I’ve grown quite used to spotting shieldbugs all around the place. Usually they’re the same shade of green as the leaf they’re sitting on, as they’re the common Green Shieldbugs. But at the weekend I spotted this scary fellow:
He’s certainly not as camouflaged as the green ones, and seems rather more viscious – sat there eating a caterpillar! He looks like he’s wearing armour and I’ve discovered that he is a “Spiked Shieldbug” – qutite an apt name.
While out walking I also saw another of the altogether less scary green ones …
Did you know that both these photos are of the same species of Shieldbug (Palomena prasina – the
Common Green Shieldbug)? No? Neither did I until fairly recently when I discovered “instars” – these are phases the bug goes through between moults. So it moults off its exoskeleton and inside is a slightly more developed version of itself. In this Shieldbug, it has 5 instars before it becomes an adult. This is the sort of thing I find really interesting – I’m a bit weird! The one on the left is an adult, and the one on the right is a 5th (and final) instar.
I took the photos above in the garden on Saturday. This one was taken last month of what I think is a 4th instar of the same bug:
This image below is from the British Bugs website which is a really useful resource for identifying bugs in Britain. And if you’re weird like me, you’ll find it fascinating to see how the bug changes through its life.