19 Aug 2014

19 Aug 14 - Shieldbugs - An Interesting Overlooked Group

I can remember seeing my first Hawthorn Shieldbug whilst at university. For many years, this was an interesting looking group of insects, but one which I was struggling to identify given the lack of a field guide I did find an ancient book in the university library to work out the Hawthorn Shieldbug. Then a few years ago, I found a great website and more importantly the guys behind the website had produced a field guide. It is the Photographic Guide to the Shieldbugs and Squashbugs of the British Isles by Martin Evans & Roger Edmondson. A superb & not expensive book which is well worth buying. The only problem was I had still only seen one species. Still armed with a camera, I have managed to get a few photos of Shieldbugs over the last few years & have managed to identify a few more species.
Birch Shieldbug: A medium sized Shieldbug with dark red-brown and black over most of the wing cases. Adult. Swanage (18 May 12)
Green Shieldbug: Adult. The all green colouration & slightly enlarged pronotum (body behind the head), dark wing tips and reddish tips to the last two stages of the antennae identifies this species. Swanage (8 Aug 14)
Green Shieldbug: Final instar: the final immature larval stage before the winged adult appears. Swanage (8 Aug 14)
Forest Bug: Final Instar. Spean Bridge (16 June 11)
Coreus marginatus: Adult. A large, mottled brown Bug with a broad abdomen. Godlingston Heath (1 June 14)
Boat Bug Enoplops scapha: Wingless larva. St Aldhelms (6 July 14)
Tortoise Beetle Cassida vibex: Looks like a Shieldbug Instar, but is one of about 18 species of Cassida Beetles. Thanks to Sean Foote for identifying it. Swanage (8 Aug 14)
I'm sure that going out with somebody who knew more about this interesting group of insects, would quickly increase the number of species I've seen. But it's been fun just finding them by chance and plenty more to look out for. This is an insect group that it is fairly easy for a beginner to get into as many appear to be fairly widespread and there are only 43 species in the group.