A wet day in Wyre

Yesterday Wyre Forest Study Group members braved the cold rain and ventured out into Earnwood Copse, following an ancient sunken track down through the woodland. 2 micromoths Diurnea fagella were spotted on tree trunks, as was the attractive harvestman Megabunus diadema. A Larch Ladybird and spiders Diaea dorsata were found in conifers, and down at the stream water crickets Velia caprai were swimming around on the water surface in the eddies. In open areas near the stream Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage was flowering well. But the Sallow catkins were still closed, waiting for warmth and sunshine.

Diunea fagella, Earnwood Copse, 4 April 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, Bliss Gate, 3 April 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Water Cricket Velia caprai, Bliss Gate 24 April 2005 ©Rosemary Winnall

Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina

The Green Shieldbug, commonly seen in gardens as well as the wider countryside, overwinters as an adult. Although usually conspicuously green, in the autumn they darken and become well-camouflaged as they hibernate amongst dead leaves. When they become active again in the spring, they gradually return to their green colouration.

Green Shieldbug, Palomena prasina, New Parks, 8 November 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall


Gorse Shieldbug, Piezodorus lituratus

Jon Cartwright photographed this adult Gorse Shieldbug on gorse at Fastings Coppice in May this year. It will have overwintered and bred this spring. Now, in July, we can find the late instal nymphs which should be mature by the end of the month. The sexually immature late summer adults have purplish coloration, but when they emerge from hibernation they are usually yellow-green.

Gorse Shieldbug, Fastings Coppice, 4 May 2015 ©Jon Cartwright

Gorse Shieldbug, final instar nymph, Wyre, 2 July 2014 ©Rosemary Winnall

Gorse Shieldbug, 15 September 2011, ©Rosemary Winnall

Horned Treehopper, Centrotus cornutus

This strange-looking homopteran is about 10mm long and can be found infrequently in Wyre’s woodland. The very long pronotum and ear-like projections are distinctive features. It feeds on plant juices, overwinters as a nymph and has a 2 year life cycle. The adults can be found between April and August.

Centrotus cornutus, Wimperhill, 9 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Centrotus cornutus, Wimperhill, 9 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Juniper Shieldbug, Cyphostethus tristiatus

The Juniper Shieldbug has, in recent years, started feeding on a few introduced conifer species, and is increasing its range. I counted 16 on my garden Lawson’s Cypress tree in sunshine on 11th October 2014 at Bliss Gate. As well as a few adults, there were nymphs at different stages of their development, all apparently feeding on the the green developing cones. I am wondering if these will become adults before the winter, or overwinter as nymphs? On 30th October all I could find was a single adult.

Juniper shieldbug adult on Lawson's Cypress, 4th October 2014

Juniper Shieldbug final instar nymph, 29th September 2014

Small Juniper Shieldbug nymph, 4th October 2014


Bronze Shieldbug, Troilus luridus

Jon Cartwright spotted this Bronze Shieldbug eating a Peacock butterfly caterpillar in Wyre recently. The adults of this species always have an orange band on the penultimate antennal segment. The young nymphs feed on plants, but the adults predate insect larvae, especially caterpillars and beetle larvae.

Bronze Shieldbug, Troilus luridus, Button Bridge, 21 June 2014


Woundwort Shieldbug – Eysarcoris venustissimus

At this time of the year any patch of Hedge Woundwort is worth checking for the Woundwort Shieldbug (4-7mm), although it might also be found on White Dead-nettle and other labiates. The adults breeding now have overwintered, and the new adults will be found in August.

Woundwort Shieldbug, Eysarcoris venustissimus, Ribbesford Woods, 31st May 2014