"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Getting to know Shieldbugs.

I really like Shieldbugs but know nothing about them.

I like their neat shape and their very pleasing patterns. Close up they are quite exquisite and I don’t mind that they are also known as stink bugs. Over the years I have seen quite a few but not really taken so much notice of them. Now I am more interested.

Britishbugs.org have an excellent site all about our UK bugs. These are the true bugs, the family Hemiptra. It seems in the UK we have over 2000 species and as the site says they are not very well covered in field guide books

Shieldbugs are just one family. Wiki has a page detailing 44 species in the UK. They are sap sucking, some carnivorous and some not. I had no idea there were different stages of development but they go through various stages of metamorphosis before adulthood. Also it seems the female shield bug is quite a good mother and watches over her little brood until the nymphs can look after themselves. Birds eat them and in some parts of the world they are pests but often are not.

The shield bugs I saw on the White Dead Nettle are Pied Shield Bugs (see Black Bee Continued) and I am including two of them in the black bee painting. Both of them love the same plant so it seems only right to pair them up. 

Today I went out to see if I could find some local ones but nothing, even though we have plenty of White Dead nettle here. However I did find a lovely Common Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina sunning on a leaf.

And, looking through my photos from Holme Fen again, I find I had taken a photo of another bug that day. This I think is Coreus marginatus a squash bug. It likes docks and that makes sense as there were quite a few growing nearby.

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Pied Shieldbug Sketches

I am making  a few “getting-to-know-you sketches” of the bugs before I start the artwork .

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Adult, mid stage and young Pied Shieldbugs (Tritomegas bicolor)

The development stages are just as attractive as the adult. I read there are 5 instars before full adulthood. I have not quite worked out at what stage they get their wings but the middle one I think is still wingless. Metamorphosis is very strange isn’t it?

More bug sketches to come…

1 comment:

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

I too like shield bugs. I can't grasp the concept of instars in any creature - and didn't know shieldbugs go through such stages. I like the idea of them being good mothers and wonder whether, if one got to know them better, some would turn out to be better mothers than others. Shield bug personality!