Nottinghamshire Shieldbugs
 
Shieldbugs are named after their heraldic shield-like shape and belong to the order Hemiptera. They frequent most types of vegetation and whilst some species are carnivorous, most feed on foliage and berries etc. They go through several stages of growth called nymphs, which are as frequently found as the adults. A few species exhibit brood care.

Along with many other insects, Shieldbugs are fairly regular visitors to MV moth traps (especially Birch Shieldbug and Red-legged Shieldbug) operated in woodland during the Summer months, but they are easy to find on any type of vegetation.

 
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Recent Shieldbug name changes

For some reason, many of our Shieldbugs have recently undergone a name change. For most, this generally applies to just the common name, but the Woundwort Shieldbug has gone from being Eysarcoris fabricii to Eysarcoris venustissimus, whilst other species which had no common name, have now been given one.

Other species with name changes and featured on this page, are the Common Green Shieldbug (formerly Green Shieldbug), Hairy Shieldbug (formerly Sloe Bug), Bronze Shieldbug (Troilus luridus) Red-legged Shieldbug (formerly Forest Bug) Spiked Shieldbug (Picromerus bidens) Small Grass Shieldbug (Neottiglossa pusilla) Bordered Shieldbug (Legnotus limbatus) Forget-me-not Shieldbug (Sehirus luctuosus) Scarab Shieldbug (formerly Negro Bug) and Sand-runner Shieldbug (Sciocoris cursitans).

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Nottinghamshire species

As far as we can trace, Nottinghamshire currently has records of 21 or 22 species of Shieldbug. A total of 19 of these are featured here, but we have also included photographs of two species (Rambur's Pied Shieldbug and Brassica Bug) which have yet to occur in the county.

Sand-runner Shieldbug (formerly Sciocoris cursitans) is also known from Nottinghamshire but not yet illustrated. The former species has been recorded on Sherwood Heath SSSI, but for which our searches have so far proved fruitless and what is thought to be Nottinghamshire's only record of Juniper Shieldbug, was from the Retford area a couple of years ago. Juniper Shieldbug should be looked for in gardens throughout the county, but is another species which eluded our searches until found in Mansfield in 2014.

From our own records, the all black Shieldbugs are perhaps the most difficult to find in the county and sweeping the correct vegetation type will help and is probably the best way to find them.

Right:- Table showing the months in which we have recorded both adult and nymph stages, based on our own records since 2005. Most species overwinter as adults.

 
.. J F M A M J J A S O N D
Bishop's Mitre .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Gorse Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Common Green Shieldbug . . . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...
Hairy Shieldbug .. .. .. . . . .. . .. .. .. ..
Birch Shieldbug .. .. .. . . . .. .. .. .. .. ..
Juniper Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Parent Shieldbug .. .. .. .. . . . . . .. .. ..
Hawthorn Shieldbug .. .. . . . .. . . .. .. . ..
Pied Shieldbug .. .. .. . . . .. . . .. .. ..
Woundwort Shieldbug .. .. .. .. . . .. . . .. .. ..
Bronze Shieldbug .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. ..
Red-legged Shieldbug .. .. .. .. . . . . . .. .. ..
Spiked Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. ..
Heather Bug .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. ..
Blue Shieldbug .. .. .. .. . . .. . .. .. .. ..
Small Grass Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Turtle Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Bordered Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Scarab Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Forget-me-not Shieldbug .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
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Nottinghamshire's largest and commonest species, should all present no real problem if looked for, as most people will have come across at least two species when gardening. The Common Green Shieldbug and the Hawthorn Shieldbug, are the two most likely to turn up in well vegetated gardens, but others can occur occasionally. Plants favoured by each species, are given in the text accompanying the species' photographs.

Following a complete page review in late July 2014, we have added photographs of the nymph stages of most species wherever possible. Clicking on these will take you to pages featuring more photographs of the nymph stages. More photographs of the adults, can be accessed via the Plant Bug photo gallery page.

