Thursday, 25 August 2011

A new adult generation of Woundwort shieldbugs

Every day I check the Lambs ears for the Woundwort (or Bronze) shieldbugs, Eysarcoris venustissimus. They are usually immobile and once you've found them once, they are easy to find, although they will hide under the leaves if they feel threatened. They form clusters on the tips of leaves, not only of the Lambs ears, but also on the Enchanter's nightshade, which covers the ground on this side of the garden. Today I spotted the first adults of the year, four of them, one on a cluster of final instar nymphs; another, still white (above), looked like it had just moulted into adulthood.
A new and shiny adult Woundwort shieldbug adult on Lamb's ears
A fresh adult with three final instar nymphs
These are some nymphs on the seed stalks of Hedge Woundwort: their colours make them almost invisible at a distance, as the stalks also have a contrasting green/black pattern.

8 comments:

Ray said...

Lovely picture of the teneral adult - something I have never seen before.

You really should put your pictures up on Flickr - so that the whole British bugs community see them.

Blackbird said...

Thank you Ray. I guessed it had just moulted, it was hiding under a leaf and I had to turn the leaf with one hand while taking the photo. One of these days I will start to populate my now empty flickr account. Maybe a project for the long, bugless winter months to come...

Blackbird said...

I counted 34 individuals today, with a high tendendy to cluster together, with adults and nymphs mixed up. I wonder if they hibernate in groups...

Ray said...

Just got back from 3 weeks away and found a similar grouping of them, on Woundwort, in my garden.
I've just been and counted the first 33 of them:).

I don't know much about their hibernation, but other Shieldbugs certainly do cluster - I'm already seeing adult Dolycoris baccarum grouping up on the dried seedheads of Buddleja.

Ray said...

Sample picture:
http://flic.kr/p/aiTgZz

I think there are nine juves on that piece of stem.

Blackbird said...

Great shot! - and cool caption - They are so mimetic. I'll try and see where in the plant they hibernate.

Ray said...

I just cam across this picture, by Tristan Bantock, of a teneral adult:
http://flic.kr/p/9XrpUT

Tristan is national recorder for the Shieldbugs and allied insects recording scheme, and one of the people who developed the BritishBugs website. So you can be pretty certain that what you photographed was a teneral adult.

Blackbird said...

Thank you Ray! I cannot get to the link though. I am quite satisfied that it was a teneral adult, as all the nymphs except for one have now become adults. They seem to prefer to sit on the Circaea lutetiana now and blend beautifully with it.