Although I keep Lambs ears (Stachys byzantina) in the garden for the benefit of the Wool Carder bees this plant also attracts many other bugs. They provide a lot of structure with their large woolly leaves, and spiders, harvestmen and ladybirds are often found on them. They also offer sheltered overwintering opportunities. My other favourite lambs ears bug is a true bug, the pretty shieldbug Eysarcoris venustissimus, also known as the Woundwort shieldbug, as their usual feeding plant is the native Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica). This is a small shiny bug that appears in a single generation per year. The adults are bronze, grey and white with fine black speckling. They emerge from hibernation in April and can be found mating on May. Females lay their eggs in Stachys plants. Nymphs can be easily found on July and August and by September there is a new adult generation. Today, I watched at least nine nymphs in various stages of development on the Stachys plant. Nymphs are green and black or pinkish and black. All the nymph photos were taken today.
An early instar nymph. The object near it are seeds of Circaea luthethiana
A group of Wounwort shieldbugs with a green shieldbug nymph.
A last instar nymph. They can be recognised by their black wing buds
A mating pair on Stachys bizantina (11/5/11)
UPDATE 25/08/11. Replaced a photo with the early instar one.