     
Family : Acanthosomatidae
 
Hawthorn Shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale (Linnaeus, 1758)
Another common Shieldbug, the Hawthorn Shieldbug is a large species and regularly found in urban gardens, where they seem to prefer flowering shrubs such as Cotoneasters and ornamental Hawthorns. Over-wintering takes place under bark or in leaf litter (sometimes as a darkened adult) with the bright red and green colouration typical of this Shieldbug, regained in early Spring. By late Summer, the new brood of adults emerge.
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Juniper Shieldbug Cyphostethus tristriatus (Fabricius, 1787)
Based on the number of published/known records, Juniper Shieldbug represents one of the rarer Nottinghamshire species of Shieldbug. There is certainly one record from Ordsall near Retford a few years ago, and believing that this Shieldbug would be found elsewehere in the county, it still took us nearly ten years to find. The adult and nymphs illustrated here, were found on Lawson's Cypress, growing in Mansfield. We suspect that Juniper Shieldbug is actually quite common in urban areas.
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Birch Shieldbug Elasmostethus interstinctus (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Birch Shieldbug is another very common species, being found (as it's name suggests) in the vicinity of Birch trees, but we have also recorded odd specimens from town gardens where there are no Birches. The adults over-winter, after emerging from August onwards and this Shieldbug is a regular at MV light traps operated in wooded areas.
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Parent Bug Elasmucha grisea (Linnaeus, 1758)
This is one of the few Shieldbugs that show a distinct size difference between the sexes. Adults over-winter and mate in the Spring, with the male dying fairly soon after mating. The Parent Bug derives it's name from the brood care shown by the female. Once the eggs are laid, the female will stand over them until hatching and the nymphs will remain with the female as a group until large enough to fend for themselves. Like other over-wintering species, the adults become dark brown during the Winter months, regaining their colouration as it becomes warmer.
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Family : Cydnidae
 
Bordered Shieldbug Legnotus limbosus (Geoffroy, 1785)
Another small species, possibly under-recorded in Nottinghamshire, but could also be quite scarce and only found in heathland sites around the Sherwood Forest area. Our only records have both come from Sherwood Forest Country Park, the first being found at the top of a grass blade in an area of grassy heathland in May 2009 and then on the wall of one of the visitor centre buildings in June 2012. The Bordered Shieldbug is found on Bedstraws growing on dry, sandy soils. Occurs in the adult state throughout the year.
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Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas bicolor (Linnaeus, 1758)
This is a well marked and commonly occurring Shieldbug, often found on White Dead Nettle and Black Horehound growing along woodland edges and hedgerows. The females exhibit brood care over the eggs and adults can be found in most moths of the year, as there are two overlapping broods. An unmistakeable species to identify in Nottinghamshire, but there are very similar Shieldbugs present in southern counties, which may eventually spread northwards into Nottinghamshire (see following two species)
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Rambur's Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas sexmaculatus (Rambur, 1839)
Extremely similar to Pied Shieldbug, Rambur's Pied Shieldbug first colonised the UK in 2011, when it was discovered at two sites in Kent. This shieldbug has also recently been found at two other Kent sites, at Canterbury (T. Bantock) and by ourselves at Dartford, during an invertebrate survey of a former landfill site. This is potentially another shieldbug that could reach Nottinghamshire in the coming years, as it is already believed to be widespread in Kent and is probably north of the River Thames in Essex. Rambur's Pied Shieldbug is associated with Ballota nigra (Black Horehound) so plants in south Nottinghamshire, could well be worth searching in the coming years.
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Forget-me-not Shieldbug Sehirus luctuosus (Mulsant & Rey, 1866)
This seems to be a rare Shieldbug in Nottinghamshire and as far as we are aware, we have provided the county's only records - from Warsop Main Pit Top in 2007 and more recently from a brownfield site at Langar in 2015. As it's name suggests, it is associated with Forget-me-not and adults occur from August and over-winter.
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Family : Thyreocoridae
 
Scarab Shieldbug Thyreocoris scarabaeoides (Linnaeus, 1758)
Another small, black Shieldbug, known until fairly recently as the Negro Bug. Despite it's small size, this is a distinctive species, with the over-sized pronutum being the main identification feature. The Scarab Shieldbug is associated with Violets growing on dry, sandy soils, but this one was actually found in grassy heathland at the Sherwood Forest Country Park in May 2010, well away from any Violets. The adults can be found all year.
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Family : Pentatomidae
 
