Pentatomids may cause direct and indirect damage to important crop plants. Biological and ecological features of phytophagous stink bugs in natural environments, however, remain poorly documented. Here, we provide an ecological account of Edessa rufomarginata De Geer on Caryocar brasiliense (Caryocaraceae) in the Brazilian savanna. The phenology of E. rufomarginata matched that of its host plant, with immatures developing in the wet season simultaneously with the production of vegetative and reproductive plant tissue. Females do not exhibit parental care and lay eggs more frequently on larger plants. Oviposition frequency, however, does not differ between plants with and without flowers/fruits. Nymphs and adults usually feed on stem parts and more rarely on flower buds and fruits. First- and second-instar nymphs remain aggregated, but disperse as third-instar nymphs. Adults and nymphs were more abundant on mature stems of C. brasiliense compared with other plant locations. Ants visiting the plant to search for extrafloral nectar occasionally tap the abdomen of E. rufomarginata nymphs with their antennae to obtain honeydew. This is the first record of trophobiotic interactions between Edessa stinkbugs and ants, and one of the few for heteropterans. The interaction of the stink bug with other natural enemies, such as predaceous Heniartes (Reduviidae), was also observed. Given the pest status of Edessa species for crop plants, additional field studies on host plants, interaction with ants, and natural enemies in native habitats are needed for an effective management of these stink bugs in tropical agricultural systems.
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