Eurydema oleracea Brassica Shieldbug
Species of Eurydema are dramatically coloured, usually red and black bugs, but often with other colour morphs. In E. oleracea the dark metallic green/blue-black ground colour is overlain with red, yellow, cream or orange markings.
This bug overwinters as an adult, emerging in the spring. Larvae, which are similar to those of the rarer E. dominulus, may be found May-July on a range of hostplants in the Brassicaceae. These include jack-by-the-hedge, garlic mustard and horse-radish. Well distributed in southern and central England.
A large shieldbug with two adult colour forms which are related to sexual maturity. Those emerging and mating in the spring are predominantly green, whereas the new generation appearing in the late summer have purple-red markings on the pronotum and corium. As in many other shieldbugs, this species frequently beoomes darker prior to hibernation.
Although often associated with gorse, larvae also feed on broom, dyer’s greenwood and other plants in the Genisteae, and have also been found on laburnum and clovers.
Common and widepsread throughout Britain and Ireland, in many habitats where gorse is present.
Aelia acuminata Bishop’s Mitre Shieldbug
A large and distinctive striped shieldbug with an obviously pointed head and ridged pronotum.
There is one generation per year, adults mating and laying eggs in spring and early summer. The larvae feed on the ripening seeds of a range of grasses in the Poaceae; new adults may be found from August onwards. Nymphs may be confused with the smaller Neottiglossa pusilla.
Widespread and common across southern Britain in tall and rank dry grassland habitats, including sand dunes.
Adult: All year
Length 8-9 mm… Britishbugs
Fairly large shieldbugs, the two Eurygaster species are often known as Tortoise Bugs. The ground colour and intensity of the markings are variable. This species is distinguished from the slightly smaller and rarer E. maura
by the slight central depression at the front of the head and the slightly more protruding hind corners (‘shoulders’) of the pronotum. These characters are not always reliable; genitalic examination may be necessary. Females show a gap between the genital plate and the previous segment (often visible in the field with a hand lens), while the male aedaegus has 4 internal spines (requires dissection).
Nymphs feed on grasses between May-August, becoming adult from July. Previously uncommon, it is now widespread in southern Britain and Ireland in dry and damp grasslands and is expanding its range northwards.
Adult: All year
Length 9-11 mm… British Bugs