Species Spotlight: Shield Bug

Ok, so today’s species spotlight isn’t very seasonal, but during the spell of mild weather in the middle of December I spotted a beautiful shield bug on our waterbutt so thought I’d find out a little more about them.

Ok so let’s start with the name.  As you might have guessed they are often called Shield Bugs because they have a shield like shape in their adult form.  They are also called Stink Bugs because when they feel threatened, some species will produce a very smelly liquid from special glands to deter predators.  This liquid can also make soft fruits such as berries taste bitter – so we’re going to hope the sloe stink bugs (also know as hairy shield bugs) I found earlier in the year don’t find my berries next summer!

The particular species I saw and wanted to share with you was the Hawthorn Shield Bug.  Its scientific name is Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale.  These bugs normally overwinter as adults and then emerge in the Spring to breed.  I’ve not knowing seen a shield bug in anything other than its adult form!  I think its unusual to see this bug out and about at this time of year, but do comment if you know any different!  I’m not normally into bugs and creepy crawlies, but I don’t mind the shield bugs.  I think they’re quite cute actually.  The adults feed on shrubby plants but the younger stages feed on red berries, particularly hawthorn but also rowan berries which is probably what attracts them to our garden – we have a lovely little rowan tree.

This photo is a little bright because our waterbutt is bright blue, but I love how much detail you can see in the bug!  It seemed a little slow and possibly confused – I mean I’m not surprised, it is a surprisingly mild December!

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This will be the last post on here for 2016!  Its been a wonderful year for me, and I do hope you’ll stick around for my blogging adventures throughout 2017!

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This entry was published on December 30, 2016 at 11:00 am. It’s filed under Species Spotlight and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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