Hawthorn Shield Bug
I find I get a lot of these bugs visiting my garden. Typically, like all shield bugs, this bug is shield-shaped, which is generally green in colour with a triangle of reddish-brown on its back with a green centre. The wings are red-tipped, and the antennae are long with few segments. It can grow up to 15mm long.
It releases a pungent odour when attacked or alarmed. It feed on fruits and leaves of various trees and shrubs, especially Hawthorn.
Seen all year round, although usually dormant during the winter months. It favours hedgerows and woods, but maybe seen in gardens. A common and widespread species, but mainly in the south.
Photographs of Hawthorn Shieldbug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale), taken August 2016, rear garden , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens with softbox flash diffuser.
Also called the ‘Sloe Bug’, it is a medium-sized bug with narrow shoulders which do not project beyond the width of the abdomen. It is very hairy, and it is normally brownish to reddish in colouration. The scutellum is greenish with a yellow tip. It is a about 12mm long.
They feed on a wide range of plant material, including fruits and seeds.
Found in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. It is common and widespread throughout Britain except the far north.
Photographs taken May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire.
Green On Green
I discovered this green bug when it flew through my patio door. It is called the Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina). It is commonly seen resting on vegetation, but handle with care, for as a defence mechanism it secretes a foul-smelling odour which has earned it another name ‘Stink Bug’.
Photograph taken June 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.
Lesser Water Boatman nymph
I built my garden pond this April in the hope I could attract more wildlife to my garden. It has amazed me how in a relatively short space of time life has took hold there and has flourished. Below is a bug, not a beetle, but a bug which is also known as the ‘Common Water Boatman’. I have seen it a few times diving beneath the water of my small garden pond, and finally, today, I have managed to get a few photographs of it. I discovered it is not an adult, but a nymph, and was surprised by its green glasslike appearance. I hope it will stick around so I can see it grow up.
This boatman swims the right way up, instead of upside down on its back like similar species do. The middle and hindlegs are about the same length. The upper body surface is flattened without a central keel, and the underside is pale. Body length 12 to 14mm.
It feeds mainly on plant debris from the bottom of ponds, but also algae and diatoms. They use their hair-fringed front legs to filter through the water. It can fly, and whilst under water it carries bubbles of water under its wings.
It is active all year round, and found in still and slow-moving water like ponds and lakes. Common and widespread.
Photographs taken June 2016, rear garden pond, Staffordshire.