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
Often referred to as the Woundwort shieldbug, and previously known as Eysarcoris fabricii, this is a small greenish-grey species. The head and the front of both the pronotum and scutellum are copper coloured, while the connexivum is marked with black and white.
There is one generation per year; the nymphs feed on hedge woundwort Stachys sylvatica and sometimes other plants in the Labiateae such as white dead-nettle. New adults may be found from August onwards.
Although rare in the 19th century, this shieldbug is now widespread in southern and central Britain as far north as Yorkshire, in hedgerows and woodland edges.
Adult: All year
Length 5-7 mm…… British Bugs
Picromerus bidens Spiked Shieldbug
A large and distinctive predatory shieldbug, which has unmistakeable thorn-like projections on the front of the pronotum.
This species usually overwinters as eggs and less frequently as nymphs, becoming adult by July/August. The nymphs are greyish-black, with pale banded legs and yellow banded antennae. Like the adults, they are predatory, feeding on the larvae of other insects, particularly caterpillars, but will also suck sap from plants.
Widespread across Britain and Ireland, but scarcer further north and recorded recently from Scotland. Found in a variety of habitats; particularly heathland but also in damp flower-rich meadows and on chalk downland…. UK Bugs
All enjoying a meal together , some sort of caterpillar.