Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Hawthorn Shieldbug

We came across a couple of Hawthorn Shieldbugs, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale, on a large hawthorn hedge at the edge of our local park yesterday. This is a strong contender for the most beautiful British shieldbug, large and shiny, with bright green and red markings, finely punctured and with broad, pointy "shoulders". They are found in a range of trees and shrubs, but their favourite food is haws, the berry produced by the Hawthorn, although they also feed on leaves or other fruit such as apples, piercing them with their rostrum, their sucking, needle-like mouthpart. As other shieldbugs, they overwinter as adults, often darkening their colours at the end of autumn, and emerge in the spring to feed and mate. Eggs are laid around May and the nymphs develop during the summer into increasingly larger stages quite different in colour to the adults. The new adult generation would emerge in August.
 Until recently, the Hawhorn shieldbug was common only in southern england, but his distribution has expanded north recently and now can be found in Scotland too.
A Hawthorn Shieldbug on Hawthorn
Final stage Nymph (2nd August 2008)

5 comments:

Antje said...

That first photo is textbook material - spectacular!! (The others are not too shabby either, of course, but wow, that first one... *swoon*)

Blackbird said...

Thank you Antje! I am glad you like it, this bug was very patient and endured happily the white bowl treatment...

Ray said...

Whilst I was seeing adults sporadically until about a month ago, I have yet to see a single instar this year here in South Yorkshire. Last year I began to see them at 3rd instar stage on 01 August.
A search on Flickr shows early instars emerging in more southerly UK from mid July this year.
So where are mine ? :)

zoe a.m. said...

Hello there!
I saw an adult Hawthorn Shieldbug walking about on an East Midlands train yesterday. Didn't know what it was called but writing "bright green and red beetle in the UK" did the trick! Thanks for the info and great photos!

Cheers,
zoe

Blackbird said...

Hi zoe! welcome to Bugblog and happy to be of help.