Saturday 11 July 2015

The woundwort shieldbug

If you have Hedge Woundwort in your garden, Stachys sylvatic you are bound to also have the small and shiny Woundwort Shieldbug, Eysarcoris venustissimus. The whole life cycle of this shieldbug takes place in the plant, they feed, mate, lay their eggs and their larvae feed on it too. They are capable flyers though, so they can easily disperse into new patches. I found this mating pair in the wildlife garden, and when I looked at the photo I noticed a nymph hidden in the seed head to the left of the individual at the bottom, and also a clutch of pale eggs under the seedhead over the individual on the top. The small nymphs look remarkably like the plant seeds green and black. In warm mornings the shieldbugs come to bask on the leaves of the plant, sometimes in large numbers. They are quite gregarious and nymphs and adults are often found side to side.

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