First, the sunbathing – sometimes alone …
… sometimes with a friend.
Then, later, the sex!
Credits: Today’s post has featured the Green shieldbug (Palomena prasina) and the Dock bug (Coreus marginatus).
Obviously, these photos were not taken today, as Storm Dennis is currently blasting the British Isles – though, in truth, here in south Wales we are not getting quite as much rain as I expected, nor are we being battered as severely as we were by the fiercely gusting winds that accompanied last weekend’s Storm Ciara, for which I am extremely grateful.
My photos of this Common green shieldbug (Palomena prasina) were taken a week ago, on a warm (for the time of year) sunny day. And, as I have just read in a tweet by SEWBReC, our local biodiversity records centre, that ‘Now is a good time of year to spot shieldbugs sunbathing on (rare!) sunny days’, I thought I would make this little sunbather my critter of the day.
Ingredients: 1 patch of Bramble, lashings of sunshine, a tablespoon of warmth, a dash of Springtime
Method: Stand and stare
Result: Nursery web spider, Dock bug, hoverfly (Syrphus sp.), Speckled wood butterfly, Green shieldbug, bee species, another hoverfly (Eristalis sp.), Harlequin ladybird, and wasp (Vespula sp.).
There’s a little track I often walk down, or up, between my home and Penarth Marina, that’s not been touched by the Council’s destructive strimmers (so far), so it’s a great place to look for wildflowers and critters, and it can take me 30 minutes or more to walk its 100 metres.
When I walked this way the other day, I came across this little Green shieldbug (Palomena prasina). Just look at that innocent-looking face … but don’t be fooled. It was probably the only one of maybe 30 Green shieldbugs I saw that was on its own – all the others were working on ensuring the continuation of their species.
Even the Hairy shieldbugs (Dolycoris baccarum) I found (only 3 of those) were at it! Given all the bad news we hear these days about declining insect populations, I hope this means the shieldbugs are doing okay.
I was checking out a Burdock plant the other day (I rather like their flowers and seed heads, and they have their own special fly) when I suddenly noticed this Green shieldbug and then another one, and another one, and another one …
Turns out there was at least one adult and six nymphs, though more may have been lurking undiscovered. I’m assuming they were all members of the same family, but that is pure surmise.
This is the sight that greeted me as I wandered home through Dingle Park the other day.
A Sloe shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) had its head buried deeply into the gaps between the spines of a teasel flower head. The tiny purple flowers had finished so it wasn’t nectaring, and I would’ve thought the flower head too tough for it to be sucking plant sap, so what on earth was it doing?
This little Green shieldbug nymph (Palomena prasina), watching from a nearby grass stem (you can see it in the background of the first image), looked as confused and bemused as I was.
After a few minutes, the Parent bug backed out of its spiny possie but it didn’t move from the teasel.
This was a good opportunity to get a photo of the underside of the bug … but I never did discover what it had been doing.