Turtle Shieldbug Podops inuncta (Fabricius, 1775)
This small, brown and inconspicuous shieldbug was only recently found in Nottinghamshire as far as we are aware, on the site of the former Gedling Colliery. It is known from nearby Lincolnshire, so it could well turn up at other Nottinghamshire sites at a future date. The Turtle Shieldbug is a ground dwelling species and not often found unless specifically looked for. There are several very similar species, but identification is made easier by the two projections on the pronotum, either side of the head.
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Bishop's Mitre Aelia acuminata (Linnaeus, 1758)
This characteristic Shieldbug seems to be increasing it's range in Nottinghamshire and can be expected in areas of long grass at many sites. There is one brood during the year, with adults occurring from August onwards and over-wintering till mating during Spring and early Summer. The nymphs feed on the seeds of a range of grasses.
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Small Grass Shieldbug Neottiglossa pusilla (Gmelin, 1790)
A small and inconspicuous Shieldbug of dry, grassy areas and heathland, but a species which is becoming more regularly encountered on some former pit tops. The Small Grass Shieldbug is probably not at all common across Nottinghamshire as a whole and we only have a few known sites from the sandy soils around Mansfield and Sherwood Forest areas.`Both adults and nymphs feed on the seeds of low growing grasses, such as Annual Meadow Grass. Over-winters as an adult, possibly within grass tussocks.
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Woundwort Shieldbug Eysarcoris venustissimus (Schrank, 1776)
A small and discreet Shieldbug, but generally common around patches of Hedge Woundwort and sometimes White Dead Nettle growing along woodland rides and hedgerows. A new generation of adults occur from August onwards and over-wintering probably takes place within leaf-litter. Like many other Shieldbugs, the adults occasionally wander and turn up in unusual locations, including one that once landed on an upstairs window of our house in Market Warsop.
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Common Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina (Linnaeus, 1761)
Probably our most regularly occurring Shieldbug, the Common Green Shieldbug occurs in most habitat types and will be the species that is most often found in urban gardens. Adults usually over-winter in dense foliage and become dark brown until becoming active again and mating in Spring. Both adults and nymphs can be found on a range of trees and shrubs.
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Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Hairy Shieldbug (formerly Sloe Bug) is another very common species and found on a range of low-growing plants, but particularly White Dead Nettle and Verbascum. The adults over-winter in leaf-litter, or tucked into dead leaves remaining on the plant during the Winter, with groups of 7-spot Ladybirds. Huge numbers of Hairy Shieldbugs occurred at many sites during the Summer of 2006.
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Gorse Shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus (Fabricius, 1794)
The Gorse Shieldbug occurs relatively commonly around large stands of Gorse, but can occasionally be found on Broom. There are two colour forms of the adult, both of which are illustrated. Young adults occur from August onwards and have red/purple markings, but their colouration gradually darkens prior to over-wintering. Adults can sometimes be found sunning temselves on clusters of dead Gorse flowers during the first warm days of early Spring and soon become largely green as they mature sexually.
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Red-legged Shieldbug Pentatoma rufipes (Linnaeus, 1758)
A large, common Shieldbug of wooded areas where the adults and nymphs are found on foliage. Formerly known as the Forest Bug, the Red-legged Shieldbug is widespread in Nottinghamshire and another species that can turn up in well planted, suburban gardens. The adults are partly predatory Shieldbugs, but will eat fruits and can be found until late in the year and very occasionally early Spring.
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Brassica Shieldbug Eurydema oleracea (Linnaeus, 1758)
This attractive Shieldbug has been spreading steadily north throughout the southern UK and although it has not reached Nottinghamshire, this is one species which should be looked for within the county. Adults come in several colour forms, where the white markings can be either red or yellow. Commonly found south of a line from the Severn to the Wash, on Brassicas such as Garlic mustard and Horse Radish, the Brassica Shieldbug is a potentially new shieldbug that could reach Nottinghamshire in the coming years.
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Spiked Shieldbug Picromerus bidens (Linnaeus, 1758)
Another large Shieldbug and very similar to the previous species, for which it can easily be mistaken. The Spiked Shieldbug however, is more usually found on low vegetation rather than trees and it is rarely common, despite occurring with in a range of well vegetated habitats. This is a predatory Shieldbug, taking the caterpillars of various moths, but it will also attack other insects. Over-winters in the egg stage, these often located underneath loose bark on fallen branches.
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Bronze Shieldbug Troilus luridus (Fabricius, 1775)
Although seemingly a widespread species in Nottinghamshire, the Bronze Shieldbug is never found easily, or in numbers, as are many of our other species. Identified by the partially yellow/orange antennal segment, this Shieldbug can be found on the leaves of various trees and shrubs including Pines. There is one generation a year, with new adults being found from August onwards, over-wintering and then mating the following Spring. A carnivorous Shieldbug, feeding on the
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Heather Bug Rhacognathus punctatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Heather Bug is totally restricted to a few heathland sites in Nottinghamshire, where it is a very difficult find. We have found adults on both Heather and often on the lower branches of mature Pines, but they also have a fondness for sitting on items such as discarded beer cans or plastic. The only real confusion species would be with Bronze Shieldbug, but the Heather Bug is smaller and lacks the partially yellow/orange antennal segment. The adults are predatory, feeding on the larvae of the Heather Beetle and can be found from August onwards, then again in Spring.
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Blue Shieldbug Zicrona caerulea (Linnaeus, 1758)
A beautiful Shieldbug, this is fairly widespread in Nottinghamshire, but never encountered in any numbers. The metallic blue colouration makes the Blue Shieldbug easy to identify. It is found on low vegetation, usually along woodland rides and well vegetated habitats. This Shieldbug is predatory, feeding on a wide range of insects.
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