemicals known as pheromones and vibrational signals. These are being identified by the female and they respond to another vibrational signal. The life cycle of Stink bugs shows metamorphosis. They have an initial egg stage followed by a nymph stage before the adult is formed.
What is a Kissing Bug?
Kissing bugs belong to the Triatominae, which is a subfamily of Reduviidae. They are completely dependent on vertebrate blood including the human blood. Therefore, kissing bugs are also considered to be human parasites. They are widely spread in America – Latin America, Africa and mildly in Asia and Australia. They are responsible for causing parasite vector-borne diseases such as the Chagas disease, etc. Proteins released during the bite of kissing bugs are harmful chemicals that result in anaphylaxis. The kissing bugs are attracted to the odor of blood and the air in breaths of vertebrates including carbon dioxide, ammonia, and air released from the skin; which is composed of short-chain amines and carboxylic acids. Other secretions which are coming from hair and exocrine glands also stimulate the kissing bugs to attack the host.
Kissing bugs are about one and a half inches long. They are dark brown or black in color. They have characteristic red, yellow or tan markings on the abdomen side. They also have long thin mouthparts that are used in sucking blood from vertebrates. These bugs are referred to as kissing bugs as they bite humans around the mouth and nose areas.
Kissing bugs are mostly found resting on vertebrates. Few are termed as domestic bugs as they live in close association with humans. The Kissing bug also shows incomplete metamorphosis. They are also composed of an egg stage, a nymph stage and finally the adult stage.
What are the Similarities Between Stink Bug and Kissing Bug?
- Both Stink Bug and Kissing Bug are parasitic organisms.
- Both Stink Bug and Kissing Bug show incomplete metamorphosis.
- Both Stink Bug and Kissing Bug show a nymph stage during their life cycle.
- Both Stink Bug and Kissing Bug contain special mouthparts for sucking.
What is the Difference Between Stink Bug and Kissing Bug?
Stink Bug vs Kissing Bug
|Stink bugs are a type of insects which are feeding on plant matter and living in a parasitic relationship with plants.||Kissing bugs are members of the family Reduviidae that are exclusively vertebrate parasites and feed on vertebrate blood for their survival.|
|Color under the Abdomen|
|Stink bugs have alternating dark brown bands on the underside of the abdomen.||Kissing bugs have red, yellow or orange colored bands on the abdomen.|
|Stink bug releases a bad odor following an injury.||No odor is released by kissing bug.|
|Type of Host|
|Plants are the hosts of stink bugs.||Vertebrates are the host of kissing bugs.|
Summary – Stink Bug vs Kissing Bug
Both stink bugs and kissing bugs are parasitic insects. They show incomplete metamorphosis during their life cycles. The difference between the two bugs relies on their feeding patterns. The stink bug feeds on plant matter whereas the kissing bug feed on vertebrate blood. The kissing bug is stimulated by the odor of vertebrate blood. Both bugs are considered to be vectors of diseases, whereas the kissing bug is considered to be more harmful as it can affect the humans, leading to diseases such as Chagas disease, etc. This is the difference between stink bug and kissing bug.
1.“Stink Bugs.” PestWorld.org Your Partner in Pest Prevention. Available here
2.Texas A&M Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences. “Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease in the U.S. | Texas A&M University.” FAQ | Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease in the U.S. | Texas A&M. Available here
1.’Pentatomidae – Halyomorpha halys-001’By Hectonichus – Own work, (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’Pgeniculatus’By No machine-readable author provided. Etotalora assumed (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia